Caring for Family

Tips for Traveling with the Family

Tips for Traveling with the Family

Being able to take a vacation or visit loved ones with your entire family can be a great chance for bonding and fun. But, flying nowadays can be stressful, and traveling with a young child can complicate the experience. Even the most seasoned travelers know there are no guarantees when traveling via plane, so having a plan can make traveling with your child go as smoothly as possible. Follow these tips to give yourself the best chance at a low-stress flying experience.


  • Be sure to pack extra diapers. Between air pressure, new experiences and stress, your child may go through far more diapers than he or she ordinarily would in the same amount of time.
  • Remember plastic bags for disposing of diapers or containing soiled clothes.
  • Include a change of clothes in your carry-on—for you and your child! You never know what accidents may occur when a toddler is involved.
  • Bring nonperishable snacks. In-flight food can be unpredictable, and a hungry toddler is a recipe for disaster..
  • Take toys that encourage quiet play for the flight. Avoid taking out your child's toys prior to takeoff to avoid boredom during the flight. Instead, spend time together, enjoying all the new sights and sounds at the airport.

Going Through Security

  • Explain the security process to your child beforehand. Removing items to place on a conveyer belt may upset your children if they don't know to expect it.
  • Make use of the family lane. Many airports include special lanes for families or individuals who need extra assistance. Often these lanes include shorter lines and extra space.
  • Place your own items on the conveyer belt before unloading your child's possessions. This helps him or her see the process in action. Plus, trying to get you both prepared at the same time can be difficult.

After Security

  • Find out if the airport has a children's play area. Many airports offer kid-friendly spaces, and providing time to move around will give them a chance to burn off some energy before the flight.
  • Take care of diaper changes and restroom visits. Changing your child will be much easier in the airport, so be sure to plan a bathroom break before you board.
  • Pick up drinks or additional snacks you may need for the plane. Drink options are limited on flights and airplane tap water isn't recommended for small children. You may want to buy bottled water or milk before you get on the plane as these items aren't always available.
  • Talk to the gate agent about empty seats. If your child was going to sit on your lap, you may be able to move to an area where your child can have his or her own seat — the more space the better for an active toddler.

During the Flight

  • Acknowledge that sitting still can be difficult. Before takeoff, talk with your child about what kind of behavior is expected during the flight. Explain that you'll do what you can to help, but that everyone has to follow the rules on the plane.
  • Use pajamas to help set the stage for sleep. For longer or late-night flights, changing your child into pajamas may encourage him or her to rest quietly or nap.