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How to Travel with Kids (and Survive)

All patience and empathy to the parent who has to wrangle his or her entire family through the hectic frenzy that is commercial airline travel these days.

Double it for those with infants or toddlers.

To paraphrase beloved comedian Jim Gaffigan, traveling with a baby is kind of like being stuck in the middle of the ocean, and you’re all alone, and you’re drowning — and then someone hands you a baby.

Especially this time of year, when the holiday spirit congests major airports’ terminals to incommodious capacities, those gallant patriarchs and matriarchs have to be downright familial olympians to survive…

That’s why we here at Aircraft Services Group will always recommend opting out of the whole thing altogether, by chartering your own private flight instead — one that leaves on your family’s schedule, at your family’s convenience, your favorite meal on the menu and your favorite show already on the television.

However, for those unable to do so, here are some of the best tips and tricks we’ve picked up over our 25 years in the industry for getting one’s progeny from Point A to Point B on time and intact.

Safe travels!

Newborns, Infants, and Toddlers (Oh My!)

Book flights around your child’s normal bedtime.
Pack multiple outfits, in case of projectile emergencies.

For both of you!

Bring lotion; low humidity in the cabin may cause nosebleeds.

Arm yourself with more hand wipes than you could ever possibly think necessary.
TSA will allow formula, breast milk, and juice for children over the 3.4 oz limit.

Just inform security that you are bringing them through and remove them from your bag.

Infants can be carried through security and metal detectors.

Avoid traveling with a large stroller, at all costs!

Either pack a lightweight stroller, or make do with only a baby carrier, if you possibly can.

For ear aches caused by decreasing cabin pressure, massage and lightly tug their ear lobes.
Be conscious of travelers around you who might be wary of sitting near children.

Consider introducing yourself (and your beautiful, sympathy-inducing bundle of joy) ahead of time.

 

Gradeschoolers

Get them excited for your trip beforehand!

Remember, air travel doesn’t stress them out like it stresses you out.

Let them travel in pajamas.
Luggage can double as a vehicle.

Meet Trunki: ride-on, animal-themed luggage (comes with strap for parents to carry when your child inevitably gives up and don’t want to walk anymore)

Make them keep a contact card in their pocket with your cell phone number.

If you simply must literally write it on your child’s arm, at least make sure to cover it with liquid bandaid…

Provide familiar (and simple) snacks

Separated into individual packs.

Kids under 12 can leave shoes, jackets, and headwear on during security screenings.
Soft toys > Favorite toys

WARNING: Any toy that has to be brought along should be recognized as essentially an extra child; be aware of its location at all times!

Wrap small gifts to reward good behave throughout travel.

This time of year, you can remind your children that the ever-watchful eye of Saint Nick extends to the friendly skies as well.

Single parents traveling with multiple children are given priority boarding.
Let the (fully-charged) tablet be your friend.

Play it safe and invest in the Anker PowerCore, a portable battery that stockpiles enough juice to recharge an iPhone 6s up to five times.

 

Tweens + Teens

Plan (parts of) the trip with them.

Get them involved in choosing the flight or an activity, so they don’t feel like they’re just being dragged around by their lame parents.

Buy them a book about — or better yet, set in — wherever you’re going.
Let them pack their own bag.

Give it a final peak once they’re done, though…

Play a little “I Spy” while waiting in line.

Don’t fight the fact that they’ll be on their phones.
Get them a camera to document the trip.

It’s a good tool for artistically channeling their teen angst while still engaging with their surroundings.

Find ways to give them space, even at the airport!

You just wouldn’t get it.

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