How many times have you heard those awful stories about traveling by plane with children? Screaming babies that cannot be calmed, toddlers kicking the seat in front of them, siblings arguing over who gets to sit by the window, all the while passengers dressed in business attire stare you down while you try to control the chaos. Almost makes you want to drive the 1,200 miles to grandma’s house doesn’t it?
While the thought of flying the not always-friendly skies may seem daunting and scary and it’s also the quickest way to get to your destination and a great experience for kids.
Tips for flying with kids
1. Comfort is everything Lightweight cotton clothes in layers airports and airplanes are notorious for being either too hot or too cold. Avoid shoes with laces or buckles, Velcro shoes or slip on shoes are best for getting through security quickly. If you are traveling early morning or late at night let the little ones wear their pajamas, they are guaranteed to be comfortable and with any luck they will sleep on the plane!
2. Getting to the gate If you are traveling with infants or toddlers don’t check the stroller with your bags, take it to the gate. As you get on the plane they will take it from you to put it in the bottom of the plane at the last minute. As you deplane at your destination they will have it out for you in the jet way. Another great way to get through the airport is by carrying your littlest in an Ergo or other type of wrap/carrier, that keeps them close by and your hands free. At the time of writing you can even walk through the metal detector at security with your baby strapped to you.
3. Onboard Entertainment You want to keep the kids occupied and happy but you don’t want to be stuck carrying lots of equipment to make it happen. Flying itself is very exciting for kids; they love the thrill of take off and landing. Even during flight looking out the window and making up stories about the ant sized homes and cars or even playing I-spy can be a lot of fun! Forgo books that are often heavy and weigh down your carryon. Instead bring along a tablet pre loaded with movies and games and downloaded books just don’t forget the headphones!
4. Other Passengers You will get both looks of uncertainty and sympathy as you board the aircraft with your army of little people in tow. To help ease the tension you could bring a sweet treat for the flight crew and fellow passengers sitting around you (a small bag of chocolates is enough to make anyone’s day).
5. Breathe There is always the chance that you will land more frazzled than when you first boarded but you arrived in one piece and it’s definitely better than listening to “are we there yet” for 10 consecutive hours in a car.
Flying is undoubtedly one of the most stressful forms of travel even without kids! If you can take a couple of deep breaths, focus on the destination, and not sweat the small stuff you may even find it to be enjoyable.
Meghan is a former flight attendant turned 5th grade teacher and newly divorced mom living that beach life with her daughter in the sunny state of Florida. She loves to travel and often takes her seven year old daughter along for the journey. Meghan is also a photographer who is working on a project to promote self love in preteen girls. Discovering life doesn't always have to be picture perfect has been one of her greatest challenges and she embraces every moment and opportunity that comes her way.
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