Traveling With Kids: How to Step off the Plane Stress-Free
Some of the happiest and most enduring memories in life are made on family trips. Your kids will never forget their first trip to an innovative Space Center, an invigorating pro sports game or, an enchanting aquarium or zoo. But plane travel can also be quite stressful- from security lines, to delays, to missed layovers, to turbulence, we’re all subject to a degree of uncertainty even with the best-laid plans. When you add kids to the mix, the stress is magnified, since they can’t always control their emotions when hunger, boredom, or irritability kick in.
While we’re all at the mercy of flight patterns and weather, an ounce of planning for when we step off the plane can start a trip off on the right foot. Dragging your kids through a noisy taxi line or waiting on a hotel shuttle only amplifies any travel stress you’ve already endured. And when your kids bound off the plane starving or restless, you’ll want to be prepared. Luckily, there are easy solutions to leave travel stress at the door of the plane, and set off on a smooth vacation. Take a look at 3 tips that will make your vacation one you look back on with fondness, rather than regret.
A plane flight with kids, no matter the length, is always a bit too long. There’s the initial excitement when they climb onboard and take off on their adventure. But it’s not long before cabin pressure, a bumpy ride, or an antsy feeling sets in and you start counting down the minutes until landing. A long taxi or shuttle line to get to your hotel is one hassle you don’t need after your flight. Taxis can be dirty and lack sufficient luggage space. Some even have ineffective seatbelts and aggressive drivers, which can be frightening for small kids, as well as their parents. Hotel shuttles run on a specific timeline that might not correspond with your arrival, and often face unexpected delays.
When you hire a chauffeur through a professional car service, you eliminate all those headaches. Professional chauffeurs are scheduled to pick up you, and only you, so there are no delays in your schedule. They will be ready and waiting when your plane touches down, to assist with your luggage. You are welcomed into a clean and spacious vehicle with amenities like fresh beverages and umbrellas for loading in the rain. They are experts at navigating traffic smoothly and safely, so that you arrive quickly, without a jarring ride. Chauffeurs elevate the experience so travel-weary kids and parents feel pampered stepping into a luxury vehicle especially reserved for them. You can sit back and relax so you’re ready to enjoy your trip.
The pleasant transportation doesn’t have to stop when you arrive at the hotel. Professional car services can chauffeur you wherever you’d like to go on your trip, and keep your vacation running smoothly. They take the hassle out of travel, so you can focus on making the memories.
Your family might step off the plane eager to hit the first hot spot. But depending on the age of your kids and the flight experience, they may need a little downtime. It’s best to be prepared for either outcome. Book a reservation at a local restaurant that is sure to win their favor. But also Google the nearest take-out or grocery options, should staying in be more appealing, since you can easily cancel a reservation. Plan an outing that will allow them to burn off pent-up energy, such as a zoo or bowling alley, that doesn’t require advance ticket purchase in case they’re more in need of a nap.
While you and your spouse may be tempted to try the newest 5-star restaurant or local winery, make sure that it caters to kids too. While it’s fun to indulge our inner foodie, or tour a historical landmark while on vacation, determine if your kids will be game for the outing. Some kids enjoy elevating their palate and trying new things, while others need a predictable routine to keep from getting cranky. The most memorable trips, with young kids in particular, are the ones with the least drama- so keep them engaged, rested, and fueled with food they will actually eat. They’ll tolerate “boring adult stuff” better when they aren’t tired or hungry. And remember to schedule another trip for just the two of you to see the city on your own terms.
A little prep goes a long way when you’re traveling with kids. But being over-prepared just means a bunch of extra junk to lug around that you might not even need. Prepare for the things that aren’t easy to take with you. For example, call the hotel on your ride from the airport to make sure your room will have the rollaway bed, crib, or mini-fridge you requested when you arrive. Pack a sweater or jacket for unexpected cool weather, since those aren’t always sold in hotel gift shops or convenience stores. But if the weather is warmer than anticipated, or your kids spill something on their outfit, it’s easy to pick up an extra t-shirt as a souvenir.
Bring the comforts of home, but keep it to the essentials. An iPad for the hotel room pares down your packing list by providing activities, bedtime stories, and kid-friendly shows. Bring their favorite stuffed animal or blanket, but no need to bring the whole entourage- after all, they may even pick up a new fluffy friend on the trip. Pack extras of prescription medicines, but if you will be near a drug store or market, you don’t need to bring your whole medicine cabinet. Painkillers and tummy medicines are good to have for the plane or the first night in the hotel, but no need to pack a huge supply, since even hotels carry these products.
Family travel is an important opportunity to break free from the daily grind and grow closer together. When you take the time off and make the investment in a trip, you want everything to go smoothly. After all, this is your chance to leave work, school, and housework behind, so you don’t want travel to be a chore. These simple steps will help ensure that you step off the plane and enjoy a stress-free vacation. Plan ahead for your transportation, entertainment, and comfort so that once you arrive, all that’s left to do is have fun!