Tips for traveling with kids and holidays

Written by By Staff Writer

Flying with your kids this summer? Relax, it may be a good idea for you to make plans in advance.

Traveling with kids and holidays have the same benefits — total messiness and wildly disparate wants and needs that can leave you feeling like an overwhelmed parent/child hybrid.

Researchers at AARP interviewed over 2,000 adult travelers to examine how folks managed schedules and travel between school and work, or, staying in, to boot. Here’s a taste of what they found:

Run your holiday vacations like you do your “real life.” Make sure to have separate conversations with kids at the airport, on the plane and during leisure time. Don’t try to juggle them all. Instead, separate conversation by major activities (e.g., museums, beaches) rather than attempt to get everything done at once.

Keep the playlist rolling. If your kids are starting to get antsy over a chosen playlist, take a break from it and keep coming back to something new.

Don’t worry about how to have fun at the beach — just let them go nuts. Research suggests that kids need less supervision and supervision from mommy than they did in their younger years. That’s all the more reason to leave them for a bit, taking in the ocean as best you can.

Keep in mind that being in the air at a decent altitude will help facilitate the search for your kids. If you have a large contingent of young kids that require more attention at a family gathering, try to schedule them in one area — typically a dinner-and-dance experience — and leave a tiny handful of space in the family room for a playdate elsewhere.

Be realistic about where they’ll go after you pick them up. While it can be a relief to take an off-season trip after having had kids, it’s not always feasible for that particular trip. For example, if you’re flying with a child younger than 2 and returning to a rural area with limited access to childcare facilities, don’t expect the child to do the exploring themselves. Children might need help driving through or stowing some of their stuff. Make a plan for the day you plan to return.

Set realistic expectations for the length of your flight. Probably the biggest frustration for parents is that the initial flight time is rarely what was originally estimated (and often drags out for hours). If you’re going to an isolated area or to visit museums that aren’t open year-round, consider booking a late day flight to offer your kids a chance to make their way over to the museum once you arrive.

Check the International Air Transport Association’s approved calendar for announced timing and available space for kids to choose from during the winter and summer holidays. If a family is camping or traveling internationally, check with the local authorities to see what required adjustments can be made to ease the difficulties kids might encounter in terms of food, lodging, access to nature, etc.

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