The prospect of boarding a flight with a kid in tow is enough to make even well seasoned travelers stop in their tracks. After all, everyone has heard a horror story about a baby who cried nonstop through a flight. While it is true that kids do require some special accommodations, you can make traveling with kids enjoyable by arriving for your flight prepared.
Do Some Pre-Flight Prep Work
Young children are fascinated by air travel, and you can use this natural curiosity to teach them proper flight etiquette. For preschoolers, try role-playing being on a flight, or encourage them to pretend to be a pilot. Reading age-appropriate books about air travel also provides a great way to initiate conversations about how to behave on an airplane.
Use a Backpack
For many people, getting to and from the airport is the hardest part of traveling with kids since carrying luggage and a kid can feel like a juggling act. Consider using a backpack as your carry-on bag since it leaves your hands free to change diapers and carry squirmy toddlers. Many backpacks come with multiple compartments that will help you keep your kid supplies organized.
Bring New Activities
Kids love getting new toys, and going on an airplane for the first time is cause for celebration. Before your trip, gather some special activities that you know they will love. Depending on your kid’s age, travel-sized board games, coloring books or a new handheld video game are all great ways to keep boredom at bay. To maximize your kid’s entertainment, consider wrapping each gift so they can enjoy the surprise.
Dress in Layers
Although the airplane crew tries to keep everyone comfortable, temperatures can vary on a flight. Make sure to dress your child in layers so you can add and remove articles of clothing as needed. This is especially helpful if you will be traveling to a different climate where you may not have time to change clothes right away.
Take a Comfort Item
On long flights, your child might need to sleep. Yet, sleeping away from home is hard for anyone. Make it easy by bringing along your kid’s favorite pillow or blanket. Hugging a stuffed animal from home will also bring your kid comfort. If night falls, you can also complete many elements of your kid’s bedtime routine in-flight such as reading a story or listening to a favorite lullaby if your bring them in your carry-on.
Choose The Right Flight
Airlines are not all alike, and even the timing of your flight will affect how your kid reacts. If you know that your kid gets cranky before their afternoon nap, then an early morning flight might be best. Additionally, private planes offer more privacy for a child who is likely to act up in crowds, and they tend to have more space for dealing with common situations such as taking the little one to the bathroom.
When it goes right, traveling with kids is an amazing experience since you get a chance to see the world through innocent eyes. For most kids, getting on an airplane is a special occasion that they have been looking forward to all their life. By doing some prep work before you board, you can ensure that their first flight is everything they ever dreamed.