The hustle and bustle of the holiday season has come to an end – special memories with family saved forever, and even more toys for children to forget to put away strewn across their rooms. As a single parent, travelling with little ones is a challenge. But it’s totally worth seeing their faces light up at the sight of grandma and grandpa at the airport.
If you’re planning on traveling with children soon, or you just need an extra boost of confidence for the dreaded travel plans at the end of this year, this article is for you!
Pack a Care Pack for Your New Travel Companions
I first discovered this travel tradition on Facebook and have since adopted it for myself. The day before our flight, I bake a few batches of cookies. If it’s the holiday season, I’ll wrap them up in festive wrappings. Included with the cookie is a note that reads:
“Hi there! We’re really excited to be traveling with you, but sometimes the noises and change in cabin pressure scare us. Please forgive me if I cry. I know mommy is doing everything she can to help us all enjoy a pleasant journey. If my Mommy falls asleep and I’m misbehaving, don’t be afraid to let her know. We want everyone to enjoy their journey. Happy holidays!”
Once we board the aircraft, my daughters each take turns passing out these cookies to the passengers seated nearby. The gesture goes a long way towards building goodwill, and it starts a friendly dialogue that helps relieve tensions if small children get upset. Plus, it’s fun to see my daughters practice socializing with the other passengers in a safe, supervised environment.
Avoid Staying Sedentary for Too Long
While reading up on travel hacks before departing for the holidays, I came across a travel guide that highlighted the dangers of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Basically, DVT is a blood clot that can occur from sitting still for too long – with a much more elevated risk after 4 hours of inactivity.
The last thing I wanted to become part of my holiday travels was a trip to the hospital. So, I made sure the three of us drank plenty of fluids throughout the flight. This resulted in a trip or two to the lavatory, which provided us with both hydration and an excuse to get up and move at least once every few hours.
And I also noticed that the more the little ones got up to go to the bathroom, the less fidgety they became in their seats.
Track Your Child’s Location and Set Location-Based Alerts
Giving my daughters tiny tracking devices that fit comfortably on their wrists gave me the most peace of mind. With an app on my phone, I could quickly load their location. This allowed me to temporarily focus on grabbing boarding passes, passports and other items in my bag. There are so many moments where, as a parent, it just isn’t possible to watch your child and handle interactions with other people.
Traveling with children is definitely stressful. But being able to use Bluetooth technology on my phone to keep them on an electronic leash – something far less embarrassing than a parent putting a literal harness on their child – provided me with alerts if they moved too far away from me. And if they became lost on their way to or from the airport bathroom, they could simply press a button and I’d receive an alert to help them at their exact location.
Check ID Requirements Before Travel
This one almost stranded us. I had become so accustomed to travelling with small children around the United Kingdom, that I almost forgot that our flight to Holland would require their passports – usually identification is not required for children under 16 years of age, travelling with an adult on domestic flights.
Thankfully I had packed our family’s most valuable documents in my carry-on. This is a habit that my father taught me years ago. And this of course included my daughters’ passports. So, crisis averted! Although it wasn’t fun unpacking all our delicates at the terminal.
Don’t let holiday stress be compounded by a stressful journey with your children. These tips can help you travel at anytime of the year. As I continue to travel with my little ones, I’ll be sure to revisit this topic to provide even more helpful tips!