Family travel

How to Survive Holiday Travel with Kids: Use a Stroller

Traveling is stressful.

Traveling with kids is…well, there are no words for it.

When we booked our red-eye flight back east, I must have had a fleeting moment of temporary insanity.  Because flying with three young kids on a 5 hour red-eye is NEVER a good idea.  I likely told myself, oh, yeah, they will sleep, it’ll be great.  But that’s a lie.  I should have known better, I mean I even wrote a blog post a couple of years back on ‘How to Survive a Cross-Country Flight with your Toddler‘ and rule #1 was: DO NOT BOOK A RED-EYE…

Arriving at the airport AFTER bedtime with three exhausted, over-tired, and cranky A.F. kids never ends well.  I must have forgotten that they would ultimately hit a level of tired that makes them full-on CRAZY.  I’m talking ‘whose freaking kids are those wild animals’ level of crazy.  They end up so over tired they can’t sleep, which means I can’t sleep…which also means not only does the 5 hour flight suck, but the next three days become a whirlwind of exhaustion and misery as our bodies adjust to missing an entire evening of sleep and a three-hour time change.

But alas. I booked it.  And it happened.  And we survived….so far.

It was exhausting.  There were moments of ‘we got this’ followed by ‘WTF were we thinking?!’ with undertones of ‘please, let this end quickly.’

The baby slept.  The boys didn’t.  We definitely didn’t.  But for as much stress as I had about the actual up in the air flying part, if I’m 100% honest, it was a piece of cake in comparison to the chaos before and after the flight.

The only thing worse than being stuck in a teeny tiny seat with your kids crammed next to you amidst the judgmental glare of other passengers (who DEFINITELY don’t want your kids on their flight), is trying to get those three kids through airport security and actually onto the plane in one piece.

We opted to bring our UPPAbaby VISTA stroller with us and I am SO glad we did.  Honestly, I don’t think we would have made it through the airport with all our kids without it.  We have always skipped strollers when flying in the past and worn our little ones through the airport instead; but with a 6 month old, a barely 2-year-old and a 5-year-old, we thought the stroller might make things a little less chaotic and more manageable. (Which it did in fact do.)

We got the UPPAbaby Travel Bags for our UPPAbaby VISTA and our RumbleSeat.  The bags come with carrying handles and roll up into a more compact roll with a velcro strap to hold it closed that easily stows underneath the stroller while going through the airport.  The PiggyBack Ride-on Board doesn’t fit in the bags, but we were able to easily pop it off right before the flight and put it in the overhead bin on the plane.

I was nervous about bringing a stroller, especially a NICE one, given that airport crews are notoriously less than gentle with baggage.  But, I found out that UPPAbaby, whose customer service is already pretty killer, has an amazing guarantee on their TravelSafe bags.  Through their TravelSafe Program, as long as your Stroller, Bassinet, RumbleSeat and TravelSafe Bag are all registered with UPPAbaby prior to your departure, ANY damage to your bag or stroller that may happen when you gate check is covered by UPPAbaby.  I know right? It’s pretty awesome.

I will say, I should have maybe looked at the directions BEFORE it was final boarding call for our flight so I wasn’t wrestling with the stroller and bag while wrangling three very over tired kids…but as with most products from UPPAbaby, it was insanely easy to figure out (once I realized I needed to NOT detach the seat from the stroller – again something I would have known had I read the manual and/or looked at the GIANT picture on the inside of the bag.) Either way, having the stroller while going through security and the airport allowed us to keep the toddler contained while we waited for our flight AND allowed us to have our hands relatively free since we could use the stroller to stash most of our carry-on items.  Regardless of if we end up using the stroller a lot or a little while we are in NY, I am now a believer that using a stroller in the airport is totally worth it – especially if you know that it can be safely gate-checked without fear of damage.

We are on day three of jet lag/missed night of sleep and FINALLY the kids are nearing normal again.  The first couple of days were rough, but we just went with their needs.  Basically my newborn refused to sleep all day, the toddler ate non-stop and still claimed he was hungry and the 5-year-old basically turned nocturnal sleeping all day and up all night.  Hopefully in the next day or so they will have fully adjusted and bedtime won’t be an epic battle of screaming over tired kids.

And then we can enjoy our trip…until it’s time to fly back and face arguably worse jet lag on the other end when our kids wake up at 3am ready to start their day.


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of UPPAbaby. The opinions and text are all mine.

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  • Reply
    Heather Knox
    October 18, 2019 at 11:23 am

    Pop up tent and black out curtains will help if you do it again. Gives the kids a space to sleep or relax and not be overstimulated by the surroundings in the airport. I fly a lot. My husband works for the airline. Just a trick I learned along the way.

    • Reply
      December 31, 2019 at 1:45 pm

      I love this idea! Will definitely look into a little pop up tent next time!

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