Family Travel: 7 Tips for Flying with Kids
Traveling parents know how important it is to be prepared when flying with children of any age. After all, one can never be too organized or over-prepared, and this handy guide will make you seem like a traveling pro as you breeze through security and fellow passengers compliment you on the behavior of your young traveling companions.
1. Get the Family Excited – and Prepared
Prepare your family for what to expect by providing some background information about flying and your destination. Visit the library to check out books that you can read together about a vacation destination. Take a look at a map to provide a relevant geography lesson about where you’re going.
2. Digital Distractions
Download new apps, music, favorite shows and age-appropriate movies, too. Make sure that the headphones you have are comfortable for your child to wear. Pack all devices fully charged, and if the device has replacable batteries, bring along an extra set or two. And pack your charging cables in your carry-on bag in case you need to recharge during flight delays or layovers.
3. Analog Amusement
Pack entertainment that doesn’t require a screen. New books, super sparkly stickers, mini notepads, a mini magnetic doodler, washable crayons and even a glue stick for torn paper collages of the in-flight magazine can help pass the time. Make sure you can actually bring the items aboard, of course. The only thing worse than not being able to use something mid-flight is if it’s confiscated before you even get on the plane!
4. Responsible Adolecents
Designate a bag for each child as a carry-on that will hold favorite items (and snacks!). This will help them feel involved and help you not have to be responsible for so much. Then, on the plane, them having their bag at their feet with their must-have items will ensure everything easily accessible.
5. Some Extras are Okay
Packing that extra pair of shoes – just in case – will just take up valuable space. But there are some extras – extra diapers and wipes, extra snacks, a little extra cash – will be worth having if an emergency arises.
6. Under Pressure
Takeoff and landing are often the worst parts for small children. Indulge your child with a lollipop – or bottle or pacifier for younger kids – which may help releive some of that pressure they’re feeling in their ears.
7. Break the Rules
Disregard your usual screen-time or bedtime or mealtime rules. Sometimes air travel is all about survival, and if it means letting your child watch back-to-back episodes of their favorite show or an extra movie, or get the root beer instead of the water, consider it a treat that will save your sanity.
With these tips you and your family will be on your way to stress-free travel and will start your trip off on the right foot.