The then-5 Hagemeiers boarded a plane bound for China to get our 6th member. 🙂 Seems so long ago now. I prepared and prepared for that day for our kiddos as none of them had flown before and it was such a long series of flights & airports. With the help of a few friends & sister who had flown with kids before, I compiled our things to help our trip be the most successful & fun as I hoped it could be. I thought I’d share and reflect on some of those “traveling with kids” things we learned…

**Each child had a backpack of their own….to carry THEMSELVES. 

*this means it can’t be too heavy to carry

In each backpack we packed:

1-snacks for trip (1 quart Baggie with a granola bar, an applesauce pouch {we had NO issues or problems with security with these} some assorted candy based on each kid’s faves, & a couple all-fruit leather strips

2-Each child was given a quart sized Baggie to put into it any/all toys to be packed & played with. This of course means they had to be SMALL. And no toys outside that bag were taken. {besides the “surprises” that will be listed below}

3-an iPad {our kids don’t own their own tablets but we had or borrowed enough to tailor one per kid based on their interests} Each iPad was loaded with several downloaded books-we used the Overdrive App to download books checked out from our library for FREE, as well as game apps, music & a couple movies each downloaded from previously purchased movies via the Disney Anywhere App. 

4-Headphones in a lil cloth pouch to keep the cord from getting crazy in the backpack. {Headphones are a MUST on the planes as no sound can be on due to bothering other passengers}

5-A doodle/coloring/puzzle book along with a small pack of twist up crayons (no sharpeners needed or breaking, several colors, etc) & a couple mechanical pencils

6-a pair of earplugs (which we didn’t end up needing & I probably wouldn’t pack for my crew again…but then again there was that poor screaming child a few rows back on the flight on the way home that surely had a super hoarse voice the next day…)

7-a pack of Kleenex 

8-SURPRISES!!! This was super fun! I spent a lot of time in the months ahead of our trip shopping for fun tiny surprise gifts for the kids. Something fun & new to occupy their time when you are about half way through a 15 hour flight that feels like it may never end… Examples: a void Rubik’s cube for Will, lil angry birds transformers for Fritz & tiny Lalaloopsy sisters dolls for Clara. I had a tiny surprise for them on the long flights to & from China & one for midway through the trip. 

8-a neck pillow. With a snap at the front! This way it can snap onto a place on the outside of the backpack & not have to fit inside. 

9-a small special blankie. Helps with sleeping on the plane. (If they have one/sleep with one)

10-their stuffed animal. Our stipulation for this was it had to fit in an outside (drink) pocket of their backpack safely without worrying about it falling out. 

11-an EMPTY Tervis tumbler with lid that went in the other outside “drink” pocket on their backpack. This is especially important for littler ones who are prone to spilling. A little turbulence and a filled to the brim drink from the stewardess can be a mess really quick. So the Tervis is handy to just dump the drink into, put lid on & a much more secure beverage can be enjoyed. 

I had a small zippy makeup bag that I put all our toothbrushes & toothpaste into (I moved the toothpaste to it after we got on the planes) to make it easier to take kids to brush teeth when we “prepared” for bedtime on the long flights. Going through a lil bedtime regimen helped signal to them that it was time for sleep. 

I also had a few extra snacks in my carry on bag as the plane food is sometimes not the greatest-especially to kids. I packed one cleaned & washed apple each in its own sandwich Baggie to keep it clean in my bag & to have a place to stash the core afterwards. I’m also glad we picked up a couple extra bottles of water before getting on the plane as it’s just so dry & it’s nice to not have to ask or go hunting for drinks constantly. I also was glad I had my Chapstick & extra packs of Kleenex as the dry air caused both our boys to have more than one nose bleed either on the plane or when it was NOT convenient when we were getting our luggage, etc. 

We also took a friend’s advice and had a fast from all “screens” one whole week prior to leaving. This made all the iPad things like-new again & gave a healthy break before so much screen time was sure to occur. 

We spent time explaining to the kids about security & airport procedures & courtesy on planes. We showed them how they could scoot themselves up in their chair by strategically placing their feet where the arm rests were on the seat in front of them or using their arms to push on their own arm rests in order to avoid “kicking” the seat in front of them. 

They were super excited about the whole thing- the plane rides, the destination & the goal-to bring home their sweet sister!