July 24, 2019

Tips for Managing Air Travel with Young Children

Vacations may seem like fun getaways for families, but with them comes an often dreaded necessity: air travel. While flying with young children can be challenging, Macaroni Kid Centreville‘s Jourdan Card highlighted 10 tips to help you travel like a pro.

To read Card’s full article, visit the Macaroni Kid Centreville website.

Tip 1: Don’t Overpack Your Carry-On

    • It’s tempting to fill your carry-on to the brim, including any and every item your child might want along the way. But lugging around a heavy bag is exhausting, especially when you have a young child or children to look after. Jourdan Card’s rule of thumb is always one extra outfit per kid and an extra shirt for the adults caring for them. Calculating the total travel time, she also prepares one diaper per hour. If your child uses a pacifier, packing several could be useful. You’ll need extra just in case the first one drops on the floor. Caregivers should also prepare snacks, bottles/formula, and any needed medicines or comfort items.

Tip 2: Conquer Security Like A Boss

    • Going through security is already a long process, so families are encouraged to prepare ahead of time to avoid additional delays. Card recommends wearing as little extra clothing as possible, because scarves, hats, belts, and other loose items will all have to come off. She recommends simple clothing such as well-fitting pants, a shirt, and tennis shoes. In addition to this, she recommends pulling out any mobile devices, food, and liquids before getting in line so they’re ready to go instead of trying to get them out of the bag last minute. To make this easier, you can put the items in clear, ziplock backs so security can check them quickly as well.

Tip 3: Keep Your Hands Available

    • Card recommends babywearing through security, that way you can gate-check your stroller for free. If your stroller is small enough to fit on the conveyer belt, it has to go through, so make sure you know how to fold it quickly ahead of time. If the stroller is too big, it will have to go through the metal detector and receive a manual screening.

Tip 4: Potty Break

    • Allow for extra time to get through security and go to the bathroom before your flight. It’s not the easiest process to change a young child in an airplane bathroom, so this is highly recommended!

Tip 5: The Muli-Bag System

    • During her family trips, Card usually carries a decent-sized backpack to store everyone’s items. But in addition to that, she packs some reusable grocery bags. Placing each child’s stuff in their own grocery bag, Card allows her children to keep their things separate on the plane, that way the children have easy access to their items and feel control over their items.

Tip 6: Bring Your Children’s Favorites

    • In her example, Card mentions that her toddler loved milk. But she learned the hard way that milk isn’t always available on planes. Because of this, she recommends buying some of your child’s favorites in the shops after you go through security. It’ll keep your child calm on the ride.

Tip 7: Create A Busy Binder

    • Before going on trips, Card puts together a binder full of ziplock bags, each storing a simple activity. When her kids get cranky or bored during the trip, she pulls them out for some needed fun!

Tip 8: Headphones

    • While many airlines have small televisions in the seatbacks, the headphones they provide can often be too big for young children’s ears, which means they’re going to be falling out or off constantly. If you’re going to have access to any digital tech, Card recommends bringing kid-sized headphones so they can watch their favorite shows without disturbing others.

Tip 9: Car Seats On Airplanes

    • Double-check that your car seat is TSA approved, there will be a small sticker on the back or side letting you know. If it is, you’re legally allowed to bring your child’s car seat on the plane. However, if you choose to use a car seat in lieu of a lap-held infant (2 and under), each person must have their own purchased seat.

Tip 10: Proof of ID

    • It’s not guaranteed to happen, but some airline staff may request proof of your child’s age. Card recommends being prepared by carrying a copy of your children’s birth certificates just in case.

*Information collected from Macaroni Kid Centreville