tips for traveling with children

Traveling with children may never be ideal, but two parents or adults can count on each other for support in tight quarters during a flight. The best advice? Be prepared, be prepared, be prepared!

general travel

• Wear comfortable, stretchy clothes & bring a change of clothes for children as well as adults.

• Invest in a carryon bag or backpack with lots of compartments and use stick on labels so you’ll know where everything is.

• Emergency supplies should include: Kleenex, paper towels, kitchen towels, wipes, quart/gallon size zip lock bags (to contain…….whatever)

• Grapes, small crackers, small cheese slices, cheerios & cereal packed in snack bags or small plastic containers are healthy, easy snacks.

• Bring toys & treats to dole out over the duration of the trip. Also try coloring apps & games on phones & tablets.

• Charge phones & all gadgets ahead of time & pack chargers. Use “find my stuff apps” to keep track of easily lost items – phones, tablets & cameras or attach a “Tile” ($20 on line) to locate lost items.

• Be extra alert while traveling as the combination of kids & luggage can be very distracting. Be aware of other travelers, & when traveling with more than one child, frequent head counts are a must.

• Lolli-pops may help prevent epic meltdowns; (regardless of how you feel about sweets) an occasional treat can save you from the ultimate embarrassment of a screaming child.

airline travel

• Babies don’t require a separate seat on a plane if they are under 2 years old, but well traveled parents suggest that you buy a seat for your infant for long flights.

• Some airlines supply bassinets, call ahead to make arrangements & to find out airline policies & special services. You can also find your seat assignments on line.

• Car seat carriers fit nicely in an empty seat & are the safest way for an infant to travel on a plane. A baby car seat is best placed next to a window so it does not impede other passengers from getting around seats in an emergency.

• If you can afford to pay for extra leg room, it makes it a lot easier for all concerned.

• Pack enough diapers, snacks, & formula – and then some !

• You never know when a flight might be delayed or a connecting flight missed.

• Get to the airport at least 2 hours before your flight and allow at least 30 minutes to get through security.

• Go right to your gate & get your gate check tickets for stroller or car seats; if you’re renting a car at your destination you can rent a car seat & avoid the hassle of bringing one from home.

• Let the kids burn off some of that excess energy in the lobby area or browse the airport gift shops.

• Take advantage of family boarding, but be aware this means extra time confined to your seats.

• Feed baby at take off & landing to help ease the pressure on baby’s ears.

• Keep in mind the flight WILL end at some point; you may be able to distract toddlers with stories about who or what you will see when you reach your destination.

• Don’t forget to print boarding passes & put them in your carryon bag. Program phone numbers, hotel, Grandma’s, or neighbor in your phone in advance.

• Several child locator devices are available for little wanderers consisting of an ankle band that works with a phone app.

• You can also try something as simple as writing your phone number on the child’s arm.

car travel

• Before embarking on your trip make sure you vehicle is in tip top shape. Check tires, oil, all fluids & windshield washers. • Some emergency supplies you may want to consider are: maps, battery jumper cables, a tow rope, emergency flares, blankets, energy bars, a spare tire & jack, rags, simple tools, a flashlight, kitty litter and a small shovel. • Babies and Toddlers are used to sitting in their car seats for short drives, but during a long trip they may get restless or feel too confined. • If an adult or parent can sit in the back seat, it’s a lot easier to attend to the child’s needs, or distract them with simple toys. • If the child is restless & really tired of being confined, it’s best to go to a rest stop for a break. A diaper change, food, and some freedom will put them in a much better frame of mind. • Never take a child out of their car seat to feed in a moving vehicle; accidents can happen in a split second. • Ask your doctor about motion sickness meds before giving them to your child.