November 24, 2008

Holiday Travel Tips & Etiquette

Traveling for the Holidays can be quite a hassle, especially with young children. Here is a brief review of plane etiquette as well as tips on how to make your travels as pleasant as possible for all involved:

Plane Etiquette:
  • Keep your seat upright during meal times. This allows those behind you to use their trays comfortably.
  • Feel free to recline your seat throughout the rest of the flight, but not all of the way. There is a very small amount of personal space on planes, so be mindful of how much you claim as your own at the expense of other passengers.
  • If you are traveling with children, explain to them the importance of good behavior and be sure to bring enough activities to keep them occupied the duration of the flight (see suggestions below). Be careful that they do not kick the back of the seat in front of them as this can be an annoyance to other passengers.
  • If you notice that a family with small children has been separated due to flight seating, you may want to consider offering your seat to better accommodate them.
  • Most of all, be kind and courteous to those around you. No matter how long your flight, it’s always best to keep things as pleasant as possible for all involved.

Tips for Traveling with Children:

On a Plane:
  • If you are sending your car seat through baggage, be sure to wrap it in a trash bag first. This will keep it from getting dirty or wet should it rain. It is also a good idea to pack your clothes in an air-tight bag for extra protection. Try these from Ziploc.
  • Make baggage claim a breeze by investing in brightly colored luggage tags and tying a bright colored ribbon around the handles of your bags. You’ll be able to differentiate your bags from the others right away.
  • Bring along things that you know will hold your child’s attention like a new book, a portable DVD player or handheld electronic games.
  • Traveling can be a bit scary to little ones. Be sure to bring along your child’s lovey for extra comfort.
  • If you are taking a flight with an infant, you can prevent the discomfort of ear popping during take-off and landing by bottle or breastfeeding. I’ve found my Bebe Au Lait nursing cover to be incredibly helpful for private nursing while in flight. For older children, a piece of chewing gum will suffice.
  • If you are flying with a toddler, consider packing cheerios for a snack as not all airlines have tot friendly foods. It would also be wise to bring along an empty sippy cup and ask the attendant for juice once on board.

In the Car:
  • Consider playing car games as a family. Car bingo or I Spy are two popular games.
  • Be sure to take breaks here and there to stretch out your legs and give your children a chance to get out of their seats.
  • Pack a small cooler for drinks and snacks so that you will not have to stop as often.
  • Take along a pack of mints to ease the tummy of a carsick child.

Wishing you safe and happy travels!

(Do you have any tips you’d like to share with our readers? Leave a comment with your advice.)