We’ve all heard stories about traveling with children – some horrifying, others heartwarming. You see, it’s practically impossible to predict just how things will go.
In some instances, kind strangers have stepped in and helped when things got overwhelming. But this certainly isn’t something one can expect, much less rely on. Therefore, careful planning is incredibly important – and that means being prepared for all the possible scenarios.
Some kids handle traveling better than others, too. And while you may be sensitive to the plights of other parents, not everyone will be as understanding. Luckily, we’ve got some tips to help you avoid the potential headaches that can arise when traveling with kids.
1. Take advantage of early boarding.
Forget your assigned group number – instead, talk to a gate agent prior to boarding. Often, travelers with kids are allowed to board early, regardless of boarding assignments.
The majority of airlines would much rather have you and your kids seated and settled prior to boarding other passengers. Just make sure you check in with the gate agent first, since you don’t want to simply cut in line.
2. Consolidate your carryon luggage.
The fewer bags you have to carry, the easier your life will be – especially when dealing with kids. The last thing you need is to be carrying multiple bags and a sleepy child.
We recommend investing in a travel-friendly backpack to use as a single carryon. This way, you can consolidate all the things you really need for the flight.
3. Provide distractions.
Speaking of consolidating necessities, make sure you pack several things to help combat boredom.
When flying, especially for the first time, the surroundings can be quite overwhelming – if not frightening, too. Keeping kids occupied does more than just alleviate boredom, it also helps keep them distracted. This can aid in assuaging the stress of flying and help keep them quiet.
A tablet and a small pair of headphones are often a great go-to for this purpose.
4. Traveling with a stroller? Check it at the gate.
Strollers can be a major hassle, but they don’t have to be. Typically, your gate agent can provide you with a gate check ticket. This way, someone will take it off your hands as you board. Then, when you deplane, you’ll be able to simply pick it up on your way out.
5. Forget the car seat.
We know it can be tough leaving things like car seats behind, especially if you plan to rent a car at your destination. However, this can be a major hassle – plus, it also opens up the possibility of your car seat becoming damaged. (Countless sources advise against checking car seats for safety reasons.)
If you absolutely have to bring it, there are several things to consider. First of all, you’ll have to make sure it’s FAA-approved. You’ll also need to make sure you thoroughly know how to set it up on the plane.
Alternatively, there are several travel-friendly alternatives to car seats that you may want to consider.