Traveling during the holidays is hard enough. Traveling with children during the holidays, now that's a feat! Long lines, flight delays, whiny children... It's a lot to manage and even worse because most of it is out of your control -- especially with the strict TSA rules and regulations. Earlier this year, we posted a story about a mom who lobbied for change after TSA officials took away her baby's food at the airport. While a scenario like this seems frightening -- thinking about your child stranded in the air without food or milk -- there are things that you can do to make sure that your trip goes smoothly to avoid a family meltdown.
For starters, most airlines do not serve meals anymore. Be sure to pack a ton of finger foods like string cheese, crackers, dried bananas that will stay fresh in case of long delays. We also recommend heading straight to the airport food court and ordering some sandwiches and taking them to go so that you have something to eat on the plane. As for liquid, we also recommend heading straight to the news stand and purchasing a couple big bottles of water. Not only is it important to keep yourself hydrated (as we know, you'll need a cocktail as soon as you land), but you can use the water for those traveling with infant formula.
Here are some other tips from TSA Spokesman Nico Melendez, a father of five, on ways to make your traveling experience easier.
1. Do your research: Nico asks all moms to visit the TSA Web site to learn the limitations for kid-friendly liquids, like milk and formula.
2. Be realistic: "Someone flying from L.A. to Australia will need more baby food than someone flying to San Francisco." There is no set rule on how much baby food or formula you can bring; however, if the security officer believes it is too much for the distance you are traveling, it can be taken away.
3. Carry milk or formula separately: Carry your breast milk or formula separately and let the security officer know ahead of time that you have it. This will decrease delays, as well as the number of non-Moms looking at you with the evil eye.
4.Fill small bellies before: Nico boasts that he got his five kids through the security checkpoint in under five minutes by giving them something to eat before the flight and after to decrease the amount of food that needed to be hauled on the plane. He also recommends using powder-based formulas versus liquid while traveling.
5. Prep your kids: Let them know ahead of time that they will need to take off their jacket and shoes. Nico suggests even having young kids wear socks to the airport and put on their shoes after the security checkpoint.
Do you have any travel tips or horror stories? Tell us in our momlogic community!