Minimalist Flying with Kids

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I am worst-case-scenario-girl.

My friends make fun of me. They role their eyes when I give warnings and stories that start with “I heard about a guy who died that way…”

And therefore I’m also naturally the kind who packs twice the luggage because of all of the “what-ifs”.

“What if we end up swimming and need these 17 items?”

“What if we get stuck overnight in the airport?”

“What if we get held hostage on the plane and the kids get hungry?”

I seriously exhaust myself thinking of all of the backup, just-in-case items I should pack. And in the end I have a ton of STUFF that I never end up using. Or I spend 30 minutes trying to decide what to wear because I brought too many options.

Since pondering the concept of minimalism for the past month, I have read some more articles and watched the documentary, and both my husband and I have started to imagine life without all the excess. And it’s looking pretty nice…..

So when planning for our 4 days with relatives in Houston, our first trip since our crazy-terrible return from overseas, we began to question how we normally do things. Somehow we managed to make some good decisions, which I’ll share here, in hopes that they’ll encourage others in the same stage to simplify flying with kids, and also in hopes that some of you will share advice from your experience too!

First, my kids are now 2 and 4, out of diapers, and off of sippy cups, and this made a big difference for us.

No diapers, no wipes, no bottles, and just one water bottle (gasp!) for them to SHARE. This was all huge. I also had to REMIND MYSELF that none of these things were necessary.

When we got to the airport we had 4 backpacks (one for each of us, and kids now carry theirs!), one stroller, one mini roller suitcase, one car seat and one booster. We checked the carseats and the suitcase, attached our bags to the stroller with “mommy hooks”, and walked to our gate. It was fabulous!

Here’s what we did right:
No computers. Everything necessary can be done on our phones.
Toddler booster (the underside of a sectional booster), not AS safe as the full thing, but legal and so much lighter for just a weekend.
One solid stroller (the kids take turns) that helps carry our bags. (Ours is a citymini and is the absolute easiest to travel with, open and close, and maneuver with one hand than any other stroller I’ve experienced).
2 outfits per person, and we’ll do laundry while we’re there.
One pair of earrings and one pair of shoes for each person. Period.

This last one is not for the faint of heart… get ready! We had the kids fast all screen time for the past week. This made them much better at entertaining themselves, and much more impressed with whatever we gave them to play with on the journey today. So, so, worth it. They have not had one meltdown all day (besides a meltdown when Little Man found out we were only bringing half of his car seat…. but I’m chalking this up to transitional stress!)… and have been super cooperative and attentive.

After packing half the amount I normally would…. I feel so accomplished, and I am committed to going more and more minimalist as time goes by. I am so sick of all the junk. It does nothing for my peace or sanity to be digging through bags constantly because I thought of “just the thing”! I’m so over this cluttered life, and want to commit to being more simple, more present with people and places, and more satisfied with what I have than all the things I don’t have.

It’s the beginning of a beautiful journey!

How have you simplified your travel? What tips and tricks help you to stay at peace when you’re on the go?

Comments and questions are most welcome!


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