5 things: To plan in advance when flying with a kid

No one is ever excited to fly with their kids. And the younger your kiddos are the more troubling it seems. Use these easy pre-planning tips to take some of the stress out of traveling with kids.

Admiring the view from 30,000 feet.

Admiring the view from 30,000 feet.

01. Plan your flight for nap time.

Or even better, overnight! This makes things easier on you, and is a much better gift to your neighbors than handing around goody bags. (Which I happen to think is over the top and unnecessary.) It may cost a little more to book a flight during your kiddo’s ideal nap time, but the peace – and peace-of-mind – is well worth it.

Tip: Ear plugs (we like Ear Planes) or noise canceling headphones help to ensure a peaceful nap on a busy plane.

02. Plan your layover.

If you have a layover get to know the amenities of your standby airport – many have play areas, mother’s rooms and family restrooms. Check out the airport’s website beforehand to see where to go once you get off the plane. It’s also worth checking out what types of food and restaurants will be available so you can plan (or pack) accordingly.

Tip: GateGuru is an award-winning *free* app that covers over 204 airports across the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia.

The play area at LAX's new international departure area.

The play area at LAX’s new and improved international terminal.

03. Plan to get to the airport early.

This helps avoid going straight from the car seat to the airplane seat. Get there early and give your kiddo(s) time to run around, ohh and ahh at the planes, use the potty or have one last diaper change and even have a snack. But, mostly let them run around; a tired toddler is the best kind of toddler when it comes to airplanes.

Tip: This is a great time to check out those play areas!

04. Plan some special plane toys and snacks.

Make the flight a special event by having some new toys and special “plane snacks;” this gets kids excited and looking forward to the flight. Pack them separately so you can pull them out one by one as the flight goes on to keep the excitement alive.

Tip: Pack a deflated balloon to bounce around and chase in case of flight delays. 

Helping weigh bags with Alaska Airlines.

Helping Alaska Airlines weigh our bags.

05. Plan your packing list.

Packing light is difficult when you are traveling with kids – particularly if they are sharing your suitcase. Investing in a luggage scale is the best thing I’ve ever done. (For solo travel as well!)  It saves you money by ensuring your bags aren’t overweight, helps you cut down on unnecessary items and keeps your souvenir buying in check.

Tip: Download our free carry-on packing list here!


How do you plan for family travel? Leave it in the comments!

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