Make it fun and the kids will always follow your lead. If you are stressed and anxious – they will be too. And they will dread traveling. Make it all (the good and the disasterous) a fun adventure.
The airport is a fun exciting place.
Planes are fun.
The little windows are fun!
TSA security is fun! Lol. (FYI the TSA agents have little badge stickers for kids to be honorary TSA. Just ask for one! It will keep them entertained while your putting your shoes back on!)
#1 tip I have is to ALWAYS PACK LIGHT. You will survive. Buy what you can when you get to your destination. On a normal 1-4day trip we do 2 backpacks and a carry on bag. Plus a stroller. That’s ALL our luggage. Checking luggage should be avoided. It slows you down and God forbid the airline loses your luggage! ?. Yikes.
Take your time! Expect everything to take twice as long, and that’s ok. Security loading and overall moving from one point to another will take more time with kids.
So be flexible!
It helps to bring a stroller and baby carrier / sling. This helps you transport luggage and children swiftly. You can take your stroller and car seat all the way to your gate. When you get to the gate – ask for a tag. You can bring the car seat / stroller to the ramp before you board – and leave it there. Then when you deboard, it will be waiting for you when you get off! Every airline I’ve flown does this.
If you can, book an over night flight! Trust me it’s worth the extra $$$. But if you don’t, and one is not available….here’s some tips:
On the flight:
Thier ears will pop when taking off and then descending. (So will yours) Chew gum and bring a bottle of milk/water/juice for the little little ones. Keep it handy for when you are taking off and landing. This will occupy them and keep their ears from popping!
Once you are up in the air at a comfortable altitude, break out a new toy/ book/ snack/ movie every 15-30mins depending on your kids age and attention span. I buy a new episode of thier fav show on iTunes as a surprise. ( I’ll play it on my phone or ipad) You won’t have internet most times at 30,000 feet so plan accordingly.
In flight toys that work:
- Sticky window letters or shapes. I find these at the dollar store or target dollar bins!
- A new book: pop up or “touch & feel” books.
- Food is always entertaining. Keep in mind the more sugary the snacks, the harder it might be for the kiddos to stay seated and listen. So bring some treats that won’t crash their blood sugar. Food in small doses is fun. Snacks used as surprises and bribes will bring ease to your travel experience.
If you are traveling with kids with two or more adults, assign one to kids and one to luggage. So for security and loading the plane – one will always take care of the bags and one will always account for the kids. Making this clear beforehand makes things run smoothly and avoids any arguments.
Tiny tip: moisturize. The air is super dry on planes. Lather on the lotion ahead of time and bring a Chapstick! Don’t forget to drink water. Water water water!
Safe travels families! Enjoy your children at every stage while you go forth and explore!