Here are 10 tips on what to bring to make family airline flights fly by
Airline travel may be down this year, but there’s still the risk of H1N1 and the added airline expenses associated with checking baggage and getting snacks and meals on board. Fortunately, well-prepared parents can avoid most travel traumas.
1. Strap on a soft baby carrier if you’re not bringing the stroller. It allows free hands to move around while wearing the baby. If you’re bringing the stroller, keep it until the last possible moment. The stroller allows mobility in the airport; it can carry your purse and carry-on’s; and if your flight is delayed, your baby or toddler has a comfy place to nap. Most airlines allow the stroller to be checked in at the gate, right before you step on the plane.
2. If traveling with a baby, stock a diaper bag with enough supplies to last twice as long as the scheduled flight. Diapers, wipes, and formula are not easy to come by once you’ve depleted your supply during flight delays.
3. Pack plenty of sandwiches, snacks and reusable water bottles that you can fill when you get through security. You’ll feed the kids healthier and also save considerable money and time, especially if you get stuck in a long line at security. Playoutdoors.com offers great water bottles, soft picnic baskets and backpacks for easy traveling and storing.
4. Keep the hand cleaner handy and use it often. Playoutdoors.com offers a variety of All Terrain products (wipes, liquid cleaner and hand sanitizer).
5. Don’t forget to bring along common over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen in case someone gets sick.
6. Children beyond temper tantrum age should pack their own small carry-on with a reading book, a journal, small toys or puzzles, an activity book and a handheld electronic device.
7. Look for "family designated" security lanes at airports to avoid unwanted glares from business travelers behind you and your stroller. Allow at least an hour more than you think you'll need and check in online.
8. If traveling with little ones, bring an extra change of clothes for each child and yourself for unexpected spills in the airplane cabin.
9. With older kids, family walkie talkies offer a great way to stay connected in the airport if kids don’t have their own cell phones
10. Pack the winter coats in the suitcase and outfit the kids in a lightweight fleece jacket on the plane instead. It will keep kids warm and cozy and contribute to less bulk to carry on and off the plane.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.