I’m not talking about trips with cute little babies that you feed and rock back to sleep. I’m talking about air travel with kids — the kind that walk, talk, and have the ability to make 45 trips to the bathroom in a three hour flight. If you’re heading on a family vacation anytime soon, here are some tips for surviving a flight with young children…
1. Pack an antihistamine. No, not for the kids; though if you want to drug your kids, I’m totally not judging you. The meds are for you, in the event that your kids are melting down and the flight attendants have not come by with the drink cart yet.
2. Never pre-board. This really isn’t hard to figure out; you and your children are going to be trapped in a tiny metal object for hours — do you think you should add on some extra time? Just for fun? NO. You do not want to board until the last possible second. Trust me, they are not going to take off while you are buckling your kid. When other passengers are starting to board, you need to have your kids burn off some excess energy. Never to early to start some cross-fit training in the airport lounge.
3. Wear elastic waisted pants; all of you. You are going to be in and out of those seats so much, and eating so many damn pretzels and Cheez-its, Lycra is your new best friend. As cranky as your 6 year old is, they will be 10,000 times crankier in jeans. And if you thought going through security was bad before kids, try scrambling through with toddlers and electronic devices as hostile travelers behind you send their plastic tubs sailing into yours, trying to hurry you along. Do you think you have time for your 6 year old to start trying to tie his shoes? No- this is the only time Crocs are an acceptable choice of footwear.
4. Get aisle seats: If you can’t get them, beg the person on the end of your aisle to trade. I can pretty much guarantee they’ll switch seats, given that your kids are going to be climbing over them over 13.2 minutes to go to the bathroom. Speaking of which, if your kid is under five, chances are they are going to be scared shitless (see what I did there?) of what appears to be a device that dumps your poop and pee directly into the air below the plane. So you’re going to have to go in there with them. And it will not be pretty. When you spend ten minutes maneuvering your three year old over the toilet and then holding her over the toilet while she poops, your’e going to gain a brand new respect for anyone who joins the Mile High Club.
5. Bring wipes. Remember how excited you were when your kids were done with diapers? And how you stopped buying baby wipes? That was stupid. You need them. You are going to de-plane with the remnants of every snack and meal your child eats during the course of the flight stuck to your clothes and hands. Sticky? It will look like you dipped yourself in a Jolly Rancher batter and then breaded yourself with crushed peanut butter crackers.
By the way, you know how people say don’t worry about other passengers, they’ve all been through this? That’s a lie. You can see from the look of fear in other passengers’ faces as you board, the inability to make eye contact while they silently pray “please let that little boy keep moving down the aisle.” Trust me, if your kid is acting up (or throwing up), somewhere on that plane there’s a passenger cursing you. Can you really blame them?
Related post: How to Survive Road Tripping With Kids