Traveling on an Airplane with Kids

Traveling with kids on an airplane doesn’t have to be a drama. Sure, airports, security, all that, can make for a stress inducing start to a trip, but accept that you’ll get through it and you’ll be fine. Here are some tips to make it easier to get to the finish line–usually a beach somewhere or Grandma’s house.

Consider packing one carry on just for snacks. Since each child can have one carry on as well as you, pick one piece of luggage to store snacks, wipes, plastic forks and spoons, toys.

1) Snacks– Good snacks for the plane:

fruit if allowed (apples, oranges, pears, peaches, bananas), granola bars, Kind bars, cheese (I brought a big chunk of cheddar and a plastic knife once and that got us through the first half of a trip to Hawaii.), Oatmeal cookies

Good but can be messy

Crackers, Cheeze Its, cookies, raisins and other kinds of dried fruit, seaweed snacks, graham crackers,  pretzels, nuts,

3) Toys–Toys without lots of small parts, books, cards, stuffed animals (only take a few-they take up space and are easily left behind), simple crafts that can be done on a tray table and don’t have a zillion pieces, or require scissors, better yet, unless you see something that works, skip the crafts. ­čÖé

4) Electronics–God bless electronics. DS and other handheld games, Ipad, mini DVD players, laptops. Remember to charge everything up ahead of time and download the movies you want to see. You might be able to get wifi on the plane but it usually doesn’t allow movie streaming. Invest in a juicebox type charger that will allow you to add additional charges to your gear. Don’t forget the headphones and if the upgrade to first class is doable, consider it on long flights as many of the seats now come with charging stations. Check first.

5) car seats. If your child is very small you’ll need to bring a car seat on the plane if you don’t want them sitting in your lap. Many car seats convert to airplane travel friendly. It’s not counted as luggage. Strollers can be checked at the gate and that’s handy as it will be waiting for you on the other side.

6) Safety harness. I had one on my daughter at customs coming back from Turks and Caicos to JFK and it was a God-send. Long lines and little kids don’t mix. I could let her wander around and she couldn’t go very far, but I had the comfort of knowing she could move around a little without disappearing in a crowd–where I’d have to lose my place in line to go get her. I say get over the leash thing. People may frown upon it but who cares. It’s your child’s safety. And if you don’t use it anywhere else, consider taking one if you have a potentially long customs line waiting for you. After awhile I found the only place I ever really used a leash/harness was on long lines.

7) Safety temporary tattoos are awesome. Put them on, write your phone number on the tattoo with the special pen and you’ve got one less worry


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