Tips for Traveling with Children
1. If you are flying, when you arrive at the airport, kindly ask the agent checking you in if the flight is full. Some agents at some airlines will “block” a seat next to you if the flight isn’t full. Though it won’t have saved you from purchasing a seat, it is always nice to have room to spread out, especially with a child in tow.
2. As an alternative to the previous tip, consider booking seats apart from your partner. That way, one of you can rest while the other takes care of your child or children. Don’t forget to switch mid-flight.
3. When going through airport security or customs, be on the lookout for lines for families. They are often shorter, and perhaps more importantly, you will feel less stressed dealing with folding your stroller, managing your children, untying their shoes before going through security, etc. (though we highly recommend slip-on shoes for all!).
4. Remember that no matter how stressed you are, airline employees will always be nicer to you than they are to the person next to you screaming at them.
5. While walking through a crowded place, if you have more children than there are adult hands, tell your children to form a “family chain" or "family snake" and make a game out of everyone keeping their hands held together with no one breaking the chain.
6. Dress your child in bright or distinctive clothing to help avoid losing him in a crowd. Also, each morning of your vacation, take a photo of your child on your cell phone so that if, heaven forbid, you were to lose your child, you could show people exactly what your child looks like and what he is wearing that day.
7. When changing time zones, maintain your child’s home schedule in the new time zone. If your child typically naps at 2 p.m., have him nap at 2 p.m. wherever you’ve traveled. If bedtime is at 7 p.m., it should remain seven p.m. in the new time zone. It might be rough for the first day or two, but it will work much better over the course of the vacation.
8. When traveling to a new time zone, keep your child outside in the sun to the extent possible to get his circadian rhythms acclimated to the new time zone.
9. When you arrive at a large, crowded place, set up a meeting spot right away. If your child gets lost, both you and she will know where to go. If your child is not old enough to find the meeting spot himself, tell him to look for a mommy with children and tell that mommy that the he is lost.
10. Always have your contact information on your child in some way. You can use a safety pin to pin it to the inside of your child’s clothing, a sticker on her back, or a card in a pocket that zip or snaps. (One of Capital Baby Planners’ team members once wrote her contact information in permanent marker on her child’s arm at Disney World – not so pretty, but it did the job!)