Since Summer is finally here, I wanted to share some tips with you about how to make traveling with kids a little more tolerable. I started traveling with my niece and nephew several years ago. At first, I packed so much stuff that we never used. I tend to worry just a little more when I travel with the kids, but I have learned so much and I constantly look at what I can travel with and without.
I want as little hassle as possible when we fly because, let’s admit it, airport security and kids are sometimes not a fun combination. These tips really worked well for our first few trips together when they were younger and now they’re well seasoned travelers. I wanted to share a few of my favorite tips with you to make traveling on your next vacation or your first vacation as painless as possible:
• Seat Location – I always try to figure out who is going to sit where well ahead of time. If you know your kid will sit for most, if not all, of the flight — then I would sit them in the window seat. But if you have a child that would be up and down a lot, I would have them sit in either the middle or aisle seat.
• A Surprise Bag – When we travel, I ALWAYS pack a backpack/bag for the kids with things to do. Blind bags with characters they like, crayons, paper/coloring book, stickers, an activity book, a new chapter book, just basically new things I know they will be occupied with for the flight. When I know a trip is coming up, I go to the Dollar Spot at Target, The Dollar Tree, and Five Below for this stuff. I also love KeepEmQuiet, they have some great surprise bags for all different ages.
• Snacks – I can never pack enough snacks for our travels. I love The Dollar Store for this. I put snacks in everyone’s surprise bag. I only put in a few snacks and keep the extras in my carry-on and they have full rein over everything in the bags — once they eat the snacks from their bags, I regulate.
• Entertainment – Headphones are a must. I always load the iPads and tablets with new music, games and movies/tv shows a week or so before we leave and make sure all the electronics have been updated. For my sanity, I don’t regulate this either. Since I picked what was downloaded and they don’t have any access to the internet, I don’t worry about any accidental in-app purchases! Some of our favorite apps are from Originator (Endless Spanish, Endless 123, Endless ABC, Endless Wordplay and Endless Reader), I Spy from Scholastic and Out of Water and Jetpack Joyride from Halfbrick.
• Expectations – Leading up to our travel date, I always talk about how to behave on the airplane and in line at the airport. I mention that the TSA is there to help us and make sure everyone is safe. So they may ask the kids where they are going, who they are traveling with, and how long they are going for. I remind them that the airplane has the same rules as school and this really works.
• Patience – This is mostly for me. I have to remember they may be nervous so I make sure I am extra patient with them, and we give ourselves plenty of time to make sure we aren’t rushed since that is when I feel like I will tend to get frustrated the most.
• Pediatrician – If you are flying with kids for the first time and have any questions about medications that are safe for kids, I recommend contacting their doctor. When we first started traveling together I had a list of questions for my sister to ask their pediatrician. Especially what we could or should give them for motion sickness and what they suggest for dealing with the ear pressure on take off and landing. Like I said, I am a worrier so I want to have all my bases covered.
I hope you found these tips helpful! I would love to hear what you do to keep your kids occupied for your trips!
Courtney Sudhalter is a Travel Agent based in the Boston, Massachusetts area. Catch up with her on Facebook: CourtneyMLT, Instagram @anexperiencedtourist and on her blog www.anexperiencedtourist.com or by email Courtney@MustLoveTravel.com