Traveling with Kids: Survival

As we enter one of the busiest travel weeks of year, we are reminded that travel for a child is still a magical experience.  We, as adults, have been jaded over the years with all the rules, regulations and the less than stellar experiences in certain airports.  But to a child, the whole event is something special.  Many of us, who are parents, take more of a survival approach to the process.  Our staff has compiled a list of tips and tricks of the trade for surviving travel with children:

Pack your patience:  It will prove time and time again to be your biggest asset in the travel process.  We know the old adage that kindness goes a long way; lead by example and always remember that those little eyes are watching every interaction.

Snacks:  Pack lots of snacks, especially chewy ones for those take-offs and landings.  Snacks are hard to come by these days on airplanes, so it’s best to pack your child’s favorite.  If you can pack something that you don’t normally let them have a lot of, even better.

Entertainment:  Make sure the tablet, e-reader or smartphone are charged and ready to go.  Download your child’s favorite television show or movie (depending on the length of trip).  If you can limit the usage of the electronics prior to your trip, your child will be all the more happy to play or watch when you hand it to them.  Don’t forget the headphones!

Small Toys:  Pack a surprise toy, something small that your child can open when you’re on the plane.  That should buy you some quality time.

Extra Clothes:  Can’t hurt to pack an extra set of clothes for your children, especially the younger ones.  You never know when a sippy cup could spring a leak or a snack “gone wrong.”  It’s better to pack that change of clothes than sit there with a wet, sticky child.

Illness:  Not sure about your family but more times than not whenever we plan a vacation, someone gets sick.  It’s best to pack your child’s medication and take it along, just in case.  No one wants to stop a vacation to try and track down your child’s cough syrup.

Seat Arrangement:  Our staff recommends separating the kids when flying.  Choose your seats wisely so each can have a window.

Schedule:  If at all possible try not to schedule flights too early in the morning.  It’s best to try and keep to a normal sleep/nap schedule.

Germs:  Always, always pack hand sanitizer and wipes.  Wipe down the seats before you let the kids climb all over.  No guarantee it will prevent illness, but it can’t hurt!

Let the Kids Help:  Give your child a job to do; incorporate them in the experience with age appropriate jobs.  If your suitcase rolls and your child is big enough, make them in charge of pulling it to the counter.  Assign your child the responsibility of remembering where you parked.  All these things will help your child feel important and ease any anxiety.