My girls have been to more than 40 countries. They had passports at age 3 months. I know a thing or two about traveling with tots. I've decided to take a break from recapping my travels to share my knowledge about the inherent challenges of traveling with children. I'm starting with tips for taking to the sky with kiddos along for the ride. My five tips for sane flying with kids were earned the hard way....one airline trip at a time.
Five Tips for Sane Flying with Kids
- Take advantage of pre-boarding. Unless the airline specifically designates an age limit, 4 and under is acceptable. This gives you the opportunity to get your children settled and their in-flight entertainment set up without the pressure of a building line behind you.
- Time your bathroom breaks. Make sure your child uses the bathroom before boarding, before the plane leaves the gate and once the pilot announces that the plane is starting its initial decent. If you are faced with being stuck on the tarmac, and your child insists that he has to go to the bathroom, advise him that he can't get up, and will instead have to pee into your empty water bottle. My son was so mortified by this prospect, he made it another 20 minutes.
- Be sure to pack snacks, or a light meal if you're going to be flying for more than 3 hours. A hungry child is a cranky child.
- Make sure your child is comfortable, which means having an extra set of clothes in case of an accident (see Tip 1) or spill, and bringing along a small pillow and blanket. You absolutely do not want to use the airline issued ones. Aside from the fact that they're not soft, it's questionable whether they've been washed.
- Bring ample toys, games and books to keep him or her occupied during the flight. Kids ages 3 and up are old enough to tote their own a carry-on, which can then be placed under the seat in front of them giving them easy access to their own stuff. To that end here are our picks...
Five Gear Essentials for Flying with Kids
- Trunki Ride-On Suitcase: Trunki allows kids to pack, carry and ride on their suitcase in a safe and fun way.
- Baby Travel Pillow Blanket: plush toy, blanket and pillow all in one. Pick from 3 animals.
- Portable meal and snack set (all with lids) also includes a bonus fork and baby feeding spoon which means you will be ready for mealtime on the move.
- Sticker Set Play Scenes: Little kids will go overboard for the Melissa & Doug sticker books with 50 reusable stickers--there are many other themes from which to pick.
- Piggy Story Art Folio: Drawing pad and crayons put together in an adorable portfolio.
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And if all this doesn't work, might we suggest taking up meditation!
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