10 Dos and Don’ts for Holiday Travel with Kids
Airplane travel during the height of the holiday season can be tough enough, but when you’re traveling with young children it can make the whole trip seem not worth the trouble. Here are a few tips that will make flying with family a lot less frustrating and more fun for everyone.
- Do plan in advance. Make lists of what you’ll need for each family member and check it off as you pack. The last thing you need is the added anxiety of forgetting some essential item or having to run out at the last minute to buy more diapers.
- Don’t assume that you’ll be able to buy whatever you need at the airport. Have a supply of baby wipes, diapers, and bottles or juice boxes in your carry-on before you leave home. Reasonable quantities of formula, baby food, breast milk, and juice are not subject to the TSA’s 3.4 ounce carry-on limitation and do not have to be in a quart-size zip-top bag.
- Do make sure you have enough supplies and medicine in your carry-on to get you and your child through a day or two of lost luggage.
- Do bring toys to keep your child occupied during the flight. But don’t bring things a baby or toddler can bang on the tray table or seat back to annoy your fellow passengers. And don’t bring toys with too many tiny pieces that can get scattered and lost or toys that make al lot of noises or beeps. Soft toys or a coloring book and crayons are good options.
- Don’t try to save money by booking a flight that requires you to make a connection. Changing planes with kids can be a hassle, and particularly during the holiday season there are bound to be delays and cancellations that could cause you to miss your connection. It’s true that even a direct flight can be delayed or cancelled, but at least you’ll be minimizing your risk of getting stuck in an airport with a tired toddler. And you’ll also maximize that chance of you and your luggage winding up in the same place at the same time.
- Do book a morning flight if possible. Any delay or cancellation during the day can cause a domino effect, and the earlier your flight the less likely it is to be caught up in a cascade of cancellations.
- Don’t pre-board if your child needs a few more minutes to burn off some energy. The less time your child has to sit in his seat the less likely he’ll be to get bored and start fussing. Of course, the exception is if you need extra help or time organizing your bags/stroller, then by all means pre-board and settle in.
- Do take your child to the bathroom in the airport before you board the plane. And if you have a baby in diapers change him before you get on the plane. The fewer diaper changes you have to make in-flight the better off you’ll be.
- Don’t let your child run up and down the aisle while in-flight. Not only is that disturbing to your fellow passengers it’s also dangerous. If you hit sudden turbulence the child can get hurt, and flight attendants need to be able to get around without having to worry about tripping over a child.
- Do be aware of the seat belt sign at all times, and don’t get up to soothe a screaming child if the sign is on. Better to let a child cry than wind up with both of you falling or banging your head on the ceiling if the plane suddenly “drops” due to clear air turbulence.