Flying with Kids: Staying Safe and Sane
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When it comes to family travel, no one plans or worries quite like a parent. I should know -- I'm an expectant mother, nursing a toddler, and I'm a travel agent. Planning and worrying are what I do best.
Traveling with children can present some unique challenges. Here are a few of the toughest situations when it comes to flying with kids:
The most important thing you can do to smooth the way for a fun and hassle-free flight is to book a non-stop flight during the time of day when your children usually nap. Mid-week, mid-day (naptime, yay!) is considered an off-peak time. Consider booking your flight then to take advantage of that quiet time of day. If this doesn't work into your schedule, don't get discouraged! Get creative!
Keeping your kids busy and distracted is that much easier with handy little travel gadgets like portable DVD players. I've found them on sale for as little as $150 -- less than I would usually pay to rent one for a ten-day trip! Other tried and true distractions include photo albums made just for little hands (be sure to include photos of grandma and grandpa or the puppy you're leaving with a neighbor), magnetic memo boards for mess-free drawing, and fun tactile experiences like blind-folding your toddler and asking him to name different objects that you put in his hands. Feathers, beanie animals and other favorite stuffed toys, matchbox-type cars, and favorite snacks like Cheerios or teddy bear graham crackers would be perfect for those little hands to touch, feel and giggle over. You can even ask a flight attendant for an ice cube to put into your toddlers palm. With or without the blindfold, he'll be fascinated by the melting ice. Just remember to watch him carefully so he doesn't try to eat it!