The first and most important thing to remember about flying with children is that for the most part people are going to be understanding and helpful. Of course there are those few who will refuse to sit in the same row, or near to you if you have children...but they are few and far between. You are will more than likely encounter another parent who has been in your shoes before and feels your paid and will offer a helping hand or word of encouragement, which can go a long way when your toddler is throwing a tantrum.
Best thing you can do? Be prepared! Spend the time before you travel so that you can enjoy the act of traveling and more importantly enjoy your entire vacation.
Here are our top tips to help make traveling with your children as best as it can possibly be:
#1 Book and Plan Ahead
There are so many reasons to plan your travel in advance, especially when traveling with children. This will help you to secure better seats all together for your family, the best itinerary, best times of the flights and most importantly allow you to budget as best as possible. The longer you wait the more likely the chance that you will not be able to find seats together and may have to select from non-ideal flight or layover times.
#2 Take Your Time
When you are traveling with your family, especially when you have little ones, the last thing you want to be doing is rushing to get multiple people out the door. It causes unnecessary stress, anxiety and most likely grouchy moods from one or all members.
To prevent this make sure to allow yourself enough time to get to the airport so that you can check in and get to your gate without having to hurry through the lines and security only to rush to your gate without any chance to walk, stop for a snack or relax before boarding your flight. Trust us...this one can make all the difference for setting the tone right from the start!
#3 Pack Each Child a Bag for the Plane
Once your children are old enough to carry their own bags it's important to customize a pack for each of them with items that they find to be entertaining or useful for longer durations. This personalization will help engage your children during the flight making for a more pleasant experience for you.
If your children are too young to carry their own bag think about placing a few items in ziploc bags or small totes within your carry-on bag and handing them out to your children once you are settled.
#4 Make the Most of Technology
If the plane offers in-flight movies, tv or music you might as well take advantage of it. At the very least it will help entertain your children for at least an hour or two, which for many trips is about half the distance. Many flights now offer children friendly radio stations, audio books and movies. If you are traveling with your own laptop or iPads make sure to look for flights that offer outlets an wifi.
#5 Don't Forget the Snacks
There is nothing worse than being hungry on a flight, and for many young children it can be incredibly uncomfortable to be in a new place with scary noises, changes in air pressure and lots of new people. So why make it worse by introducing hunger to the equation. To prevent this you will want to pack snacks to take along with you on the trip - especially you child's favorites.
#6 Travel Comfortably
The last thing you want to be on any trip is uncomfortable, and you don't want your children to feel this way either, so make sure what you all decide to wear is something that you can remain comfortable in for a longer period of time in case of delays. Think loose layers that you can add to or remove depending on the temperature and fabrics that breathe allowing for you to remain cool, calm and collected.
With these tips you are one step closer to traveling with a happy family!