The Wheaton Blog

7 Tips for Navigating an Airport With Children

December 12, 2017 | Moving Guides & Tips

All moves require travel from your current house to your new home. When you move out of state or even across the country, you may not have the option of driving to and from your past and future residences with your personal items and family.

When homeowners move over long distances, it’s sometimes more efficient and less stressful to leave the majority of their belongings in the hands of professional movers and simply travel by plane. However, the prospect of air travel becomes infinitely more complicated when you factor in your little ones.

As a parent, some of the most difficult time periods during this type of travel actually occur when you’re on the ground at a security checkpoint or on a layover. In this blog, we provide seven tips for navigating an airport with children during your upcoming move.

1. Use Digital Pre-Boarding Tools

Air travel can often feel overwhelming, especially when you must watch over and care for one or more children in addition to yourself. Any steps you take in advance to simplify your time in the airport can make the trip easier.

One of the first steps to take when flying is to check in for your flight online or through your airline’s mobile app if they offer one. These check-ins usually open 24 hours in advance and also provide the opportunity to check your seat reservations and make any changes to your luggage.

2. Make Inquiries in Advance

Air regulations for minors are different than those that apply to adults. If you’re unsure about any part of the flying process, especially any element having to do with security checks, ask airport, airline or TSA staff in advance as appropriate.

For example, you might want to contact your airline to ensure that you can check your stroller gate side before boarding the plane. This option would enable you to use the stroller during your layover without struggling to store it in an overhead bin.

3. Consider Family Logistics

Before your trip, discuss logistics with any other adults who will be traveling with you. Think about the best ways to ensure that each of your children has the comfort, supervision and care that he or she needs at any given time.

If possible, assign an adult or an older child to each of your younger children. This decision streamlines the security process, as well as bathroom breaks, flight boarding and travel within the airports themselves.

4. Keep Your Kids Informed

In addition to teaching each of your children to pop his or her ears while in the air, you should also endeavor to prepare your children for what they might encounter in the airport. Use the information you received in step two to ensure that your children have an idea of what to expect when going through security.

You may also want to give your children estimates of how long each flight and layover will last. You can use easy-to-track media items to help your children get a sense of how long they’ve been in one place. For example, if you have a two and a half hour flight, the plane will most likely land shortly after your child’s favorite movie ends.

5. Know Your Itinerary

When you travel by plane, you may spend as much time waiting as you actually do in flight. However, this extra time is often crucial, especially when caring for inexperienced child travelers who may easily become fatigued, stressed or overstimulated. Arrive at least two hours early to your departing airport. And if possible, book flights with layovers that are longer than one hour.

6. Investigate Your Airports

Many airports offer amenities specifically for travelers in complex situations. Check if any of the airports that you’ll spend a significant amount of time at have designated play places, nursing rooms or child care that could improve your layover. Additionally, you may want to see if you can find the charging station, bathroom and relatively secluded quiet area nearest your assigned gate for easy access with your children.

7. Organize Your Belongings

As discussed in section one, any steps you can take to simplify your air travel will make the trip easier for you and your children. Before you arrive at the airport, take inventory of your personal bags and organize them as much as possible.

For example, packing all liquids, including baby formula or breast milk, together ensures that you don’t spend extra time at the security checkpoint pulling each of these items out of your bag. Group snacks, toiletries and entertainment items together as well.

Use these guidelines to ensure that air travel provides an efficient way for you to get to your new home rather than an additional source of stress for you and your family during this transition.

For expert help with all your moving needs, trust Wheaton World Wide Moving.

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