Are you planning a trip with your family that involves flying? Travelling through airports and on planes can be overwhelming at the best of times. Add our little ones to the mix and it can seem like a daunting task! With a bit of preparation and planning your travels can go smoother, here are a few tips to help.
-Check in online when possible, cutting down on the number of lines you'll need to wait in.
-Print and carry your boarding passes with your passports. Or save digital copies so you won't have a bunch of paper to hold on to.
-Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport and through security.
Here’s a great video demonstrating the security process, that you can show your kids to help prepare them .
TRY TO TRAVEL WHEN THEY'LL BE SLEEPING
-If at all possible, try and book your flight during their regular nap time.
-If it’s a longer flight, consider flying through the night when they will be sleeping.
-Hopefully you’ve been left with a few extra minutes after security to let your children run around and burn off some extra energy before getting on the plane.
Most airports have designated areas for kids, or we often just find a nearby empty gate and let the boys run around there.
-Make sure you take a quick bathroom break before boarding. If you have a little traveller who has just been potty trained, consider using a pull-up in case of delays. Canadian winter weather often results in waits on the tarmac, causing longer than anticipated flights. All passengers need to remain in their seats with seatbelts on so using the washroom may not be possible during these delays.
-Unless you have a lot of carry-on bags that you need to put in the overhead bins, you may want to wait and board the plane last. This gives the kids as much time to run and wiggle as possible.
ON THE PLANE
-During take off and landing help your kids clear plugged ears with pacifiers or bottles. Older children may find relief by chewing gum or drinking from a sippy cup.
-“Busy Bags” can be a lifesaver! Take a trip to the dollar store and stock up on new crayons, sticker books, toy cars and card games. Bring out the new toys one by one when they start to get restless. During a rare child-free flight I saw a mom who had small wrapped toys for her kids to open when things started to go sideways. Brilliant idea!
-Stay hydrated, have a few sips of water every half hour. Dehydration occurs quicker on airplanes.
-When deplaning, again consider waiting until the end. This gives you time to pack up and double check that you have all of your belongings, as well as your child’s favourite blankie. It also keeps your children out of harms way from the passengers who are rushing to get off the plane - an added bonus is the possibility of your kids may getting a few minutes to peek into the cockpit and meet the pilots!
Most importantly, try and stay relaxed and keep your sense of humour. Our kids pick up on our moods - including stress. Inevitably you'll encounter hiccups along the way and having a sense of humour will help turn the unexpected into an adventure!