December 9th, 2015
5 Tips for Flying With Kids
Keep your sanity (and your seatmate’s) intact with these tips and tricks to keep kids entertained and well-behaved in the air. Bonus: No extra carry-ons required.
Love to see the world but nervous to bring your little ones along for the ride? It’s not impossible to travel as a family. As long as you’re prepared (and remember to pack your patience), flying with kids can actually be an enjoyable experience – and one that packs memories for years to come. Use these tips before your next trip:
Be Smart When Booking Your Tickets
Booking departing and return flights around nap or bedtime is a wise way to take advantage of built-in quiet time. It’s a little more work to pack up proper sleep essentials, but your kids will be more content to sit still for longer periods of time if they feel a little drowsy. Just make sure not to cut it too close – you want to be taking off before they usually fall asleep, not after, to avoid a pre-boarding meltdown.
Make Friends With Your Neighbors
This is especially useful for parents with infants and toddlers: It doesn’t hurt to give your seatmates a heads up before you take off. Let them know that you’re flying with your child and are a little nervous about it, so you can get the sympathy vote if there’s a crying fit five minutes into the flight. Even better? Give out little goody bags with ear plugs in them in case those around you need them. Chances are they’ll understand and might have been there once, too!
Break the Rules a Little
You might have a strict, limited television policy at home, but in the air you’ll want to change things up. Bring your eTools Organizer Pro and make sure the iPad is stocked with movies and games. If it helps keep your kids occupied longer, let them enjoy a little more screen time than usual. If you’re feeling guilty about it, make sure to toss in some educational games and apps, so they learn something from all that swiping and scrolling. And of course, don’t forget to pack a charger! Hell hath no fury like a child whose movie died halfway through.
Kids and adults are similar when hunger strikes – and no one’s nice. Whether your trip is a quick, two-hour jaunt or a long-haul to Europe, be prepared with favorite treats and snacks. If you have an overnight flight, make sure to bring packaged goods that won’t spoil. Set on serving up fresh veggie sticks? Ask the flight attendants to keep them cold until your little one’s stomach grumbles.
Do Your Research
Restrictions for flying with infants and children differ by airline; some even vary depending on where you’re flying. It’s important to read up on the airline’s site to make sure you’re all set before you get to the airport. Plus, you might find out that some kids fly for free or at a discounted rate, and that’s information you definitely want before you book!
Have a flight-saving trick you’ve used to fly with kids? Post yours in the comments below
Colleen Travers writes about health, fitness, travel and women’s lifestyle for various publications.
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