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Travel Smart with Children

Updated on August 26, 2011

Traveling with children can be very difficult if you are not prepared. Navigating through a busy airport with a ton of luggage and several small children requires preparation. The following tips will make your travel with kids a much easier experience.

First, be sure to pack plenty of snacks for the flight in the carry- on bags. It can take several hours at the airport before departing, then several hours on a flight to your destination, followed by another hour getting to your hotel and checking in. You will save both time and money by bringing food with you. If you will be at the airport during breakfast time, pack bananas or bagels with cream cheese spread on them. For lunch or dinner, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chips or crackers work great. The only thing you can't bring is drinks. Most airports do have food available and restaurants in them but they can be very expensive. Don't pay 7 dollars for a slice of pizza only to have your first grader take 4 bites and throw it away.

Another important tips for traveling with small children is to check their pockets thoroughly before you leave the house. Kids love to grab things at the last minute or try to sneak things in. Don't get to security and find out your pet hamster is in your child's pocket. Once you are at security, your bags are already checked so the child has no option but to throw the item in question away. Then the kids will be upset about having to throw away a toy or pet.

When you are traveling with kids, you should bring plenty of quarters. When traveling alone, it is easier to carry your own luggage around, but it is a different story when you are carrying your luggage, booster seats, and trying to keep track of a child or two. Most airports have strollers and luggage carts conveniently located that can be rented for a couple of quarters. The quarters also come in handy if you have to drive through any tolls once you land.

If your child is old enough that you had to pay for thier ticket, then they are old enough to have a carry on bag. The airlines charge expensive fees for overweight luggage so have each child carry thier own backpack with thier blankets, snacks, clothing, etc.

If you are renting a car at your destination, don;t forget to bring the child's booster seat. The rental car company might have them, but will probably tack on an extra charge per day. Kids don't need booster seats on the plane. Actually, most booster seats aren't even allowed to be used on the plane. If you need them for the car though, most airlines will let you take and check the booster seat along with your luggage for no extra charge.

Don't forget to bring something to keep the kids occupied. Don't bring games that have a lot of peices and are going to be hard to keep up with, but something like a Nintedo DS works great. The kids will sit still better of they are interested in something.

If you can, check your plane seats online ahead of time. Make sure you are not located next to any exit doors. Once you get on the plane, the flight attendants will make you move your seat if you are located next to an exit with small children. This is because the person next to the exit needs to be able to open the door and assist people in getting off the plane in the event of an emergency. Having kids with you can make this difficult. It is also a good idea to get a seat close to the lavatory so that the kids don't have to walk so far to it.

Lastly, if you are going to a beach be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and extra water wings. Sunscreen goes fast you are swimming every day so bring lots of it. For children, you should but SPF 50 or 80. Water wings can be bought for a dollar a pair at the Dollar Tree. It is a good idea to bring several pairs because they can get holes in them or bust.


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