Family air travel tips

Catch your flight without the stress.
Family air travel tips

For the average coach passenger, taking a flight means being herded through airport security while shoeless, racing onto the plane to secure overhead compartment space, passive-aggressively struggling with another passenger for the shared armrest, eating substances that resemble food, and feeling exhausted and irritable upon arrival.

These nuisances are compounded when traveling with children , but following a few simple guidelines can help families to significantly minimize the frustrations of modern air travel.

Summer travel tips

  • Pack light : Carrying excess luggage is a drag (literally). With children in tow, heavy luggage is an even bigger burden, making the experience at both your departure and arrival airports that much more stressful. You never need as much as you think you do. For instance, many hotels come equipped with hairdryers and toiletries.
If yours doesn’t, popping into a local grocery store for some essentials is a good way to get off the beaten tourist path. Another way to have a more homey experience on your travels is to stay at a furnished apartment instead of a hotel. It’s an affordable option that usually includes a washer/dryer, which means you can pack fewer clothes.

  • Reserve prime seats: This will likely cost you an extra fee, but for a long flight, especially if it’s a red-eye, the price is totally worth it . Reserve seats for your family in an emergency exit row. More leg room makes you more comfortable and makes your children feel less restless. Everybody wins.

  • Pack snacks: Meals on flights these days are often less than appetizing. Depending on the flight, they may not even be included in the price of your ticket. It never hurts to pack a few lightweight, healthy snacks for the kids. Remember that liquids and certain foods won’t make it past security, but you can purchase water bottles, fruits, and sandwiches once at the gate.

  • Keep kids entertained: Ideally, your children will sleep soundly on any flight and feel rested when they land. In case that scenario doesn’t play out, make sure that they have some quiet way to keep entertained. Airlines tend to offer limited movie options for kids, if any, so packing a device with their favorite films is a smart move.
In the end, no amount of careful pre-planning can ensure smooth sailing (or rather flying), but a little forethought and common sense can certainly reduce your stress level throughout the process. Whatever happens, remember to take a breath once you arrive and leave the stress of air travel behind you. After all, you’re on vacation.