No matter if it’s the first trip or the 100th trip, traveling with kids is always a crazy, scary and daunting task. What do we pack for them? How many changes of clothes do we need? Do I have enough? You endlessly pack and repack.
When I worked for WestJet airline in Canada I had the privilege of taking my daughter too many different locations and on may flights (over 60 by the time she was 5 years of age).
As I worked the departure and arrival gates I would see the faces from the stressed-out parents and try to provide them some advice from what I learned along the way and want to share with you.
Below are some ideas to help with your travels, please keep coming back as I will continue to post more suggestions.
1. Jump in and do it!
Your Children are only kids for so long, the last thing you want is to reflect on their wedding day that you did not do anything special with them. Yes it will be difficult, yes they may cry but I promise you the pictures and memories you build are completely worth it. Do the right research you’ll be great.
2. TIME TIME and TIME
You’re with the full family and if you like me you’re okay rushing your way through the airport lines and getting to the check-in counter right before cut off. But your kids feel your tension and your stress, arrive early, check in early and relax past security. If you plan on providing your child a sedative to have them sleep I suggest you do a dry run to ensure it actually works. I game my daughter gravel once and she was far from tired she had the opposite effect and the flight from Ottawa to Edmonton was 4 hours of a crazy wild kid.
3. Research your flight
Many Carries have perks for Kids (early check-in (kids/family lines) + boarding + treats on board), we choose our airlines based on this and find this to very helpful. Please also preview the airplane and book your seats accordingly. Book the row together and Kids love the window.
Plan the flight times (the best you can) around your kid's schedule so that they don’t miss naps during boarding time etc. Most kids are intrigued by the airplane make this part of the trip build up the excitement and get them onboard for the enjoyment. DO a pre-trip to the airport and watch the plains take off, simple things like this help calm a child down.
Finally, cheaper is not always better!
4. Plan + Research your Resorts
Plan your resort around your kids and the activities and facilities at the resort. Do they have good children groups (daycares + activities)? Do they have water slides and or kids pools? What is the kid entertainment like?.
Go on trip advisor and ask questions of fellow travelers, but make sure to keep it specific to your question about kids. A key to remember is the distance from the airport after a 4-hour flight how long do you or your child want to be on the bus to the destination?
And finally Always book early as you can get great Kids deals and add on’s not usually offered.
5. SMART TRAVEL ALWAYS
Always have medical insurance for traveling (www.kanetix.ca for quotes)
Always bring your own Medication (Cough syrup + polysporin + Benadryl + Tylenol + Tylenol cold and flu + gravel (for kids) + wet wipes (baby wipes will work the same) lots of sunscreen and after burn.
Ensure all travel documents are prepared and ready along with a completed Will in case of any unfortunate issues.
6. BE Calm and have FUN
You kids will possibly find a time to have a breakdown and cause a scene, just remember they are young and this is new to them too. If you are worried about their travel why don’t you make a “my first flight treat bag” that you hand out to those seated around you? This helps you feel calm on the flight and it lets those around you know you have a first time or nervous flyer.
The best things I have done are fly and travel with my kids and help them see the world. Enjoy every second you have and take lots of pictures and make as many memories as possible. ..