Now that you're a responsible parent, there's no reason to squash your travel bug because of the kids. It's still possible to travel, have fun, and teach your children about the joys of exploring this big, beautiful planet. It won't always be easy, but these tips for air travel with kids will go a long way to ensuring a smooth flight.
1. Prep Your Kids Before the Flight
Young kids who are yet to experience an airport could be overwhelmed during their first visit. Educate them beforehand about what they can expect, such as the crowds, waiting in line, and airport security. It’s good to remind this to the kids before going to the airport, even if they have visited an airport or two in the past.
2. Pack the Essentials and Leave the Rest
Parents preparing to travel with a child in tow often make the mistake of cramming in everything they think they will need and end up taking too much.
Unless you're heading deep into the Amazon jungle, most probably that everything you could need will be available at your destination. Pack a few essentials, but don't burden yourself with an extra case because you're worried about running out of diapers.
If you are traveling with a baby - do make sure you have enough diapers and outfits for the flight and a few more for emergencies. Don't forget the plastic Ziploc bags for those unexpected explosions.
If your child has unique requirements, make sure there are alternatives available where you are going before deciding to leave them out. You can also test out different brands before you travel, so you know you can substitute.
3. Pack a Carry-on With Your Essentials
Luggage gets lost or delayed. It’s a risk every parent flying with kids will face, so don't rely on your luggage being at your destination when you get there.
Pack a carry-on with a change of clothes, toiletries, and anything else you can't easily purchase after arriving, such as prescription medicines. Older kids can take their carry-on to make your life easier.
4. Pack Entertainment for the Queues
Queuing at the airport is inevitable. Some airports have come to the party for parents and created play areas for the kids where parents can watch them.
However, a book to read or a gaming device can save the day when your kids are stuck in line with you.
5. Stay Powered Up
Electronic devices can be a curse for parents at home, but some say they are essential for travel. Make sure you have a small backup power supply for the iPad and earbuds (headphones may be too bulky).
A travel power strip that can charge multiple devices is also a good idea to get everybody juiced up just before the flight.
6. Use a Baby Carrier
Parents flying with babies will find it easier to strap their baby into a baby carrier that will free up their hands.
A baby carrier can be a pain when going through security because you will have to unstrap it and put it back on again. However, they will make the rest of your trip a lot more convenient, especially if you have toddlers in tow as well.
7. Choose Your Flying Time and Seating
Traveling with kids or babies can be challenging because you don't want to disturb the other passengers, or your kids’ routine. However, rather than resort to handing out candy and 200 earplugs for the entire plane to ensure a smooth flight, you can logistically plan your trip to minimize the challenges.
If it's a relatively short flight with a baby, you can arrange your travel during nap time. Longer flights can be done overnight when the children are usually asleep.
The main reason babies cry during a flight is because of popping ears. In this case, you could try a bottle or breastfeeding is you do. The sucking motion will reduce the pressure in their ears and keep them occupied. Older kids can chew gum for a similar result.
8. Get Your Kids to Pull Their Own Weight
You can make your life easier when traveling with kids as young as four or five by getting them to carry their own luggage. At this age, they are old enough to pull a wheeled bag with their clothes and a toy or two.
A Bonus Tip from Us - Vacation with a Difference
A family trip with your kids is an excellent way to expose them to the world and show them how people live in far-off lands, but you don't have to experience new cultures purely as tourists. IT’S July connects families looking to socialize with other families.
When your vacation plans include a meetup with another family, exploring new cultures and customs reaches a whole new level. Your kids will love learning about how children from other cultures live, eat, and play while making new friends along the way.
Family vacations create lifelong, special memories for your children, even from a very young age. The above air travel tips will make your flight go smoother and help set the mood for an enjoyable family vacation.