Airport Travel with Little Ones

Vacations can be exciting. And for parents who feel the need for a break away from work and all of the stress, it can be one of the most relieving times in your life. However, traveling with young children can almost put all of that that stress right back into the situation. I know that traveling with kids through airports can be seem little daunting, and with kids, it may seem a little impossible. However, there are some quick tips for you to make your vacation trip run as best as it can when there’s children on board.


At the airport

Going through security can be intimidating… but try adding a couple toddlers attached to your hip, and you’ll find that your stress level just reached its peak. With the new TSA regulations, it’s always a good idea to be up-to-date on what you need to avoid when going through security, especially with children.

  • If you need to take liquids (baby formula, milk, juice, etc.), make sure it’s in the travel size requirement—3.4 ounces (100ml). This way, the TSA officer won’t make you throw away any liquids you may have brought.  If you or your child has a medical condition that requires you to bring your medication, don’t worry! This surpasses the 3.4 ounces rule; before going through security, make sure this is noted for them.
  • Any child under the age of 12 does NOT have to take their shoes off when going through security.
  • Before boarding that plane, let your child get their energy out. I’m not saying let them run wild; if the airport has a play area, let them get their silliness out there, or walk around the airport with them until their little legs get tired.
  • Most flight services don’t offer inflight complimentary meals until an hour after takeoff—this can be a very bad thing if your child hasn’t been fed since they got to the airport. Before boarding the plane, make sure your child is well fed. This can help any future, unpredicted tantrums.
  • If your child has a tendency to wander, or if you have a fear that they might become lost, seek out a travel insurance policy that specifically addresses the return of children. Whether they’re simply lost at the terminal or left behind thousands of miles away, these policies can arrange for their safe return. For example, many local Charlotte insurance agents in my neck of the woods offer these services since it is a major airport city.

Facing the ride

Believe me, I have seen the looks that are received when you walk on the plane with small children; people are giving you that “your kid better not scream the entire trip” look. And as a lifelong traveler, I can completely relate with that feeling. But don’t fret—I have some ideas to keep your child entertained while plane is in flight, and the other passengers will be thankful as well.

  • Do they have a stuffed animal, blanket, toy, etc. that they cannot live without? Don’t pack this in their suitcase. (I learned my lesson on this one.) This can keep them comforted during takeoff and landing, two of the most stressful times for youngsters if they aren’t used to flying.
  • Bring little snacks. We all know that when you get bored, you eat. Easy snacks like Goldfish or Cheerios are relatively healthy options, but watch out for sanitation with finger foods since every season is flu season when you’re on a plane.
  • The all too favorite game “I Spy” or “Simon Says” is always a good trick too— this gets your child to get their energy out in a different form: being quiet and in their seat. A parent’s dream.
  • Pack a few of their favorite stories or books that they love to read, as well as any coloring books. And hey—this can give you quiet time!
  • And lastly, set realistic goals for the trip. Don’t fantasize about your children doing exactly what you say, and the passengers applauding you for a job well done—as long as you’re optimistic, and realistic, things will be better in the long run for your sanity. 
  • If you’re really the accommodating type, consider bringing a tub of earplugs to spare other nearby passengers of a child’s whining.

I hope these tips help in your future travels, and that you have a safe and exciting trip with your family in tow. What are your favorite methods of keeping children quiet and others sane when flying abroad?

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  • Much of what you say was true when my children were little, but your good advice about security matters reminds me of how much easier traveling used to be! I will show this to my children, because I think they will appreciate your advice. 

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