Travelling with kids?
There are things in life where you really only become thankful to your parents as you get older. You realize the work they put in to give you things or do things for you. Well, I was lucky enough to have a youth filled with trips around the world. Every summer, winter, or spring break we would be either in the Philippines, Europe, Mexico, Hawaii…or somewhere we could drive to like Lake Tahoe. Experiences that helped mold how I travel with my family today.
So, I have been dubbed the "Airport Hitler". An interesting story which I will get into later. (I don’t necessarily agree nor like the name, but it has stuck.)
To give you an idea of my routine, when I travel I like to get in and out, as fast as possible. I don’t like lingering in lines or wandering about. I would much rather spend the free time roaming the city I am in or working before I leave. This is much easier to do when you are traveling alone. This being said, how do I achieve this when I travel with my wife and four kids?
Finally ready to exit the gate and begin our adventure.
Now, back to the Airport Hitler moment, it happened on a trip I took with my family and my cousins’ family, we were headed to Hong Kong to bring the kiddos to Disneyland. Imagine Georgia already highly stressed because she knows how neurotic I can be in an airport, add a couple kids to the mix and the stress levels go through the roof. We get to the airport and she’s already complaining to my cousin and his wife about how orderly things have to be when we get there…how things have to be done in my step-by-step routine. Needless to say, immediately upon hearing and seeing me in action, my cousin called me the Airport Hitler.
End of the day, they can call me anything they want, as long as your goal is to get through the airport, as fast and as orderly as possible, you can follow some of these tips below.
Note that when travelling with a child you get a few perks, so make sure the people see you have a child or feel free to approach anyone from the airline for assistance.
Even at arrivals, we try to keep the kids disciplined
but comfortable to make the process as fast and efficient as possible.
1. Bring a pen with you.
2. Online check-in, if available. This allows you to get to the airport as late as possible. Less time for your children to act up or create issues.
3. Once you get to the airport search out someone from the airline that you’re traveling on and ask for assistance. They will point you to the priority lanes in order for you to check-in your bags without having to line up.
4. Important: While one parent is checking in the other uses their pen to fill out the immigration cards. Find an area where you can have the kids sit down while you fill out the cards. The reason for this is that there are so many stop and start points in the airport for security purposes, kids can tend to get restless and either start fighting or running around. At the same time, you don’t waste any time as your partner is checking in. The fewer moments you have to stop the better. So do this all at one point, for me check-in is the ideal place to do so.
5. Many times immigration will have a priority lane when you are traveling with children…its been so long since I’ve travelled with one child, I’m not sure if you get the same perk but the past 2 trips with my children they have sent us through the priority lane bypassing the long line.
6. Get to the boarding area and claim your space. One parent at a time can go get coffee or shop if they like but the kids need to be settled in first. At this point you can start to relax.
7. You can priority board with kids as well. Personally, when I fly alone, I like to be the last on the plane. But conversely when you have kids, you want to get them into their seats, as soon as possible.
8. On the plane they hand out immigration cards for when you land; again, use the pen you brought to fill them out straight away. Both parents can help as I find that it can take up a lot of time. Once you get off the plane you can go straight to immigration without having to stop. Especially knowing that there may be a priority lane that you can go through with the kids. Again, don’t forget you want to limit the amount of times you have to stop in an airport with children.
9. Lastly, pick up your luggage and you’re ready to go to your destination.
*If you notice I didn’t place bringing a tablet in there for the kids to use. I like trips to be a family bonding experience and I want to limit the amount of time that they are on tablets. However, I do bring one as a last resort in the event the kids get completely unruly…but the game we play is a family game called Heads Up.
This is as easy as it gets…you just have to pray that your kids don’t have “one of those days”.