Traveling with kids can turn out to be a lot of fun if effort is made to plan ahead. It’s not enough to pack them toys and games hoping that they stay calm… because let’s be honest, that doesn’t always work. Going on a trip with younger children requires more than that. There are times when you will feel like all the entertainment ideas you have are not working anymore because kids are always looking for something more to do.
As you read further, I have put together a list of tips that will help you get everything right… well, at least almost. On the list, you will find exactly what you need to do before the trip, when at the airport, through the security check point and what you can carry on the plane.
Now, flying with kids should be something fun like I have said before, but planning is key if you want to have a smoother traveling experience.
Let’s get started;
#1. Plan way in advance
Don’t leave things until the last moment. Having tickets bought and accommodation booked is not enough especially when you are traveling with kids. With children, there is always small things that can be forgotten easily and that’s why you need to get yourself organized way before time.
Start putting together anything and everything you can remember. Make a list of everything you need so that you don’t forget anything. You might think there’s still time to get everything sorted, and before you know it, you’ve forgotten something important.
#2. Be intentional
There’s nothing better than doing things on purpose. Go on this trip with one intention only – and that is to enjoy every moment. This way, you create a peaceful environment for yourself and those around you. Even when you are packing and organizing things to carry with you, be at peace.
Kids are able to pick up on anything that is not right. Get on that plane with a happy and peaceful self.
#3. Prepare entertaining and educational games for kids
Take time to download games that you know they’ll probably like. This reduces the amount of toys that they have to carry considering the luggage limit on all airlines. And… it saves you money as you won’t need to get them new toys just for the trip.
In addition, let the kids carry journals (preferably travel journals). Teach them to take note of everything that happens each day while traveling. If they are older and able to write, get them cute note books with some pens, pencils and crayons.
Play cards are also a good way of entertaining kids. You will find a lot of educational game cards that will teach them anything from Maths to reading. Take this opportunity to let them read their favorite books.
To keep the kids really entertained wherever you go, allow them to take pictures. There are cameras on the market out there that are kid- friendly and won’t cost much. They will feel on top of the world.
#4. Keep kids essentials handy
Make sure that you have your wet wipes, maybe a small towel and anything that can come handy when away from the comfort of your home. Kids will always mess up whether you like it or not. So, be prepared for it.
If you will be in transit somewhere for some hours, pack everything you need to keep them busy and full. Carry their favorite snacks (as long as it’s not liquid). For liquids, you can top up once you have passed through the security check point.
#5. That car seat can remain for now
I know that you would want to carry everything needed for your young ones but just resist that urge… at least for now. Carrying bulky items such as a car seat can be stressful. Find ways you can get a used one once you arrive there. That way you won’t be nearly out of breath while trying to juggle traveling with a little one at the same time.
Aim to travel light especially if you are flying with kids alone. Have fewer things on you so you can give yourself free hands to manage the kids.
Don’t be overweight as well because this will create a lot of unnecessary issues while you travel. There’s nothing worse than trying to carry everything at once while your child is throwing a tantrum.
#6. Keep the tickets in check
Have a look at all your bookings so that you don’t get last minute surprises. Things like departure times and transit duration hours which in some cases can change only 24 hrs before. Check up with your airline to make sure that everything is according to schedule. Read email alerts from the airline you are traveling with.
Do your online check in as soon as you receive the email to do so. It’s important to have a hassle and stress free trip.
#7. Motion sickness & others – kids get sick
Once you are on the way or at the airport, there is no guarantee that you will find a pharmacy easily. Therefore, it’s only wise to pack some medicine in a small make up like bag. You would want to have everything needed for the kids needs.
They can get sick from change of whether or fatigue due to long hours of traveling. Take common medicines such as for fever, stomach upset or any other necessary drugs.
The common problems most kids have when flying is motion sickness. If your child has experienced this problem before, carry something to control it. There is medicine you can get over the counter which your child can take before departing.
When packing medicine, remember not to take liquids. Opt for pills instead if you can.
#8. Flying with kids: Tips on food
Now, if you have traveled even once – you will know that liquids are not allowed before the security check-in point. Kids have a tendency of thinking that mommy or daddy can just pop out food wherever and whenever they are hungry. They are right; you should pack some snacks for them.
It’s better to have different options when the “mommy I’m hungry” call comes. The best way to do this is by knowing what your kids like. Don’t get stuck when they won’t eat the food in the plane because they don’t like it. Always have enough snacks with you.
#9: What to do at the airport and through the security check point:
- If your kids are older, explain to them the importance of listening to you.
- At home, let the kids wear shoes that can easily be removed and be put back on – preferably the ones without shoe laces. Sometimes, you may be asked to remove your shoes while passing through the security check point.
- Avoid carrying wrapped up items because you will be asked to unwrap everything.
- It’s important to have a backpack for each child. It works better this way than having everything in one big carry on bag. Toddlers like to carry their own backpack.
- Parents with kids are given the privilege of board the plane first. Take advantage of that. Once you are inside, put the hand luggage where you can easily access it in case you need something quickly.
#10. At the destination
Once you arrive at your destination, be a bit more adventurous especially to entertain the kids. It’s no doubt that kids love to be entertained – that can be anywhere and everywhere. Using public transport for example is a great way of distracting them from boredom.
Kids find even the most ridiculous things intriguing, so trust me when I say this, take them on adventures. It’s good for any child to see the world through a different lens. And, when they’re tired at a certain point, a nap will do.
#11. Try to eat healthily while away from home
I know it’s not easy while on vacation to eat well, but it can be done with a bit of planning. For example, you can find a local grocery or food store and stock up on food. You might notice that when you feed your child with a lot of junk food (especially sweets) they tend to be super hyper and almost uncontrollable. So, having some sort of balance certainly wouldn’t hurt.
Don’t be scared to eat local food because locals know better. Try different eating places and see which ones you like. It’s the best way to make the vacation more memorable.
So, here are some examples of what you can take:
- Dry or solid snacks. It should be something they will be happy to eat. For example,
- Homemade granola bars,
- Fruits (preferably dried),
- Nuts & seeds if they like
- An empty drinking bottle
- Carry enough baby food
For wet snacks such as yoghurt, cheese spread, jam and others – check out the TSA guidelines HERE.
For convenience and comfort, throw everything in a kids flight bag.
- A stuffed animal/ toy to cuddle for company when sleeping
- Pack some crayons, and for the older ones, a pen and note book
- Take time to download their favorite movies and games and put them in a folder. This comes in handy when there’s no internet access
- Remember a small warm blanket and a pair of socks
- Pack only toys that are flight-friendly. There’s nothing worse than disturbing other passengers with noisy toys.
Everything works out better whenever you plan well in advance (especially while traveling with children). I’ve notice that these 11 tips always ensure a smoother traveling experience because the child is taken care of and distracted for most of the travel time. Remember, read up on your airline’s travel guidelines with children and always have a plan B ready for any situation.
And… you’re all set. Traveling with kids is and should be fun. Come back and share how your trip went!