Lori’s 8 “kid travel” tips:

Traveling from Madison may be the most convenient for those of us in the Dane County area, but many destinations require a plane change en route.  Flying nonstop out of Milwaukee or Chicago can be more convenient in the end and may save you money with the competition of low-cost carries.  When making a connection it is best to have a good amount of time, at least an hour at most major airports.  If you have the choice of 39 minutes or 105 minutes, go for the 105 minutes.  Roaming around an airport for too long can cost money, at least with my kids.  Hunger starts to make its self shown and we end up buying food at airport prices.  Boredom can lead us into airport shops.  Next time you travel at least consider all your options.

Travel at a time of day that works best with your child’s schedule, especially with little ones.  If you are making a connection avoid the last flight of the day in case you get delayed.

Be sure to bring enough supplies.  For babies this means diapers and food.  For young children coloring books, hand-held games and sticker books work well.  Teenagers can keep themselves occupied pretty well with an iPod or similar device.  We play a card game with our kids that we usually just play when traveling.  Not only does the time pass quickly, it’s great bonding time.

Bring a small pillow or blanket along for each child so that they can sleep comfortably on the plane.  Many airlines have done away with this free service.

Dress for comfort and be sure to layer.  One minute it can be freezing and the next very warm.

Have each child bring a reusable water bottle in their carry-on.  Once you pass through security you can fill it up at the bubbler and have access to water anytime during your flight.  Make sure to pack some snacks as well.

Ear pain – my kids sometimes have a tough time with the pressure during landing.  I’ve found that giving them Afrin prior to take off and Motrin or Tylenol 1 hour before landing really helps ease the pain.  Before you do this please seek the advice of your child’s physician to make sure they approve.

The last thing is pack your patience and sense of humor.  Travel can be trying for anyone but its all worth it when you arrive and the vacation begins!

If you have tips that work well for you we’d love to hear them.