BY NICOLE DEFOREST
Travelling with young kids through an airport can sound like a nightmare. But it’s all about being prepared! These tips should make for an easier and more enjoyable travel experience to start your family vacation off right.
Do your homework: You’ll want to know the weight restrictions of your checked luggage and carry-on bags in advance so you won’t encounter any problems at the airport. You’ll have to pay fees, or worse, unload and re-arrange your luggage which could be a disaster with small kids.
Most airlines offer you the feature to check in online and print off boarding passes from home to save you time and long line-ups at the airport. Doing these things in advance will save you hassles and wait times at the airport, where it’s crowded and rushed. Also, note that many flights don’t offer onboard meal services for free anymore so consult your travel agent to find out. Either way, make sure to pack snacks you know your kids will like, especially if you encounter an unexpected delay making your wait to leave that much longer. Doing some research in advance can ensure you’re prepared and following guidelines for your airline.
Liquids over 100ml are a no-no when traveling through customs. However, you can bring enough formula or milk in a bottle or sippy cup for the duration of the flight. Just keep in mind custom officers will most likely test the liquid and may even have you taste it.
Pack the important things: Flying can be uncomfortable for adults – just think of how uncomfortable it can be for children! Gravel works well for motion sickness and to help with extended nap times on board, but consult your doctor to make sure it’s right for your child. To help with popping of ears during take-off and landing, give the kids gummies or a sucker to ease the pain.
Bringing a stroller is a must!! Yes, it’s a pain to pack but whether your child is one year old or seven, airports, resorts and amusement parks are huge when you’re a little one taking tiny steps – and I’m sure you don’t want to carry them around when it’s time for a nap! A bonus with flights is you get to take the stroller up until you board the plane and it’s ready for you when you get off the plane too.
Remember to pack a bag full of games and snacks. Kids get bored easily so bringing small toys, games, colouring books or tablets will make the time fly.
Tell your kids what to expect: Before your flight, explain to your children what to expect if they are old enough. This way, they won’t be surprised by the hectic process and they make even be able to tell you what sort of entertainment they want to bring with them for the flight.
Security can be a scary experience for young children, so if they are old enough to understand, give them a brief rundown to avoid freak outs when their favourite toy or blankie gets separated from them to go through the scan.
All airlines offer pre-boarding for travelling with young ones. Take advantage of this to get your bags stored before the bins fill up and get the kids settled in their seats and happy before everyone else starts boarding.