Travelling with kids
Having anxiety attacks at the thought of travelling with children especially over the holidays? Don’t; although it is a hectic time of year, with some simple prep you can make it a fun and enjoyable time for everyone (including you) just follow these tips for travelling with kids.
Book the earliest and most direct flights when possible:
There is nothing worse than having to rush between flights in a crowded airport when travelling with kids in tow. Although it is an extra cost, if your child is under 2 – this may also be the best time to purchase a seat for them. It will make travelling during the holidays easier. Can you imagine sitting with a squirming child on your lap for 6 plus hours?
Arrive at airport early
If you can arrive early , so that the long lines don’t impact the family as much. If you can check in on line and get seat assignments early, do it! Bring along games, books etc. that are easy to get to so you can keep children occupied while waiting in line and on the plane [unfortunately, some flights can be delayed on the tarmac before takeoff].
Carry a backpack, it keeps your hands free:
Double check all the carry-on luggage before checking in – especially if the kids have packed it! There is nothing worse than being the person who holds up the line because of something the kids unknowingly threw in the backpack. Always check the latest restrictions for checked luggage and carry-on before travelling; your airline or travel agent can help you with this. If travelling with presents, remember you will be bringing some back, plan accordingly and don’t wrap the presents… security may ask you to unwrap them.
Carry enough snacks:
Carry enough for the kids to have during the flights and possible delays and throw in a couple of extras. You can carry an empty bottle or Sippy cup for a young child; once you go through security you can buy bottled water. It is important to make sure that when travelling with kids, everyone keeps well hydrated during the flight as the cabin air can be very drying. This is also a great time to take special treats along for the kids that they normally don’t get.
Don’t forget Medications:
If the children have any special medications that they are taking, make sure to take enough to cover for the days that you are away as well as a few extra just in case, it may be difficult to get the medication replaced while you are travelling due to the holiday hours. Remember, unexpected illnesses can happen, and the holiday season is the worst time to be travelling with an ill child. Make sure their vaccinations are also all up to date and that none have been given within a month of travelling. You should also have any copies of their health records if needed, and you should have all documentation necessary showing legal guardianship as well.
Stay Charged up!
Make sure your electronics are all charged up and take chargers with you as well as headphones; it will keep the kids occupied in case of delays. Download any movies, games etc that might help to keep them occupied.
Remember, there are a lot of people travelling at this time – make sure to keep an eye on your luggage and your kids at all times and respect the other travellers and above all, be flexible – delays can happen!
Happy Holidays and have a wonderful time!
I initially wrote this article for Help We’ve got kids online Magazine, first appeared in their Dec 2012 issue. Reprinted with slight changes.