Mommy Mondays: Korea Trip + Traveling Internationally with Toddlers

you guuuyyyyssss~~ mike and i are going to korea!!!  i am BEYOND excited.  i haven’t been to korea since i was 18, so that is a VERY long time ago.  traveling with little ones is SO FREAKING STRESSFUL.  i seriously need to mentally and physically prepare myself for weeks for trips with c.  since the flight to Korea is long and we’ll be in a foreign country~~ i’m even more paranoid.

i’m not sure about your other mamas but when i get stressed i obsessively research and then mentally play out how the trip and flight will go like 1,000 times before the trip.  that way i can be prepared for any hiccups or have plan b, c and d laid out in my mind before the trip even begins.  obsessively thinking about the trip also helps me to remember things that i must not forget…ipad, snacks, passports, chargers, etc.

Here are some tips and articles that have REALLY helped me the past few trips with c!

  1. BUSY BAGS.  i cannot stress this one enough.  i read that you need to break up the flight in 15-minute increments b/c that is the length of a baby’s attention span.  um… wow.  14 hours divided by 15 minutes is INSANE.  i personally prepare 6-8 busy bags so i can easily switch them out and by the time c is done with the last one and i go back to the first~ it’s like a whole new busy bag again.  in each busy bag i create a “theme” and include snacks.  that way i have everything at the touch of my fingertips without having to dig through other bags/pockets in my suitcase.  I also add wipes and 2 diapers to every other bag so that i don’t have to go searching for those things either.  the moment i get onto the flight, i take out the first 3 busy bags and put them in the pockets in front of us so that it’s all within reach.  the rest of the busy bags i put under the seat in front of us for later.  i go to Diaso for the bags itself ($1.50 each) and then i pick up new snacks and small toys that c has never seen so that the busy bags are fresh.  I also bring an assortment of toys that i know c loves.  one other fun tip: easter eggs!  c loves to crack them open and find a surprise inside.  she also loves to play with the egg itself and that keeps her busy for, i dunno… half an hour?  lol
  2. Taking the first or last flight out.  HUGE.  The first flight ensures that your baby is in the best mood, they get their wiggles out at the airport (with tons of energy and awe from being in a new place), and they are going to have a nap on the plane (most likely), and the first flight usually never gets delayed or canceled.  Oh and the airports are usually really quiet that early in the morning (same w traffic).  Taking the LAST flight usually means that the airport is also dead, traffic wasn’t bad, AND your baby is sure to sleep the entire flight.  This last flight out is hard on the parents but not on the baby.  I would rather fly while my baby is sleeping, so this is definitely one of my go-tos.
  3. When reserving seats, try to always reserve the aisle AND the window.  So for instance, if you are flying alone with a kid or you and your husband have a lap baby~ reserving those seats is strategic and clutch.  Why?  Well no one wants a middle seat right?  So you’re hoping that no one sits in the middle and you end up getting the entire row for your family (WITHOUT PAYING FOR IT).  This strategy doesn’t always work out but it’s worth the gamble isn’t it?  Worst case, you give the stranger the aisle or window OR you don’t and the stranger gets the aisle seat (depending on how old your babe is).
  4. Get bags for your stroller and car seat.  They are like $15 bucks per bag and seriously help keep your things clean.  The luggage folks throw your things around and if you don’t want your belongings scuffed or damaged~ get a bag.  It’s totally worth it.  I also keep a few things in the stroller basket/cup colder that just always stays with it~ so having it all wrapped in a bag has been AWESOME.  I bought two bright red bags and wrote our last name in huge letters.  It’s really easy to spot.  I also wrote “stroller” or “car seat” on the bags once they were all folded so it was easy to grab a bag while packing things up before boarding the plane.
  5. Cross body bag for the mom!  I just figured this out and I can’t believe I didn’t realize it sooner.  I put my super important essentials (wallet, phone, chapstick, ginger gummies (i get motion sick), and the essentials you want to grab or take with you when you go to the bathroom.  When you have a baby sleeping on you or a roaming toddler, the last thing you want to worry about is lugging ALL of your stuff.  So having a cross body on (even while seated on the plane) has been a total life saver.  I can get what I need with little movement if C is sleeping on me, or when we go to the bathroom I have everything on me, no fumbling required, or finally I can run around the airport or move away from the stroller without freaking out that my important essentials are there.  Toddlers can be lightening fast, so having everything I need in my cross body is CLUTCH.
  6. Change your little one’s diaper right before you board and also practice changing your baby’s diaper with them standing.  This can really save your life when you’re traveling.  One example is when I’m in the airplane bathroom, I sit on the toilet (with the cover down) and have c stand on my lap facing the door.  With pee only, I quickly wipe c (i bring one wipe and diaper w me to the bathroom) and then put on her diaper.  It’s so freaking fast and easy.  If I need another hand to help hold the back of the diaper while I’m putting on the front tabs, I will rest her back to me and pin the diaper between us.  I use this method ALL THE TIME when we’re in a dirty place or in a situation where I have to change her diaper FAST.  For poops it’s a lot tricker and still possible, your baby needs to bend over and touch her toes or the doors of the bathroom.  C is very tall and doesn’t fit on the changing table in the bathroom~ so that’s why this method on the plane is my go-to.
  7. Survival Mode Parenting.  So many friends told me that I need to do WHATEVER to get through the flight and stay alive.  The flight is technically not just for our family but other people’s sanities are also at stake right?  So if giving C sugary snacks and the iPad for the whole flight means she won’t have a meltdown~ then so be it.  If creating a crumb mess and putting stickers all over the tray table keeps her happy~ sorry airline~ I do this for you.  Whatever your baby needs on that plane, JUST DO IT.  This is not the time to be the strict parent.  You may not want your little one to watch so much screen time but you have to think of the other patrons on the plane right?  And when it doubt~ bring some benedryl.  Kidding not kidding?

I hope these tips helped!  There are so many more online but these babies seriously helped me on countless flights.  We have a 14 hour and a 12 hour flight ahead of us right now so I’m VERY prepared and mentally prepped for the journey ahead.  It’ll be just me and C on the flight (Mike is in a diff section).  WISH US LUCKKKK!!! gahhh.

here are two blog posts below that may also help you 🙂

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