My 5-year-old daughter is used to traveling in style, but I have honed some tips I’d like to share on how to make any travel experience a success with little kids.
1. Don’t Pass on a Printer
You will save yourself a lot of time by printing out your boarding passes at home. You should also call the airport prior to leaving home to check that your flight is going to be leaving on time. This is especially important during inclement weather.
2. Prep Talk Your Progeny
Before we fly anywhere, we talk about what will happen, such as how we will handle going through security, going to the bathroom before we board (see Lounge tip below), or how to sit in our seats during a long plane ride (like the one we took going to Australia). This way my daughter knows how to handle herself through each step of our journey.
3. Be a Lounger
We love going to airport lounges prior to flights. It gives me and my husband a chance to unwind, my daughter a chance to explore in a contained environment, and an opportunity for her to drink water (use a large, clean bathroom) and have a light snack before boarding. If you are going on an overnight flight, have your children wear their pajamas for traveling (see above). They will be comfy when it counts.
4. Give Them Apps
There are many age-appropriate apps that you can download to your iPad, including Cake and Cookie Doodle, Pico the Penquin, WordZine by Lisbon Labs, the new YouTube Kids, and Crayola Color, Draw & Sing.
5. Make the Flight Attendant Your Friend
While the flight attendants in coach might be too harried to answer your child’s questions, I find that those in business or first class have fewer people to deal with and therefore are less harried and more apt to spend time entertaining your child and answering endless questions. Why not take advantage of their good will?
6. Crayons to Go
The last thing you want to do when you travel with kids is have them stain the seat or their neighbor’s clothes with a misplaced marker or crayon. That’s one reason I love Crayola’s Color Wonder markers and paper. The markers only show up on the special paper, so they are no fuss, no mess.
7. Food for Their Mood
Sure, they can order whatever they want to eat for meals. But why also let them have that kind of control over their snacks? I bring along trail mix, cashews and raisins, protein bars and fruit squeeze packages so that my daughter isn’t binging on high-fat, sugar-loaded sweets.
8. Comfort Kit
If my daughter gets a boo-boo, she will have her own Elsa Band-Aids and Neosporin. I also bring a light blanket (to use instead of the airline’s regulation blanket), her favorite stuffed animal, a neck pillow and her latest Barbie (or Elsa) doll.
Hope these tips help when you do your own flying with kids.
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