Apr 14 2011

Tips on Flying with Kids

AirTran inflight picture taken earlier this year!

I have the opportunity to travel with our girls over Spring Break.  Thankfully they are wonderful in the car and LOVE to fly in the airplane.  A couple months ago we told the girls that we would be visiting family over Spring Break and they have been looking forward to this week every since that day.  After we first told them about our little trip almost every day they would ask me how many days until Spring.  It wasn’t until a couple weeks later that I realized that they thought that as soon as Spring arrived they would get a break (aka “Spring Break”) and we could go on our road / flying trip.  I had to explain to them that their School Spring Break did not always start on the first day of Spring.  They have been counting down the days and have been encouraging me to pack our suitcases.   Last week we were coming home from Church and Karlie told me to drive faster, when I asked why she said “we need to get home so we can start packing for our trip.”  Even though we were not leaving for several days I let the girls get started.  I had them find their travel backpacks and to start laying out a few items that they want to pack in their backpacks.  After only a few minutes they had a whole pile of items and they felt better about getting started.

Traveling with kids can be a wonderful and fun adventure.  Adding special activities while traveling can make the trip even more exciting and memorable for the kids.  When the kids are happy it makes the whole trip go more smoothly.  Here are a few items we have used on our trips with the kids:

  • Special Backpack – whenever we travel, fly or spend the night somewhere the girls pack their travel backpack full of goodies just for them.  They have had the same backpacks for the last 3 to 4 years.  It has been a great investment and each girl is thrilled to pack items they enjoy in their own backpack.  Plus they proudly carry their treasures through the airport themselves.
  • Books – our girls love books so they pick out a couple small books to take in their backpacks.  We read the books as we are waiting to board the plane, quietly on the plane or whenever we have some downtime.
  • Educational Items – in the backpack we pack a pencil and crayons along with a small notebook, coloring book, and workbooks for them to do on the trip.  They enjoy doing “school” work for fun and it makes me feel good about them practicing their writing, numbers or other practical skills.
  • Snacks – before a big trip we will take the kids to the grocery store and have them pick out one special treat to take with them as a snack on the plane.  For this trip Brina picked out Blueberry Muffins and Karlie picked out 100 Calorie Snack Cookies, makes me laugh and proud to see what they chose this time around!
  • Creative Games – on the trip we come up with games to play with the girls
  1. What shapes / animals / objects do you see in the clouds?
  2. Name everything you see that is ___________ (red, a circle, silly, etc…)
  3. Find every word that contains a ____________ in it (a letter or set of letters like any word that contains a “b” in it or “th”)
  4. Count the number of steps it takes to get to the _______________? (to the terminal, bathroom, seat, baggage claim, etc…)
  5. What is your favorite __________? (memory, food, color, place to visit, etc…..)
  6. Card Games – “Go Fish”, “Old Maid”, “Uno”, and more!
  • Surprise Gifts – inside the girls backpacks we wrap small gifts for them to open up at random times throughout the trip.  Most of the time they are so involved and excited about the adventure that they don’t even open the gifts or only get to 1 or 2.  Although, they are quick to remind us once we have arrived at our destination and have fun opening them while we are visiting or vacationing.
  • Postcards – are fairly inexpensive souvenirs and the girls enjoy picking out and receiving postcards.  They will put them in their special drawer and keep it for many months.  They will pull them out and go through them to remember the special trips together.
  • Mind Your Manners – discuss appropriate manners, rules and guidelines for traveling (especially in a busy airport).  This is important to do at the beginning of the trip.  You can even make a game out of it.
  • Bright Matching Outfits – dress the kids in bright matching outfits so it is easy to see them in the airport.  Even if they are right next to you they are easier to see.
  • Gum – when the plane is ascending or descending it is smart to have your kids chew on some gum to help relieve any of the pressure especially if they have a cold or stuffy nose.  If you have an infant it would be a good time to give them their pacifier.  For a toddler a lollipop or a crunchy snack works well.
  • Rest – Allow the kids to sleep on the plane if they want to rest.  The girls have taken several naps on airplanes.  It gives them an extra boost of energy and helps them relax.  One time all three of us took a snooze on the flight, we were exhausted!

Keeping the kids entertained is a great way to make the trip enjoyable.  For the parents I have a few more ideas of what to do during the  flight to help it go by quickly and smoothly.  The girls are excited, however, we are traveling after a full day of school and we’ll us arriving at our destination the early part of the next day.  I am looking forward to creating more positive traveling moments with the girls and praying that the trip is smooth for everyone driving, flying, and traveling with us.  Do you have any tips for flying with kids?

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