I’ve never been a fan of (the idea of) travelling long distances with my kids. Car trips are one thing, but air travel… well, that’s a whole other ball game!
I think part of my apprehension comes from the fact that hubby isn’t the best traveller. There’s anxiety and stress around deadlines. Have we left early enough? What if there’s traffic on the way to the airport? What if the plane is delayed and we miss our connection? The list goes on… So, the mere thought of travelling by plane with 2 kids under the age of 5 really stresses me out!
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. A good friend of mine flies with her two kids (under 4 years of age!!) all the time. She is my go-to resource for all questions air-travel-related. Over the years, I’ve picked up a few tips from her for those (rare) occasions when we fly.
- Always put a change of clothes and a few small packable activities, like crayons and paper, small travel games, storybook, etc. in your carry-on.
- Since kids get cranky when they are hungry or thirsty, make sure you bring lots of healthy, travel-friendly snacks, like applesauce cups (bring a spoon!), raisins and crackers. Don’t forget to bring a sippy cup… but you’ll probably want to empty it prior to entering security (liquids restrictions) and fill it up with bottled water once you’re settled and awaiting your flight.
- Buy one new toy or activity prior to your trip. Pack it away as a surprise for the plane ride. It’s your secret weapon when you need to keep your child distracted in a pinch.
- Hand-held devices like iPods and other portable movie players are a sanity-saver - I can speak from personal experience on this one!! If your budget allows, buy one! If you don’t want to spend full price, Craigslist, Kijiji or eBay Classifieds have used ones for good prices, so check often. Rebember to grab a set of headphones so your child won’t bother those around him/her with the soundtrack to their favourite movie!
- Car seats: every country (heck, state and province!) has different regulations around car seats. My personal opinion is that you can never be too safe, so I always ensure my kids have the highest level of protection while in the car, even if it’s not required by the jurisdiction we’re visiting. To make life a bit easier, there are companies who rent car seats at your destination. Many car rental agencies even have car seat rental as an option, so you know your child will be safe all stages of your journey.
- Label everything. I can't stress this enough!! Your toddler will drop his sippy cup while in transit to your connecting flight, and your kindergartner will somehow manage to leave her iPod on the plane. That's just the way it is! Make sure to get a Found-it™ code on your labels, so you have a better chance of any lost items being returned to you.
All of us at Oliver's Labels wish you safe, fun travels this holiday season! Hopefully, these tips will help you while you brave the holiday rush!!