There is no doubt traveling with children can be stressful, especially infants and toddlers. There are times you feel like a Sherpa accompanying a caravan up Mt. Everest as you rush through the airport for that “quick” getaway up to Michigan from Texas to see grandma. It sounded like such a great idea when you hit the “complete purchase” button to buy the plane tickets… but now, here you are, rushing to the ticket counter carrying two huge car seats, a backpack, a diaper bag and an oversized suitcase you know will be over the 50lb limit, praying the flight is not delayed and your 5-year-old has to go to the bathroom…….
The other night at dinner I asked my wife and kids what their favorite family trip was. Believe it or not, my 9-year-old son said his was the trip to Texas I just mentioned. Not because he enjoyed watching his dad train for a second career as a human camel, but because it was his first trip to Michigan to see his Nana at her house and it was one of his first travel memories.
My youngest son then proceeded to drop some serious knowledge: “If you don’t travel, you won’t be open to the world, and then think it’s a small place,” he said.
My jaw dropped, and my wife fell out of her chair. All those years of rushing through airports, nervous looks from airline passengers as we made our way down the aisle with two toddlers in tow, crying from the backseat as we near the end of an 11-hour road trip… I believe the word I’m looking for is vindication.
Unfortunately, this type of vindication will never be realized for so many families because they are too intimidated or apprehensive to travel with their kids. I get it; for some, simply getting on an airplane is enough to drive them to prescription medication. Add kids to the equation, and they would prefer to be knocked out like Mr. T in the A-Team.
But for those willing to take a chance and leave the comfort zone of your home base, here are some helpful tips to make traveling with your little humans a little easier:
Air Travel Tips
- Book direct flights — they may be a little pricier, but you significantly decrease travel time as well as the chance for delays and lost baggage
- Bring a ton of their favorite snacks, even if they are not the healthiest (it keeps them happy and busy!)
- Download their favorite movies, TV shows and games to your tablet prior to leaving home
- Pack toys, books, stuffed animals and some of their other comforts from home
- Know that the overwhelming majority of people — flight attendants, TSA agents, airline employees, other passengers — empathize with you and/or may have even been in your shoes, so will cut you some slack
- For infants still nursing or bottle feeding, take-off and landing are critical times to feed them to help relieve pressure in their ears
- Bring a bottle of Children’s Tylenol and ibuprofen along with extra diapers and a change of clothes
- If your child does get fussy during the flight, don’t worry, you will never see these people again!
Thank you for reading; hopefully some of these tips will help on your next family trip. Be sure to check out my next blog post, when I’ll dive into tips for planning your trip and where to stay.
Now go out, make some life-long memories, and travel with your family so you don’t “think the world is a small place!”