Traveling with Children: Tips for a Smooth Ride
Posted on March 11 2020
Photo by Pixabay
Traveling with Children:
Tips for a Smooth Ride
Vacations are our chance to get away and relax, but with children in the mix, getting there can often be a stressful experience. At one point or another, we’ve likely all been on a plane and witnessed a child who wasn’t a happy camper. If you have children, you know meltdowns can happen at a moment’s notice, but there are a few tricks you can keep up your sleeve to ensure you touch down on the runway ready to make memories.
Bring the Necessities on Board
Whether you have a two-hour or an eight-hour flight, packing a carry-on bag for your child is not only a must but a lifesaver. Children can be picky, so pack their favorite snacks such as pretzels, crackers, dried fruit, or dry cereal. Any drinks brought on board will need to be purchased after you pass through security, so bring empty sippy cups and bottles to prevent spills. If you are traveling with an infant or young toddler, be sure to bring diapers, wipes, and a changing pad, as well as a plastic bag, to hold dirty diapers and clothes. Unfortunately, long layovers and delays happen, so you might find it worth your while to invest in a travel crib for naps on the go. These cribs are travel-friendly because they can be taken apart, loaded into a travel bag, and taken anywhere. This also makes them a handy option if you’re staying in a hotel or other lodging accommodation that may not provide an age-appropriate crib.
Pack the Fun
When traveling via plane, you’ll find that you spend a good deal of time waiting at the airport. Plus, the plane ride itself can be a haul. Children get bored very easily, which leads to fidgeting, whining, and an unpleasant crankiness that you and everyone nearby will have to hear. While kids will be kids, you can certainly do your best to keep them occupied. Bring their tablet pre-loaded with books and educational games, and throw in a pack of cards. If you have an artist on your hands, bring crayons and markers. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities for young children, but what about tweens and teens? Encourage older children to pack their own in-flight bag with books, coloring books, and electronics.
When considering entertainment for your kids, be sure to think beyond the plane. You’ll want to have enough to keep them occupied in the evenings and to help them wind down. By packing a portable streaming stick, they can access all their favorite movies and TV shows when chilling out after a big day. These are great because they easily plug into a TV’s HDMI port and won’t take up much room in your bag.
Take Advantage of Early Boarding
Getting everyone settled into their seats can be a bit of an ordeal, which is why some airlines allow early boarding (TripSavvy lists the airlines and their policies here). However, while boarding early offers its perks, this also means that your child will have to sit for up to 45 minutes while the rest of the passengers board and the plane taxis on the runway. If you are traveling with others, have the child wait with the rest of your party while you board early to get car seats and strollers stowed away. If this isn’t an option, offer your child a toy or snack. Perhaps you could ask the flight attendant for the iconic wing pin or turn the wait into a game by counting passengers or bags.
Prepare for Ear Popping
The sudden change in altitude brings with it the inevitable ear-popping, but for young children, this can be scary, and even a little painful. The popping occurs when the Eustachian tube in the middle ear opens to let air in to equalize the air pressure. To start and end your plane ride on a good note, ask your child to drink water or other fluids to encourage the tube to open. Have your child chew a piece of gum, suck on a piece of candy, yawn, or swallow until the popping subsides. Older children can take a breath, pinch their nose, and blow out of their nose to open up the tube and get relief until the plane levels out.
Flying with children doesn’t have to be a disaster. Take advantage of early boarding, pack the ultimate kid-friendly carry-on bag, and guide your child through the ear-popping phase of the flight. With the right preparation, tools, and tricks, you can enjoy the flight with as few hiccups as possible.
Written by Daniel Sherwin