Traveling can be a challenge. Traveling with children during one of the busiest travel weeks of the year can be borderline insanity.
But, it doesn’t have to be. When flying with kids the week of Thanksgiving, it all comes down to planning and packing.
Here are some tips to minimize your stress and be on your way to a hassle-free turkey day with the kids in-tow:
1) If you can swing it, fly out on Tuesday or Thursday as these are the least busy travel days. Plus, flights should be less expensive. If you can get a flight early enough on Thursday, you’ll save cash, avoid the crowds, and make turkey dinner with the family. Flying home on Saturday rather than Sunday will also be to your advantage.
2) The two best ways to keep kids occupied during long layovers or delays is food and entertainment. This is not the time to be forgetful. Make sure to pack plenty of your children’s favorite snacks. For longer travel days, pack lunches with PB&J (assuming no nut allergies), cheese crackers, apples and other favorites. Activities and toys also need to be at the top of your packing list. Personal gaming systems, coloring books (don’t forget the crayons!) and portable DVD players are great choices.
3) Proper planning also includes getting to the airport on time. When traveling with children, this means getting there with time to spare. We all know traveling with kids takes longer, so don’t underestimate travel time, especially with things beyond your control…like traffic jams. A missed flight is far worse than an extra hour at the airport.
4) Check-in online the night before and print your boarding passes. This is a simple way to avoid long lines at the airport.
5) Don’t check bags. First, it’s a waste of money. Second, it’s a hassle that will just add time and stress to your travel day. Third, you don’t need to! Remember every ticketed passenger can take a personal item and a carry-on on the plane. If you’re staying with family, you can save space by washing clothes to be re-worn during the trip. Leave the toiletries at home and borrow them, or buy them at your destination. When packing, check and double check that nothing prohibited is in anyone’s carry-on. Remember the 3-1-1 rule for carry-on bags applies to children too. These little oversights can make or break your travel day.