Flying will children of any age can be a bit challenging. And, factors such as busy airports and long lines surely don’t help. With the help of some friends within Virtuoso, here are a few of our collective tips that we’ve found helpful when traveling with children.
- Travel through family-friendly airports. For example, London Heathrow has a family lounge and game zone, Hong Kong International includes an activity-based learning theme park and Chicago O’Hare offers a Nickelodeon-recommended interactive children’s museum.
- Chose an airline that goes out of their way for children. Etihad staffs dedicated “flying nannies” with childcare training. Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Qatar and Qantas all have excellent inflight entertainment programming geared toward kids. Air New Zealand has three-seat rows that convert to couches (think nap time!) and Virgin Atlantic provides special infant seats. Many of the US domestic airlines are now including in-seat video screens for games and movies on longer domestic flights.
- Consider Global Entry or Clear for expedited clearance at customs. These services also include TSA Pre-Check, which can save a lot of time in line (and make going through security much easier).
- Travel nonstop when possible. Many kids are going to get restless regardless of your flight time, but minimizing the changing of planes and running through another airport could lessen stress and pressure to make connections.
- Keep hydrated. This is a great tip for kids and adults alike! Not only might it help minimize jet lag, it can help from getting sick.
- Take care of what’s in their carry on. In our world of technology, smart phones and tablets are often a kid’s go-to source of entertainment. However, be sure to mix up their options by including books, puzzles, cards and other travel games they could do with mom/dad or a sibling. Also consider packing a change of clothes in case of spills.
- Prepare for the ascent and descent. The change in air pressure is often uncomfortable for children (especially infants). For older kids, give them gum to chew when the plane prepares for takeoff or begins its initial descent. For infants, bring a pacifier or bottle for them to suckle on. Each of these helps “pop” their ears and reduce ear pain.
Let us know if you have other great tips/tricks for traveling with children. We’ll post it on our social media sites or include it in an upcoming newsletter. Email LindaB@PiqueTravel.com.