I am a wanderer. One of my goals when I had children was to pass the love of travel and exploration to them. Little did I realize when I made that goal, traveling on an airplane with a child is not always easy. Three years later I’ve tested ways to make travel easier. Hopefully, these tips will help you get to where you are going.
1. Location, Location, Location!
Location! I am not talking about your destination. More importantly, your airport’s distance from home and destination. In my younger days, I would fly into the most obscure airport needed if it was cheaper. Now, if I have the means, I try to fly in and out of the closest airports. After airport excitement and not being able to run around on the airplane, it is best for everyone’s patience to keep the time the littles are strapped down to a minimum.
2. Wagon Travel, not just for the Oregon Trail.
One of the best purchases we made, ever, was our collapsible wagon. It goes everywhere, it collapses smaller than a stroller and the kids are way more excited to ride in it. The wagon also has more space which is always good to have when juggling children, carry-ons, sandwiches, your sanity, etc.
3. Car Seats? But we are on a plane.
This next gem is a new discovery for us. Car rental places do offer car seat rentals but I like to bring our own. Airlines usually check car seats for free and you will have the peace of mind that the car seats are safe. Lugging them around the airport, to and from the counter miserable until we found car seat travel bags…with backpack straps! This incredible invention allows freeing up the hands, too. We used the ZOHXO Car Seat Travel Bag.
4. Entertain me, now!!
Let’s be honest, most adults do not like air travel. It isn’t fun. You will probably get stuck next to some family with small kids… oh wait, that’s us! Do not underestimate entertainment. Keep their hands and minds busy! A tablet with movies, kid-sized headphones, window clings, coloring books, play-doh, whatever may keep them busy. Usually, I bring a carry on just for them, their toys, extra clothes and SNACKS.
5. SNACK, SNACK, SNACK, SNACK!
Did I mention SNACKS? The pressure from flying will cause some uncomfortable sensations in your children’s ears. Giving them snacks and drinks will force them to swallow, which relaxes the Eustachian tube. That will allow the air pressure to equalize. Basically, it will keep their ears from hurting, which is a win for them, you, and the people sitting around you. Most airports allow liquids to go through security for children, so water bottles, pouches, etc., are a go! Checking the airport website or calling the airports TSA for this information in advance will make your trip easier.
A few more “honorable mention” tips:
-Find a children’s play area in the airport can help get some of the energy out before boarding.
-Enrolling in TSA Precheck.
-Bring hand sanitizer.
-Extra outfits for everyone because messes and lost bags happen.
-Love of adventure because it starts as soon as you walk out of the door!
(I was not paid to endorse any of the items mentioned. All of these items are endorsed because we like them. The picture of the ZOHZO Car Seat Bag is from the manufacture’s website.)