Tips For Traveling With Children

December 15, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Traveling by air with children can be a real challenge. It used to be that most airlines took plenty of measures to cater to traveling families, with guaranteed early boarding, plenty of kid-friendly meal options, and seats close together for Mom, Dad, and the kids. But airlines are in a tight spot now, with extra-crowded flights and slashed amenities. So when flying with children today, it’s important to plan earlier and be more prepared than ever.

Consider the following when traveling with children:

  • Ask yourself plenty of questions.
    • “What do we need to carry on, and what do we need to pack away into checked luggage?” Think what your child might want or need while the plane is in the air, and carry that on. Things you won’t need until you arrive at your destination can be stowed away with the checked luggage.
    • “How will the children be entertained and at ease throughout the duration of the flight?” Sometimes airlines will offer to play television shows or movies during a flight, but always be prepared to keep your children occupied in case no such entertainment is on your flight. Bring along quiet toys, books, and so forth that will keep your child happy but won’t draw the ire of other passengers.
    • “Should the child bring his or her own luggage, or should the parents take care of it all?” This really comes down to the age of the children and the personal preference of the family. Figure out what will keep the trip most streamlined and stress-free for your family, and go with that option.
  • Check into early boarding for families with children. While the early boarding may cost a bit extra, this could save you a lot of hassle if you’re not feeling rushed at the gate.
  • Inquire about getting seated together. This may also cost extra, but it could make both you and your children much, much more comfortable if you’re traveling close together.
  • Ask about kid-friendly meals, but be prepared for them to be unavailable. Though options may be limited, some airlines still carry kid-friendly meals, like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It’s best, though, not to take the risk because the meals may be sold out or otherwise unavailable. So bring along plenty of snacks — and even meals, for longer flights — to keep your children from getting hungry and grumpy.
  • Bring what you’ll need, because the flight may very well not have it. This goes for food, blankets, pillows, and just about any other need you can think of. Many flights will have plenty of amenities available for free or for purchase, but being prepared is always the best way to keep from being unexpectedly disappointed and to keep stress at bay.

If you prepare in advance, flying with your children doesn’t have to be a hassle. Just ask the right questions beforehand, and plan accordingly.

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Scott Applebee

is the VP of Marketing for Travelpro International, creators of the original Rollaboard luggage, carry-on luggage, and suitcases. Scott received his undergraduate degree from Western Michigan University, a BA in Business Administration from Aquinas College, and his MBA from Western Michigan's Haworth College of Business.

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