Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tips for Airplane Travel with Children

Tips for Airplane Travel with Children

Here are tips for traveling on airplanes with children based on my experience!
  •  I don't suggest getting on the plane first before everyone else.  You may take a little longer to get organized, but do you really want your kids to have to sit still for even longer then they already have to?  I have seen people traveling alone take longer to get situated then I do with my three kids!  Wait until the last minute to get on the plane!  Let them run and take that last potty break!
  • Bring on an empty sippy cup. They will give you a drink in flight so bring an empty cup and just have the flight attendant pour your child's drink directly in his or her cup.  You won't have to worry about spills!  If you need it before take off just ask a flight attendant right away.
  • Bring on suckers!  The air pressure changes in take off and landing can hurt little ears.  It helps to drink, suck on a bottle or pacifier, or suck on a sucker.  If your child's ears already hurt they won't want to stop crying to drink some juice, but they will stop for candy!
  • Bring on special treats.  Keep these treats hidden and only bring them out one at a time when they are needed.  If everyone is content then leave them that way!
  • Bring on new exciting toys!  I like to have 3 new things that I can pull out of the bag for the kids.  Toys, coloring books, crosswords, a story book, magnets, finger puppets, and stickers always go over well.
  • Bring favorite snacks!
  • Pack a backpack or diaper bag like you are going on a day outing.  Be sure it can fit under the seat in front of you.  It is too difficult to bring on a bag you have to put in the overhead.  It is not easy to grab if you need something in a hurry.  I prefer to have a bag that zips shut to keep everything in.  Have wipes, Kleenex, your snacks, treats, and a change of clothes for each child in the bag (I recommend sealing the clothes up in the space saver bags).  I wouldn't bring on the hand sanitizer or lotions unless they attach to the outside of your bag so you don't have to worry about removing items when you go through the check points.
  • Before your trip let your child know exactly what is going to happen and what is expected of them.  They will have to sit in their seat the entire time with their belt buckled!  If they think they can run around and then you have a bumpy ride where they can't, things can get tense.
  • Some people will tell you to go during nap time.  I am not a fan of this.  My kids would tend to be over tired and have a hard time settling down in a strange place.  That doesn't make for the best traveler.
  • Another thing I am not a fan of is giving your child something like Benadryl before the flight.  The antihistamine will make your child tired, but it could also make them hyper or extremely crabby!  I have been on many flights where the parent has given their child something to make them sleep and then the child is so tired they can't settle themselves down!  The parent is confined to their seat when the child would prefer to have them walk to soothe them!  Not fun for anyone!!  If you think you want to try this method I would suggest doing a trial run before your trip to see how it would go. 


Specifically for Infants
  • Children under 2 can travel on your lap for no cost, but you do have to notify the airline.
  • If your flight isn't packed you can ask at the counter if there is an extra seat near you and the attendants may move things around so you can put your child in his/her car seat in a separate seat.
  • If you are nursing, plan to nurse on take off and landing - it will help the baby's ears.  You may also want to get a window seat which makes it a little easier to cover up.
  • You can ask the flight attendant to fill your bottle with water when you get on the plane
  • If the baby is old enough for finger foods bring a favorite along
  • Bring a favorite book
  • Bring 2 brand new toys
  • Bring some favorite toys and comfort items like a blanket

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