I grew up traveling. Whether it was on long, cross-country road trips with my parents, moving or flying somewhere, I loved traveling, especially by plane.
In my mid-20s, though, I had a bad flight that scared me. Since then, I've been afraid to fly. So scared even that I got off a plane in Arizona and didn't get on my connecting flight home to Iowa to see my parents before they moved. I drove back to Los Angeles in a rental car. (Interestingly, my brother is a pilot.)
Despite my fears, I do fly. I don't want it to hinder the thrill I get from conquering my fears and also exploring new and old places.
Recently, all three of my kids and I flew back to Iowa from Los Angeles for the first time. It was our first time on a plane together.
Here are five things I did that helped me and, hopefully, will help you so that you can experience new adventures with your kids.
My brain gets a little cooky pre-flight, and I become a bear.
1. Wait until your youngest is at least 3.
Some might laugh at this but, for my family, it was the best decision. Until last summer, we had no idea that our middle child had horrible vision. He would scream a lot and was very difficult. Now, thanks to glasses, he's a new little man. I needed to wait until they all could sit and be glued to some kind of screen.
2. iPad, iPad, iPad
We have one iPad and three kids. The airline we flew on had no screens, so I borrowed my mom's iPad and then bought a used iPad for $200 off of Gazelle. I let those kids just plug the hell in so I could do my breathing, look out the window, pray and mentally flap my arms. Once we landed, the iPads were confiscated.
3. Start packing days before
Don't put off packing until the last minute. I started three days prior. My brain gets a little cooky pre-flight, and I become a bear. To alleviate any last-minute curve balls, don't procrastinate.
4. Pack a lot of food for the plane
Pack a lot of food so the kids aren't so hungry they go into meltdown mode.
I know it's a struggle. I understand, believe me.
5. Medicate yourself
Seriously, what's a one-time Xanax? If you are a one-timer vs. never going on a plane with your kids? Get on that plane. Go!
Remember flying is far safer than driving. Hell, carpool lane is far more dangerous—what with so many moms flying to school.
I know it's a struggle. I understand, believe me. I also have a heart condition that, if it were to trigger on a plane, I'd have an hour to get out of it before I would need to say, excuse me, we need to land this plane. Yet, I still go.