With vaccine rollouts in progress and lockdown rules easing, it’s inevitable that more families are starting to plan for vacations. And after all the commotion from last year, it’s about time, too.
But could this be an issue if you do decide to travel as a family? Well, a Yahoo Travel survey reveals that 20% of parents find traveling with children difficult – not to mention during a pandemic. What’s even more surprising is that approximately 10% wish they could sit away from their children while in transit. So, if you’re a parent with lots of children, traveling can become extremely stressful.
But before you cancel your vacation plans, here are some tips to help make air travel easier for you and your kids:
1. Talk to your kids beforehand
Air travel is both exciting and daunting for adults, so imagine how it is for kids. Walk them through the process and what to expect. If you’re passing through customs or waiting in long lines, explain why this is important, so they know what’s happening. Kids are curious beings, so this could be your chance to teach them a little something about travel etiquette, aviation, and other cultures.
For instance, if you’re entering a foreign country, prime them on what the highlights of the trip are going to be before leaving. Make sure to frame everything in a positive manner, so they look forward to their holiday. Something you’ll really want to discuss with them is what happens when cabin pressure changes. Assure them that their ears will be fine, and it’s all going to be worth it when you land.
2. Pack smart
To streamline the packing process, list everything you need ahead of time. Then segregate must-haves and non-essentials. Must-haves will likely end up in one of your carry-ons. In this bag, you should have sanitizer, wipes, snacks, important medications, documentation, chargers, and cellphones.
Non-essentials (like swimsuits, slippers, etc.) are better off in your check-in luggage. To maximize the weight limit, use organizers. Travel and Leisure’s feature on packing cubes highlights that there are various options for organizers that can help you save space and even pre-plan kids’ outfits. The AmazonBasics Packing Cube set has a mesh front, making it easy for you to see and organize your kids’ belongings. You don’t have to open each one to identify which things belong to whom, plus most of the options fit into standard size suitcases. If you have older children, ask them to help pack so that it teaches them accountability and decision-making skills.
3. Bring the right travel gear
The last thing you want is to be running to your boarding gate, while trying to organize your children. Bringing the right gear will keep you and your kids stay safe, more mobile, and comfortable throughout.
If you have connecting flights or a layover, an agile, durable pushchair will save you a lot of grief. Finding a pushchair model that is able to seat two of your children would be the preferred option. iCandy’s selection of double pushchairs shows how one child can be seated in front of the other. The pushchairs are also very agile, which is perfect as you make your way through busy terminals and narrow passages. Because the TSA includes child carriers or pushchairs in X-ray screenings, the lightweight and foldable chassis also makes well-designed strollers easy to maneuver.
In addition, during the flight it’s also best to have a parent-facing baby carrier for younger children. This comforts them and keeps your hands free so you can deal with your other children. Just make sure that the carrier is ergonomic and can be easily slipped on and off in a cramped space. A cloth baby sling is a good option.
4. Surprise them with in-flight goodies
During the actual flight, it won’t be long before you kids become restless. Save yourself — and the other passengers — the frustration by preparing in-flight goodies. VeryWellFamily’s list of in-flight kids’ activities recommends bringing along magnetic games and tablets to keep them occupied. They will keep them engaged without making too much noise or mess. Just remember that all electronic devices still need to be screened by security beforehand. Aside from games and gadgets, you can also keep them placated with snacks. To avoid the snacks from getting confiscated at check-in, make sure they are solid snacks and not liquids which needs to be disposed of before going through to the boarding gates.
After such a long 2020, you and your loved ones deserve a break. With a few simple tricks, you can kick off your next family vacation on a high note. For more related content check Part Time Tourist’s section on traveling with a baby.
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