Traveling during the busiest time of the year is a challenge to begin with, but holiday travel with kids can be exceptionally trying. The biggest thing to remember when planning your trip is to plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Taking strollers through airport security and waiting on little ones to keep up can have a big effect on how long it takes you to get to your gate. Here are some tips to simplify holiday travel with kids this year:
- Leave Early – Give yourself a lot of extra time to get through security checkpoints, make extra potty stops, refill snacks and more. Airports can be a scary place for small children, and more so when you are frantically trying to catch a plane that’s leaving in a few minutes. Keep your stress level low and your kids will not feel overwhelmed.
- Pack Snacks – Kids are allowed to bring small snacks into the airport and onto the plane. Depending on the length of your flight you can expect to share at least one meal on the go, usually in the airport food court, but it doesn’t hurt to keep crackers or cereal available in sealable plastic bags just in case. This helps keep kids from getting cranky as they crash from all the excitement of the day.
- Check In From Home – Most airlines allow you to check in for your flight 24 hours in advance. If you can get everyone checked in and print your tickets ahead of time, you will have a much easier time skipping lines and getting straight through security.
- Track Your Progress – Kids today love mobile apps, but they can also be used to keep you up to date. The largest airlines have already released apps that allow you to see whether your plane is on schedule and where it is on its flight path. Show your kids and let them watch the plane’s flight to keep them entertained.
- Don’t Forget Headphones – Most kids have small electronic toys and tablets these days. These toys are great for keeping kids busy on the flight, but be sure to pack headphones so they can play quietly or watch movies without disrupting other passengers.
- Don’t Forget the Rental Car – While you’re in the planning stages of your trip, make sure not to underestimate the size of the car you need for your travel. Remember car seats, strollers, extra luggage and souvenirs will all need to be transported. Spring for the larger car or minivan when you are making your reservations to save time packing later.
Holiday travel with kids doesn’t have to be a nightmare. The goal is to be organized well in advance and have a plan. The more prepared you are before you arrive at the airport, the easier it will be to get to your gate. Once there, many airports have built small indoor play areas for children so you can relax until the plane arrives. Just make sure your rental car reservation is set, and your small electronics are charged up for the flight.
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