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.
- 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.
- Reserve prime seats: This will likely cost you an extra fee, but for a long flight, especially if its 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 wont 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 doesnt 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.