I have affiliate links in this post, because those triangle crayons are the greatest thing since someone sliced bread.
Are you traveling for spring break?
Tips for Airline Travel with Children
For this one, I had to get help. I actually fly very little, and have only flown once with my children. I’m excited for this interview with Linda Formichelli of Renegade Writer Press, freelance writer, writing coach, speaker…and world traveler.
I have followed Linda’s useful writing tips and advice for years and worked with her as a student of one of her writing courses. She knows what it means to have a full (and yes, busy) life. Last year she wrote and sent me How to Do it All: The Revolutionary Plan to Create a Full, Meaningful Life – While Only Occasionally Wanting to Poke Your Eye Out with a Sharpie. Who can resist a title like that?
Along with her teaching and extensive writing, Linda has traveled on LONG airplane flights with her son. She is sharing her experiences and tips for other parents here, tips I haven’t seen before about flying with families.
Traveling Tips: Q & A with Linda Formichelli
Parents hear lots about what to pack for an airplane ride. You’ve traveled long distances with a child. What don’t we hear about as often that has worked for you?
- Food! Lots and lots of food. Even though you can order a kid’s meal on most airlines, chances are your kid will still not like the food. Once, on a flight back from Germany, the breakfast consisted of a muffin, cookies, a candy bar, and a fruit cup. My child was just five, and even he wouldn’t touch that stuff for breakfast. Another time, flying to Japan, there was no food service at all between the early dinner and the breakfast—ten hours later.
- We also like to pack a smaller cooler bag inside our carry-on bag. WE fill it with dry snacks, olives, cheese and crackers, dried fruit, and trail mix. Families should keep in mind that security won’t allow liquids or gels, so stay away from semi-liquids like yogurt, hummus, and apple sauce.
- If you’re bringing a mobile device to keep your kid occupied, don’t forget to also bring a child-sized set of earphones (the ear buds from airlines don’t work very well for kids). No one else on the plane wants to hear Toy Story 3 on max volume.
- If you’re going on an overnight flight or long flight, bring slippers for your child. They can kick off their shoes and still have protection from the grossness of the airplane floor.
- If your child likes to draw, buy a set of triangular crayons. These are easier to grip and they won’t roll off the tray table.
What are your suggestions for parents when a child is making noise, fussing, crying for awhile on a long flight?
- I’m actually not sure it’s a good idea to worry about your kid making noise. We’ve all been on a plane when this happens and most other passengers know that’s what kids sometimes do. Do what you can to keep a child entertained, but don’t dissolve into fear and shame if your kids acts up a bit. The tension makes it worse for everyone. Sometimes you might experience the worst meltdown imaginable, but remember that in a year, you’ll probably look back on it and laugh.
What are a couple of ways to prepare children for a long flight?
- I found an engaging story that helps prepare children for traveling on an airplane; it details the journey, rather than destination and is told from a young child’s perspective: I’m a Good Little Traveler DVD Series Toolkit. The premise of the DVD Toolkits is that children, even small ones, have the capacity to understand what to expect and what is expected of them. The Tookits are recommended for children, ages 2 to 6.
- If your child has a comfort item, like a stuffed animal, takes measures to make sure it won’t get left behind. We attached a tag to the collar of my son’s stuffed bear and used a ribbon to attach it to the zipper tab on his backpack.
What’s your advice for traveling with children on an airplane?
For my writerly friends: in addition to traveling and teaching and writing, Linda Formichelli has created a Volume Marketing Challenge for Freelance Writers. The March 2017 is closed, but you can subscribe to her waitlist.