Summer is just around the corner and traveling with the family is almost imminent. Here are a few quick tips that will help you move through airport lines quickly during your next big vacation with the kids.
1. Prepare in advance.
Study your itinerary so that you will know exactly what to expect. Your itinerary will tell you if there is a layover and how long your flight will be. Whether the airline is serving a full meal, or just snacks, will also be included in the agenda. Thoroughly going through the itinerary will allow you to anticipate the needs of the family and plan accordingly. Also, give yourself an additional thirty to forty minutes on top of the suggested arrival time when traveling with small children.
2. Develop a game plan.
Take a good look at what you are taking through security, and develop a plan for moving through the lines more efficiently. Make sure that you, as the parent, can get out of your shoes and jacket easily in addition to being prepared to take items out of the bags, if necessary. It is a good idea to give yourself and the family a practice run so that you can lessen the frustration involved with going through security lines.
3. Plan activities for the entire trip.
The is especially true with small children. Also, plan for delays as well as accidents that may occupy large amounts of time. Having a backup plan is key.
4. Vary activities.
Electronic devices are great, but my advice for parents is to have a variety of activities that include both online and offline interaction. Instead of watching a movie or playing a game on the tablet the entire time, have some arts and crafts books that is not too intrusive to other passengers but engaging for your kids.
5. Pay attention to fellow passengers.
Even though we know in our home that our young ones tend to rule the world, we have to make sure that we’re paying attention to people around us when out. Look for those nonverbal cues to determine whether or not your child is disturbing other people. Sometimes people are afraid to say anything aloud, but they really are quite perturbed. It is, therefore, important to look for those nonverbal cues. If someone keeps turning around in their seat, then that lets you know that perhaps you should take your child in another area in the airport.
6. Take advantage of free time.
Any opportunity that you have to let your kids stretch out should be taken. It is best to come up with routines at home that will keep them active while waiting at the airport.
7. Make preparation a family affair.
Give each child their own carryon bag and let them pack it. Letting the kids pack their own bags will allow you to be a little more hands-free. You can simply tell them to look in their bag and get their snack versus having to reach in the bag and get it yourself. They will know where to look since they packed the items in the bag themselves.
8. Pack all vitals in your carryon.
This includes medicine, diapers and other items that may need to be used while en route to your destination. Also, ensure that additional outfits are packed so that you and your child will have something to wear in the event that luggages are lost or delayed.