36hourslater3We were on our way home. It had been an exhausting adventure and, as I sat in the airport with my baby waiting for the boarding process to start, I realized my baby is now 12 and we no longer qualify for early boarding.I have always loved hearing those magical words “anyone traveling with small children or anyone needing assistance can board the plane now”.  But not this time.

This made me think of all the travel perks for families that we have enjoyed over the years.

Family Bathrooms in Airports

One of the newer benefits have been all of the “Family” restrooms that have been showing up at airports and occasionally some rest stops.  You’ve seen the larger single bathrooms that are more like your bathroom at home that allow for dads to take their daughters to the bathroom or moms to take their sons to the bathroom without having to drag them into the gender specific bathroom of the parent.  They are wonderful.  I love the space and the privacy and they are usually very clean.

Special “Family” Lines

My other favorite family perk is the “Family” line.  On a recent trip to St. Lucia in the Caribbean we funneled off the plane just to find ourselves in what seemed like a mile long line to have our passport checked.  But then one of the attendants at the airport tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to a booth with only one other family waiting.  There, above the booth, was a small sign that said “Family Line”.  It was wonderful.  Reason enough to bring a kid with us on this exotic getaway.

Children’s Menus in Restaurants

Being able to order from the children’s menu and then letting the kids eat the all you can eat buffet while you nibble from their kids plate and consume massive amounts of coffee.

Early Boarding

(See above)

Family Suites with Bunk Beds or Separate Bedrooms

Some motels have special suites for families traveling together.  We have been able to find inexpensive places to stay with bunk beds and even lofts for kids.

Now my kids are getting older and we have a new Family Perk: My own personal valet to carry the heavy bag through the airport for me.