For smoother flights with your youngsters

Posted: August 05, 2012

When it comes to family vacations, flying with children is likely one of the largest logistical dragons you'll slay. From toddler tantrums and teen boredom to infant ear pain and stroller storage, the list of potential issues is long. I went to some of my favorite family travel gurus for advice.

Toddlers: Entertainment is the name of the game. As Wise Bread contributor Julie Rains shares, forgetting to factor this in can result in a fidgety flight. Her top tip? Pack headphones. Says Rains, "The crew ran out of them once on a flight from Arizona, and it was a long ride home." Thegoodtravellife.com's Tiffany Karabaich, on the other hand, favors low-fuss, easily packed classics like books, movies, and a traditional Etch a Sketch. She also prefers lollipops as a pain management tool for youngsters too old for a bottle. "It helps them continuously swallow to pop their ears," says Karabaich.

Teens: Catrell Cooney (Cooneyworldadventures.com) has successfully circled the globe with three teenage boys. Her approach includes taking fully charged electronic devices such as tablets and music players, double-checking teen packing jobs based on a pre-approved family checklist, and plenty of water. Also important is a significant snack supply.

Infants: Linsey Knerl, mother of five and founder of Knerl Family Media, is a pro at flying with infants. Because babies are categorized as lap passengers, advises Knerl, it's important to coordinate with the airline ahead of time and make sure that you are seated in a row with extra oxygen-mask availability. Her flight plan also involves researching the infant baggage policies of her chosen airline ahead of time. Some carriers charge fees for items such as strollers and supply bags.

Allergies: Robyn Nickerson Skvorak, a food-allergy awareness advocate, packs an allergy response kit and a doctor's note detailing the severity of her child's allergies. Communicating with the airline ahead of time, and again at departure, typically results in early boarding privileges. Nickerson uses this time to wipe down surfaces in the multi-row buffer zone provided by the airline, to remove allergen residue.


To comment, e-mail TravelTalk@phillynews.com.

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