They may not remember the trip, but they will like going places.
England, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Vietnam, Mexico, Canada, HI, TX, CO, CA, AZ, NM, KS, OK, WY, SD, NE, IA, MO, AR, MS, LA, AL, TN, KY, IL, IN, WI, MN, MI, NY, PA, OH, VA, FL, MD, DE, NJ, NH, VT, ME, MA, RI, CT, WV, Washington D.C.

Tips for Traveling with Kids

My goals of traveling with my kids are to keep them happy and give them a good experience.  If they are very young they may not remember the trip, but they will like going places.  These travel tips are designed to support those goals.  

Before Travel Day
  • Check all travel documentation.  If you are traveling abroad without the other parent, make sure you have a notarized letter from the other parent expressing permission, with dates and destination.  Check with the U.S. Department of State for the specific requirements. 
  • If you are going abroad, make sure your children have passports and check the expiration dates.  Different countries have different entry requirements, but most countries want you to have 6 months left before expiration for entry into the country.  Check the U.S. Department of State for foreign entry requirements. 
  • Use seatguru to find the most advantageous seat for you and your children. 

      • Pack with the idea of keeping your hands free so that you can always help, carry, and comfort your kids.
      • Pack light.  There is no need to pack two weeks worth of diapers and wipes, you can them buy at your destination. 
      • Don't take too many toys.  It's more fun for the kids if they get a couple of special souvenirs from their trip.  
      • Ditch the designer diaper bags.  Use a backpack, it will keep both hands free to help your children.
      • Pack light- only the essentials for the plane ride in your carryon bag like: diapers, wipes, snacks, games, books, etc. 
      • Pack a medical bag with: band-aids, Neosporin, children's Benadryl, children's Tylenol or Motrin, diaper rash cream. 
      • Pack a few gallon-sized ziplock bags.  You never know when you have to deal with a pair of poopy pants . 
      • Allow your kids their own carryon bags packed with activities and goodies.

            Before the flight
            • Get there early.
            • Be organized.
            • Check passports and identification to make sure everything is current.  Most countries require that you have 6 months left on your passport prior to travel.  Check before you go.
            • Pre-print boarding passes and select seats in advance.  Some airlines do not allow you this option if you are traveling with a lapsit infant.  Check your airline's policy ahead of time.
            • Use curbside checkin if it's available, worth every penny.
            • Be very nice to the agents at the ticket/checkin counters, they can upgrade your seats or put you next to an empty seat.
            • Role play with the kids ahead of time so they will know what to expect at the airport. 
            • At security, look for the family line.  They usually have people who are used to dealing with small children and are prepared to help you through the process.  Be very nice to these people too.
              • Prior to going through the security line, remove your jewelry, belt, jacket, and all items in your pockets and stow them in your backpack.  You won't have to fiddle with this stuff while going through security, which will give you time to help your kids with their shoes.
              • Slip-on shoes are the best things you can wear while traveling.  I love Merrells.  I can put them on without using my hands.  My kids can put on their Merrells without any assistance, leaving me free to grab our bags.
              • After going through security, buy a drink to take on to the plane.  During liftoff and landing, have the kids drink something or suck on pacifiers.  This will help alleviate the pressure in their ears. 
              • Wear your kids out.  If they are tired enough, they may sleep on the flight for you.  Before the flight, take them for a walk around the terminal.
              • A few minutes before boarding, take the kids to the bathroom
              For the flight
                • Teach your kids to drink from a straw.  You won't have to bring sippy cups, and there are straws everywhere.  Make sure to pack some for the flight.
                • If you are using baby bottles, you may consider the disposable bottle liner system.  Take one bottle and a few extra nipples.  Just switch out the nipple and liner for each use.
                • There is hot water available on the airplane, just ask the flight attendant.  Be nice to these people too.
                • Wear layers.  In a pinch, you can peal off a sweatshirt and use it as a blanket for you kid.
                • Pack entertainment.  The novelty of the plane ride will wear off after lift off.  
                • Pack snacks.  The complementary snacks will not be enough to keep your kids satiated. 
                • Dole out the activities/ snacks slowly to make it last the whole plane ride.
                • Invest in a portable DVD player.  Some planes are equipped with onboard T.V., but the entertainment may not be appropriate for your kids.
                • A few minutes before landing, take the kids to the bathroom.
                • The bathrooms are usually equipped with changing tables, but they are really small and tricky to use.  Barring a poopy diaper, you may want to perfect the art of changing a toddler while he is standing.
                • Take only the essentials with you to the bathroom - usually just a diaper and wipes.  Don't bother trying to take the diaper bag, there isn't room.