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Navigating airports and flights with young children: A survival guide

Traveling with young children can be a daunting task, especially when it involves navigating airports and flights. It may even make some parents think twice before planning a holiday! However, with proper preparation and the right attitude, travelling with young children can actually be a fun and rewarding experience for both parents and kids. Yes, really! This survival guide provides practical tips to help parents successfully navigate airports and flights with young children.

Disclaimer: Links in this page are meant to help you find relevant information and book attractions easier by linking directly to specific pages on partner websites (i.e. TripAdvisor, Vegas.com). If you click a link, we may earn a small commission on transactions. This helps support the cost of running our website, and it adds absolutely no extra cost to you as the consumer. Thank you, we appreciate your support! You can read more on our disclosure policy.

Get your ducks in a row early

One of the keys to a successful travel experience with young children lies in early preparation. Ensure your child’s identification and travel documents are in order, and if needed, inform the airline about any special requirements or requests. Make a checklist of essential items such as diapers, wipes, snacks, toys, and any necessary medications. Plan your route to the airport and make sure to leave plenty of time for unexpected delays. By getting organized early, you can avoid unnecessary stress and focus on enjoying your trip.

Choose child-friendly airlines

When doing your research for the travel ahead, consider choosing an airline that caters well to families. Selecting child-friendly airlines can have a positive impact on the overall travel experience. Some airlines offer amenities such as pre-boarding, baby bassinets, children’s meals, and entertainment options tailored to different age groups. If possible, book direct flights to avoid the hassle of layovers and connections.

Plan strategically

It’s all about timing. Consider scheduling your flights during your child’s naptime or bedtime to increase the likelihood of a peaceful journey. Choose direct flights to minimize layovers and reduce overall travel time. Plan for some buffer time to account for unexpected delays or extended security checks. Additionally, try to pick seats near the front of the plane or in a bulkhead row for extra legroom and easier access to bathrooms. Some airlines have seating delegated specifically for families with young children.

Pack a carry-on essentials bag

Long flights can be especially challenging for young children who may become bored or restless easily. Create a well-stocked carry-on bag with essential items to keep your child entertained and comfortable during the flight. Include snacks, water, extra clothes, diapers, wipes, a favorite blanket or toy, and any necessary medications. Packing a variety of distractions, such as coloring books, small games, or electronic devices, can help keep your child engaged during the flight.

Protect your items

Traveling with kids means packing a lot of extra items and valuables. To keep everything safe, pack important documents such as passports, tickets, and identification cards in a secure and easily accessible location. Use luggage locks to prevent theft or tampering with your bags. Additionally, consider investing in travel insurance to cover any potential loss or damage to your belongings. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Dress comfortably

Ensure you and your child are dressed comfortably for the journey. Choose layers for varying temperatures in the airport and on the plane. Avoid complicated outfits that may make diaper changes or restroom visits challenging. Comfortable shoes are essential, especially for walking through large airports. Keep in mind that you may have to carry your child and any additional luggage, so choose practical and comfortable clothing for both of you.

Be prepared for security checks

Security procedures can be tedious and stressful, especially with young children. Make sure to pack all liquids in a clear, zip-lock bag and have them easily accessible during security checks. Familiarize yourself with the rules regarding baby items, such as formula, breast milk, and baby food. Wear easily removable shoes and jackets to speed up the process. If travelling with a stroller or car seat, check with your airline for regulations on checking them in. It may be easier to use a carrier or sling instead of bringing a stroller through security.

Utilize airport assistance

Many airports offer assistance for families traveling with young children. Check with the airport staff about available services, such as stroller rentals, family restrooms, and priority boarding. Take advantage of these amenities to make your journey more convenient. Some airlines also offer pre-boarding for families with young children, allowing you to get settled on the plane before other passengers. This can be especially helpful if you have a lot of carry-on luggage or need extra time to get your child comfortable.

That’s A Wrap!

Traveling with young children may pose its challenges, but with careful planning and a positive attitude, it can also be a rewarding and memorable experience for the entire family. It’s important to note that the experience may vary depending on the age and needs of your child – a newborn will have different requirements compared to a toddler or young child. It is best to plan accordingly, taking into consideration factors such as nap time, meal times, and entertainment. Be patient and flexible, and remember to enjoy the journey along the way.

Disclaimer: Links in this page are meant to help you find relevant information and book attractions easier by linking directly to specific pages on partner websites (i.e. TripAdvisor, Vegas.com). If you click a link, we may earn a small commission on transactions. This helps support the cost of running our website, and it adds absolutely no extra cost to you as the consumer. Thank you, we appreciate your support! You can read more on our disclosure policy.

Author

I am a busy mama with 3 delicious babies and a serious itch for travel and writing (when I am not bartending, that is)! After graduating from Cal State San Marcos with a B.A. in Communications, I decided to start a family and pursue a career in freelance writing. I created HotMamaTravel as an outlet to do what I love while sharing useful travel tips and inspiration with others. Our mission is to show parents how to master travel with kids, while keeping your Saturday-night selves. We call it "Family travel...with a twist".

1 Comment

  1. What a comprehensive and invaluable guide to navigating airports and flights with little ones! Your article is filled with practical tips and thoughtful insights that will surely help many parents ease the challenges of traveling with young children.

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