I used to fly 100k+ miles a year pre-kids. I was a super efficient packer. I remember taking 10 day business trips with just a single carry-on bag. And I knew the system which enabled me to consistently score flight upgrades, book the cheapest seats and quickly navigate security.
Flying with kids is so much harder, but it doesn’t have to be a terrible experience. I actually enjoyed my recent flight to Orlando with my kids! A few tips:
1) If at all possible, fly nonstop. If not, leave plenty of time to make your connection. If you miss a connection, you may be spending hours in the airport with a cranky child waiting for the next flight….and then hoping you get seats on an overbooked flight. I’ve done the airport sprint to make a tight connection, but I don’t think I could do it with a baby and a preschooler.
2) Save money where you can, but it’s worth it to pay for choice seats. Unless you book far in advance, it might be impossible to reserve seats next to your child without paying the additional fee for “choice seats.” I’d rather brown bag our meals and stay in a less expensive hotel than deal with the added stress of begging total strangers to switch seats with me after boarding.
3) The travel backpack. First, get cozy on your flight. My son loves his CuddleUppet– which is a combination blanket, puppet and travel pillow that retails for $19.99. This toy is perfect for encouraging a nap on the airplane, which gives me time to read my favorite trashy magazines (People & Us Weekly). While the iPad is a travel essential, you cannot use it during take-off and landing. We pack an airplane activity backpack with sticker books, maze books, card games and treats (granola bars, fruit snacks, Goldfish crackers and even some Hershey’s Kisses and M&Ms which are my son’s favorites). Pack all of this into a bag your child can carry himself. He’ll feel like a grown-up!
4) Get a good night’s sleep. I always travel with a pair of earplugs to zone out traffic noise or loud hotel guests. Since children generally won’t tolerate earplugs, it is worthwhile to invest in a small white noise machine.
What are your tips?
Join us June 18 at 9pm EDT for a #TMOM Monday Twitter party sponsored by Omni Hotels to talk about traveling with kids and teens – what works, what doesn’t, and what hotels can do to make the experience more enjoyable. Be sure to RSVP to be entered to win a 2-night stay at any Omni Hotel in the U.S.
HOW TO JOIN: Follow the hashtags #TMOM and #TMOMOMNI
PRIZES: RSVP and join the party on June 18 to be entered to win prizes from Omni Hotels, including a 2-night stay and Camp Broadway backpacks!