Air Travel with kids can be a downright frightening proposition, but with careful planning, I assure you, there is nothing to be afraid of! My hope is that this article will take you from trepidation to hopeful anticipation!
To help you maximize the FUN and minimize the frustration next time you travel by air here are 10 tips to a stress-free flight:
- Pack Intentionally and Effectively: Your stress- free flight starts long before you set foot on the airplane. Packing well is the ticket to an enjoyable flight. Pack a few items in your bag that you can use to coax your child into behaving when things aren’t looking so well. Also, let each child carry their own backpack full of items to keep them busy while on the plane or during a layover. Make sure to pack light enough so that you have a hand free to attend to your children throughout the day
- Curbside Check in: It does cost a few bucks- but trust me- if you have to navigate long lines in a busy airport with little ones it’s worth every penny! Usually located on the departure level of the airport near the entrance the “Porter” will help you get checked in and on your way. Don’t forget to tip the Porter for his service. Standard rule is $1 per bag. Ship other items. If you have to bring more things, you can choose to ship them to your destination earlier as this eliminates the need to carry them with you, especially when you are traveling with kids that also demands more attention.
- Set Expectations: Talk to your kids about how you want them to behave and what is expected of them while they are on the airplane. I have found that even from a young age my kids did better when I set a couple minutes aside to do this.
- Secure Documents and Valuables: Be sure to keep all important documents like passports, credit cards, IDs, tickets, and vouchers in a safe place. The last thing you need while you are trying to wrangle Johnny is to have to worry about whether these essential items are protected.
- Bring cash: Expect additional expenses, especially when traveling with kids. Needs and wants may be uncontrollable at times and you surely don’t want to encounter money problems during emergency cases.
- Plan for Pressure: If you are traveling with an infant, make sure to have a bottle or pacifier in your personal bag for take-off and landing- even if it’s a short flight. Sucking can help babies deal with changes in air pressure. If the child is being breastfed, be ready to nurse on board. If you are worried that someone might be upset, bring a nursing cover. A screaming baby is far more difficult to manage than an annoying glance by an insensitive person- so smile and carry on!
- Bring Earplugs: Not for you- but those nearby! A bit of humor can go a long way when you are closely confined!
- Keep ‘Um Eating: With the crazy amount of money the airlines are charging for snacks these days its easy to grit your teeth and wait until the flight ends to satisfy the rumbling tummies of your family. This is a HUGE mistake. Make sure to plan ahead by bringing enough food with you to keep your kids bellies full. Low blood sugar is the last thing you need to be dealing with at altitude!
- The Art of Distraction: Toys and other entertainment materials are important. Kids love to play. By keeping them busy, you reduce the chance of them acting out.
- Don’t Panic: Kids pick up on our stress and anxiety so regardless of how stressful an event may get, take a deep breath and try to relax. Remember- You Got This! Accept the fact that mishaps can happen, people can be insensitive, and you can’t always control your kids behavior. Just do your best and then sit back and enjoy the ride!
I hope these tips help you next time you fly with your kids! If you know of other helpful tips, we’d love to hear them and maybe even add them to future posts:)