I love to travel. I like the experience it brings and flying on a plane. Traveling for work is fun. I like the idea of being able to move 2,000 miles in only a few hours.
Last Summer I flew from London, UK to Toronto, Canada. I flew alone. It was great. I watched a movie, read a book and took a nap and then just like that I landed on the other side of the ocean.
I collected my bags and was on my way. Nice and easy!
Then 5 days later I had another kind of experience. My wife and I took a trip out to the Pacific Northwest with our children (our kids were 2 years and 5 months old at the time).
Did you know the smaller the child the bigger their bag is? (Tweet this!)
For those of you who are used to flying solo, here are 6 things to keep in mind next time you take your kids with you.
1. Confirm, Confirm, Confirm
When they originally booked our seats, our 2 year old was sitting by herself. We had to fix that.
When confirming your seats, ask for a whole row for your family. When we flew we had 3 seats in a row. We put our 2 year old closest to the window. That way she didn’t have easy access to run up and down the aisle. By keeping the little ones closest to the window you let them have their own little space to play in.
2. Give More Time
When you travel solo you can show up an hour before a flight, check in, move through security and get to your gate no problem. With a family, moving through the airport takes more time.
I always think it’s unnecessary when they say show up 3 hours early for an international flight. Well, when you are traveling with your family, take that extra time.
3. Toys and Snacks are your friends!
Distraction can save the day! When you’re on your flight and the kids get a bit cranky, make sure you have a few snacks and toy close at hand! A trip to the dollar store beforehand to get some new items will be sure to buy you some peace.
Be ready for the quick draw!
This tip is courtesy of my beautiful wife.
4. Pack Light
We landed in Minneapolis on our layover. We literally had to run across the terminal to get to our flight. We barely made it.
As we were running, my daughter threw her little back-pack on the ground. She had a melt down every time we tried to pick it up.
There was no time for negotiations. I picked her up and kept running.
Pack light because you never know when you will need an extra hand to carry your child.
5. Prepare for Challenges
It’s always easier to face a challenge if you know it’s coming.
It won’t be the end of the world, you will make it and you might even enjoy yourself!
Just start off with the proper expectations.
6. Enjoy What You Can
Traveling with your family isn’t like traveling alone for a business trip. With that said it doesn’t have to be torturous experience, either.
Your traveling adventure will be a family memory. Let the journey be as much a part of the story. Let your time spent together draw you closer with your family.
If you have travelled with your small children, what advice would you give?