Nothing may quite be as scary and stressful for traveling parents as the idea of flying with their kids on an airplane. After all, what could be more taxing than going to the airport with a number of bags and kids in tow, then having to keep them seated, happy and quiet for hours and hours on end? Allow us to give you great travel tips that will help make your life a little bit easier. We can’t guarantee that your kids won’t have a meltdown at some point, but these tips will at least help keep everyone in a better mood throughout the trip:
1) Get to the airport early.
Get to the airport early to allow plenty of time for check-in, security checks and such. There’s nothing more stressful than starting your trip with a made dash to your gate—with children in tow!
2) Take your stroller with you!
Don’t make the mistake of checking your stroller in along with your bags. Almost all airlines will allow you to push your stroller up until the gate. You can check your stroller in at the gate and it will be waiting for you as soon as you get off the plane. Be sure to label your stroller with your name, phone number and address.
3) Have the essentials nearby.
If your children are still in diapers, pack a small pouch containing one or two diapers, baby wipes, rash cream and a scented nappy sack—and place this bag in the seat pocket in front of you for easy access. Since airplane restrooms are small, you may also want to pack a similar bag or pouch containing everything you’ll need to bring to the restroom (such as a diaper, a changing mat, baby wipes and powder), then restocking the contents as soon as you and your child have settled back into your seats.
4) Test the food temperature!
Test the temperature of your child’s food before allowing him or her to dig in. Airplane food is often served way too hot!
5) Bring out the goodies one by one.
If you’ve got a bag full of toys, get maximum use from each of them. Once they’re done playing with one toy, pack it up and move on to another toy. Don’t bring out these toys unless they’re bored or restless.
6) Allow older kids to bring their own special bag.
Allow your older children to pack their own bags for the plane ride. Be sure to check that it’s got more than enough to keep them distracted and happy for the entire ride. Books, coloring and activity books and music players are great things to bring!
7) Allow them to watch TV.
You may have rules about how much TV time your kids can get at home—but do away with this policy when you’re in the air. Allow them to take advantage of the channels and games onboard and enjoy the peace and quiet. You can also bring along a portable DVD player for your younger kids.