Frankie Wallace is a freelance journalist with an interest in aviation news and politics. Wallace graduated from the University of Montana’s Journalism School and currently resides in Boise, Idaho. The views expressed in this article are solely his.
Travel can be an exciting adventure for every member of your family. Whether it’s the occasional overseas trip or an annual trip to grandma and grandpa’s, spending time together in a new place creates lasting memories that your kids are sure to talk about for years to come.
Of course, with that being said, there is the obvious challenge of actually boarding the plane and getting to said destination without a complete meltdown or disaster. To be fair, planes can be rather intimidating to your child — especially if it’s their first time on one. While you might look forward to the adventures ahead, you’re likely dreading the journey through the air.
In order to reduce as much stress as possible, it’s worth brushing up on some helpful tips to make the flight easier on everyone. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Schedule Q&A Time Pre-Flight
The first, and probably most important step is to have a sit down with your children and explain to them exactly what to expect. Not only does this lessen some of the fear of the unknown, but it also grants them time before take off to ask questions, express their emotions, and get a better grasp on why things like turbulence happen. Getting ahead of those in-flight surprises will ensure you all have a smooth journey.
Packing is likely to be your second biggest challenge. You’ve got to manage packing all the necessities as well as being prepared for the unexpected and still be underweight according to your airline restrictions — quite the feat. It’ll be worth compiling a must-have carry-on items checklist to ensure you don’t leave any essentials behind. Some items worth including are:
- Photocopy of your passport
- Hand sanitizer
- Pain relievers like ibuprofen as well as antihistamines
- A pair of socks
- Head/neck pillow
- Reading material
- Sleep aids
- Sweater or a travel blanket
- Eye mask and ear plugs
- Extra set of clothing
Of course you should always tailor your list to your family’s needs, but having a good base to start with can make the whole process just a bit easier.
Once onboard, before take off, it’d be worth talking with your children one last time. Once they are more familiar with the inside of the plane, they are likely to understand those essential rules of air travel a bit better. Safety is the number one priority for everyone onboard, and while your kids might be used to car or bus rides, explain to them that just like other types of accidents, injuries can happen in many different ways while up in the air.
Having your child listening to the flight attendant’s instructions, paying attention to seatbelt lights, and of course listening to you, can all contribute to a safer, easier ride. Showing them the way to be a responsible passenger will reduce chances of injury as well give them a better appreciation for air travel.
Cultivating a Travel Interest
Traveling as a family can be stressful at times, but know that you are giving your children many invaluable experiences. Everyone remembers their first flight. Furthermore, traveling is an enriching experience that can cultivate a love for flying and sightseeing. It may even inspire your kids to become pilots someday. In fact, there is actually a growing need for pilots right now, making this a great career path for them down the road.
Planes are constantly changing and advancing, meaning your family travel plans don’t have to always be such an ordeal. With the right preparations, you and your family can enjoy each adventure you embark on. While you can’t always expect smooth sailing, you can be well prepared to handle whatever gets thrown your way. Good luck!
Featured image by Steven Coffey via Uplash