Planning a family vacation? Vinnie Van GO asked family travel expert Grainne Kelly for tips!
Spring and summer are almost here and that means – it’s family travel time…time to book those hotel reservations and airline tickets and get the kids ready for the trek to a fun family destination. This can be a perfect time for family bonding, however, keeping the kids entertained, calm, and safe while spending hours on flights or at the airport, can be challenging. So here’s the scoop on some ways to keep the kids happy and secure throughout the entire travel experience.
Let Children help Pack and be Responsible for Their Own Bags – Allow them to pick out a couple of things that they really want for entertainment. It might be a book, an electronic device, or even one of the many travel games that are available. Keeping them occupied on the flight will make the trip more pleasant for everyone on the flight. When you get to the airport let the children be responsible for their own bag or small backpack with their chosen goodies. The smaller the child, the smaller the pack, but everyone carries their own. If the children are carrying their own stuff they get to feel grown-up, it’s less for you to carry and more hands free to direct them safely onto trains, escalators, etc
Purchase or Make ID Bracelets for Each Child – A great safety item for parents in crowded airports is a child’s ID bracelet with your phone number on it. The personal information is written on the INSIDE of the bracelet for privacy. There are also some great products out there which warn you if your child strays too far.
Security – Getting the whole family through security can seem like a nightmare but it doesn’t have to be. Send each child one at a time. Remind each child they are responsible for their own bags, older children should place their carry-on through the x-ray machine. Go over with the kids what they can expect during the security check before arriving and remind them again while standing in the line. Knowing what to expect will make the process go much smoother.
Flying with Babies and Toddlers –—If you’re traveling with small kids/babies, you will definitely want to sit in the bulkhead seats. Most bulkhead seats leave more room for kids to move around. The bathroom is nearby since you’re in the front of the plane, and some bulkheads even have airline provided bassinets for babies. The BubbleBum inflatable booster seat is also ideal for these trips. Even a taxi ride is made safer with the quick inflating seat, so that no matter where you are in the world, your child’s safety while on the plane or in the car is something you can check off your list.
Ground Transportation – Bring an inexpensive umbrella-type stroller for use in airports with toddlers. If you have layovers between flights, you will be thankful you have one should your toddler get tired of walking. Umbrella strollers are easy to fold up and bring through security. If you will need a stroller during the trip, check that one to your final destination. Of course, if the kids can handle walking a long distance, it may be possible to travel without a stroller and have one less thing to haul around.
Have a Plan B—What do you do if flights are delayed or your family misses a connection? Pack for these types of emergencies by having each child bring a couple of things that they really want for entertainment. It might be a book, an electronic device, or even one of the many travel games that are available. Also pack plenty of healthy snacks in your carry on bag. Keeping them occupied during these unplanned times will be worth the extra baggage.
About Grainne Kelly and BubbleBum
Grainne Kelly is a Safe Kids USA certified CPST, travel expert, and the inventor of BubbleBum, the first ever inflatable booster seat, which has made traveling easier than ever! BubbleBum was twice announced as an IIHS (Insurance Institute of Highway Safety) “Best Bet” in their booster seat evaluation report, where they branded BubbleBum as one of the best for safety! BubbleBum website.