"" Writer's Wanderings: Tips For Flying With Kids

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tips For Flying With Kids

We didn't travel with our children a lot when they were young but we did take several outstanding vacations that they remember quite vividly. Of course they remember Disney World but the trips to the Smokey Mountains, the North Carolina coast, and Washington, D.C. are also mentioned when we are together reminiscing. We didn't fly often. There were five kids and even back then it was too expensive for us. Today, I see more and more families traveling with young children and I applaud their sense of adventure in this day and age of airport security lines.

With a little preparation, you can help to ease the anxiety of flying to your destination with your children. One of the best ways to keep track of your kids is to outfit them with bright neon colored tee shirts. They stand out in a crowd of travelers. Make it fun and let them design their own with fabric paint or get them printed with Family Vacation 2012 and the destinations or places you plan to visit as if it were a rock band tour.

Instead of packing several big suitcases, you might consider getting each child a rollered carry-on and/or a backpack. If it doesn’t fit in the bags, it can’t go and if you don’t have to check luggage, there’s no waiting at your destination to get that vacation started.

Be sure to have each family member wear slip on shoes and socks (although young children no longer need to take off shoes) for going through security. Avoid belts that have to come off and be sure that all of their pocket items are in a small Ziploc bag in their backpack. To avoid the issue of carrying liquids, I would just buy them at your destination. The time and aggravation saved will more than make up for the cost. Hotels and B&Bs usually have most of the toiletries you need in the room.

When you arrive at the airport, if you’ve parked your car at a lot that doesn't issue a location card, use your camera or smart phone to take a picture of where you parked. It will save wandering around with tired kids looking for that spot again.

I read one suggestion from a lady who traveled with six kids. She lined them up youngest to oldest as they went through security. One parent led the group and the other was at the end. That way everyone and everything made it through security.

Be sure everyone takes a bathroom trip before boarding the plane. You never know how long you might be on the runway at a busy airport and the restrooms are unavailable until takeoff.

Also, remember that while on the runway you cannot use electronics so be prepared with the old fashioned coloring books, puzzle books, or other gadgets without an on/off switch that can entertain the kids while you wait for takeoff.

Pass out gum or gummy bears as the plane takes off. It will help pop the ears as the kids chew and the airplane cabin pressure changes. For infants, be sure to be prepared with a bottle for them. You can always get juice or milk or water to mix formula in the airport before boarding. If they are sucking on a bottle, they will be less likely to experience discomfort in their ears. Have a little ready for your landing time as well.

Just a couple more suggestions: fly midweek if possible. The flights are less crowded which makes for a more pleasant trip and an easier passage through security. If you are leaving the country be sure to allow plenty of time to get passports and/or visas if needed. For the little ones, you might want to make a little ID card they can carry just like a grown up. Kept inside their backpack, it’s also a way to get a lost bag returned.

Happy traveling! There are many wonderful places in this world to share with your children. Make lots of memories together.

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