Summer travel season is upon us!
In August, we’re taking a LONG flight with our 5 and 7-year olds to Florida. I grew up there so we’ve flown cross-country with the kids on several occasions. Air travel with littles is not the most fun experience in the world, but we’ve certainly developed a few tips and tricks for making the experience better. Plus, we have learned from our rookie mistakes.
Also, as the kids have gotten older it really has gotten easier. There is hope parents! So I’m really looking forward to an even better travel experience this summer. We’re headed to celebrate my mom’s 70th birthday, and will be taking a side trip to Orlando to take the kids to Disney and Universal for the first time ever. I grew up going to Disney but it has been a LONG time since I’ve been to any of those big amusement parks. so I’ll be doing lots of research on tips and tricks for that as well. I’ll be sure to share! In the mean time, here are some really great air travel tips.
Tip 1: Try NEW!
For all of the tips below try things your kids have never seen before. And by new, I don’t mean it has to be expensive. I’m talking a new coloring book or toy from the the dollar store. A new snack. We all know how the newness of things can capture their attention. Try to take advantage of that truth and make your trip a bit easier on you.
Tip 2: Snacks.
Bring lots of snacks, but … Rookie Mistake Alert! Make sure they’re not full of sugar. Hyper kids on an airplane, not so good. And if your child is old enough, bring something they can chew or suck on in case of ear pain from the air pressure. For smaller children a teething toy might do the trick.
Drinks can be more difficult since you can’t bring your own liquids through airports, except breast milk or formula of course (and these need to be declared at security.) But definitely purchase some extra water at the airport for a long flight.
Tip 3: Technology.
We are a tech-loving family but even if you don’t normally do a lot of screen time, a long plane ride is a great time to forgo that rule. I know I’ll be charging and loading up the iPad with their favorite games and movie, and a few new ones too.
Headphones are a must, but there are a couple tips to keep in mind.
Rookie Mistake Alert! If you have more than one kid, be sure to bring a headphone splitter. I’ve definitely had fights over watching the same movie before, but we will not forget it this time! Also for headphones, test them out with your kids in advance. Are they the right size? Do ear budy style hurt their ears? Over the ear or on the ear headphones are a great choice. We have these awesome Kidz Gear Wired Headphones For Kids. The perfect size for little heads, they’re a great price and they come in a ton of fun colors.
Bringing extra travel battery chargers are a smart move too.
Tip 4: Books & Toys.
Tip 5: Trip as Game.
Turning the travel experience itself into a game can be especially good for older children. We recently took a road trip and I created this printable scavenger hunt for road trips. But you can also create something similar for air travel. My kids are really into geography, so highlighting our route via airplane and tracking our progress is entertaining.
Tip 6: Safety.
If you plan to use a car seat on the plane (which I’ve found helps keep the little one comfortable and safe of course) the Go-Go Babyz Kidz Travelmate is actually awesome for rolling the car seat around the airport even with the child in it like a stroller. I traveled alone once when my son was 2 years old and my daughter was 3 months and this device was really awesome. Also an ERGObaby Baby Carrier or similar carrier can be absolutely indispensable for traveling with babies. I could not have lived without mine on many vacation.
In addition, here are 10 Tips for Teaching Kids Travel Safety from Carpe Travel.
Tip 7: Carry On Clothes.
Tip 8: Packing.
For airline travel, I tend to try and pack everyone into one large bag to save on checked baggage costs. My best tip is to ROLL all of the clothes to maximize space. You’d be surprised how much extra room you’ll gain, and with all of those kiddo extras, you’ll need the space!
So what do you think? Do you have other tips or rookie mistakes to add?