How to survive with children at the Airport

A Parents Ultimate Guide

Traveling with children can be a daunting task, especially when it involves navigating the busy, often stressful environment of an airport. From long security lines to unexpected delays, airports present a unique set of challenges for families. However, with some planning and a few clever strategies, you can turn the airport experience into a manageable, even enjoyable part of your journey. Here’s how to survive – and thrive – with children at the airport.

1. Preparation is Key

Pack Smart

  • Essentials: Pack a carry-on bag with all the essentials your children might need during the flight. This includes snacks, a change of clothes, diapers, wipes, and any medication.
  • Entertainment: Bring a variety of activities to keep your kids entertained. Think coloring books, small toys, tablets loaded with games and movies, and books.
  • Comfort Items: Don’t forget their favorite comfort items, such as a blanket or stuffed animal, to help ease any anxiety.

Documentation and Tickets

  • Organize Documents: Ensure you have all necessary documents, including passports, boarding passes, and any required travel authorizations, in an easily accessible place.
  • Check-In Early: Whenever possible, check in online before arriving at the airport to save time and reduce stress.

Discuss the Plan

  • Prepare Your Kids: Talk to your children about what to expect at the airport. Explain the security process, waiting times, and the importance of staying close to you.

2. Navigating Security

Dress Appropriately

  • Easy-to-Remove Shoes: Choose shoes that are easy to take off and put back on. This will speed up the process at security checkpoints.
  • Minimal Metal: Avoid clothing and accessories with metal that might set off alarms and cause delays.
ALSO SEE  How to enjoy whale watching in Uvita, Costa Rica

Use Family-Friendly Lanes

  • TSA PreCheck and Global Entry: If you travel frequently, consider enrolling in TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. These programs expedite the security process and are often more accommodating for families.
  • Family Lanes: Many airports have designated family lanes that are designed to be more accommodating for those traveling with young children.

Be Organized

  • Separate Liquids and Electronics: Have your liquids and electronics ready to be scanned separately. This will make the process smoother and quicker.
  • Keep Kids Close: Hold hands or use a stroller to keep your children close and secure while going through security.

3. Managing Waiting Time

Find a Play Area

  • Play Zones: Many airports have play areas specifically designed for children. These can be a lifesaver for letting your kids burn off some energy before the flight.
  • Walk Around: Explore the airport terminals. Walking can help to reduce boredom and anxiety for both you and your children.

Healthy Snacks

  • Pack Snacks: Bring a variety of healthy snacks to keep your children satisfied. Nuts, fruit, and granola bars are great options that are easy to pack.
  • Stay Hydrated: Make sure everyone drinks plenty of water. Bring empty water bottles that you can fill up once you’re through security.

Entertainment

  • Screen Time: This is the time to relax screen time rules. Load up your tablet with your child’s favorite shows and games.
  • Interactive Games: Simple games like “I Spy” or “Simon Says” can keep kids entertained while waiting at the gate.

4. Boarding and In-Flight

Pre-Boarding

  • Take Advantage: Many airlines offer pre-boarding for families with young children. Use this time to get settled and stow away your carry-on items.
  • Get Comfortable: Once on the plane, get your children comfortable with their seating area. Set up any entertainment or snacks you have prepared.
ALSO SEE  How to find the Perfect Travel Partner for your next Trip

Flight Essentials

  • Comfort: Bring pillows, blankets, and noise-canceling headphones to make the flight as comfortable as possible.
  • In-Flight Activities: Use the same strategies for in-flight entertainment as you did in the airport. Rotate activities to keep things fresh.

5. Handling Delays and Layovers

Stay Calm and Flexible

  • Be Prepared: Delays and layovers can be inevitable. Keep a positive attitude and explain the situation to your children calmly.
  • Explore: If you have a layover, explore the airport. Many airports have interesting features like aquariums, art installations, and even mini-museums.

Make It Fun

  • Games and Rewards: Turn waiting time into a game. Set small challenges or scavenger hunts around the terminal. Reward good behavior with small treats or stickers.
  • Comfort Breaks: Use layover time to find a quiet corner or lounge where your children can relax and recharge.

6. Additional Tips

Traveling Solo with Kids

  • Ask for Help: Don’t be afraid to ask airport staff for assistance. Many airports offer special services for solo parents.
  • Stay Organized: Keep all necessary items easily accessible. A backpack can be more convenient than a traditional diaper bag.

Keep it Fun and Relaxed

  • Positive Attitude: Your attitude can set the tone for the entire trip. Stay positive and treat the airport experience as part of the adventure.
  • Celebrate Milestones: Celebrate small milestones like getting through security or finding your gate. It helps to keep spirits high.