I will be traveling with my 3 & 4 year old children soon and have a four hour airport stop over. Can you please give me some tips on how I can survive this!
Thanks for your question Holly!
From personal experience, my advice when it comes to traveling with children (whether it be to the shops or international travel) is the same:
They get hungry, bored, tired, restless and need the washroom frequently – and this usually follows a pattern every couple of hours.
With a little preparation, traveling can go from a stressful experience to a great adventure for all! Here are some of my top tips for surviving lengthly airport stopovers.
Always make sure your children are aware of what to do if they become lost within the airport and how to seek help. I have seen some small children wearing a lanyard which has their name, age, address and a contact cell phone number tucked inside their t-shirt. If you are worried about being separated in crowded areas, you can purchase wrist band devices which will sound an alarm when your child is either out of range or it is removed.
Traveling with children provides you with the opportunity of seeing things in a new light, so take it slowly and remember you cannot expect little children to be seen and not heard. Your children may become frightened and anxious at times, so don’t forget their favorite teddy or blanket when they get tired and frustrated.
Are you a member of the airline’s frequent flyer or VIP Club? If not, check if you can buy a pass to use their facilities. Free food, TV and spacious washrooms will be appreciated by any mom traveling with toddlers.
Check the airport website and print out the map. Some airports offer children’s play areas which can be a great help!
There are some great looking nappy/diaper bags out there which have lots of little pockets to hold everything from pain relief to a spare pair of clothes. Your children may be past the nappy stage, but these bags are built with kids in mind.
Pack small zip-lock bags of food. Chopped fresh and dried fruit, vegetable sticks, savory biscuits and little sandwiches will be a godsend, not only to your pocket, but also the convenience of having them available when you hear those words, “I’m hungry.”
Take small plastic water bottles, which can be filled at the water fountain.
Find other families to sit with. Your children will appreciate some new playmates and it is amazing how much mothers share in common.
Pack a few favorites, but don’t give them out all at once. Kids are tech savvy these days, so pack the iPod and iPad and download a few new programs. Coloring books with some thick colored crayons will not go astray.
Go for a walk around the airport lounge. Plane spot and look for anything interesting in the shops. If you can find an area for your children to have a run and let out some energy, all the better. Just make sure that this is out of the way and doesn’t annoy staff or other passengers.
Dress your children in comfortable clothing. Remember, airports can be cold, so t-shirts, track pants and fleece tops are great choices. Pack a spare pair of clothes in case of accidents.
Don’t forget the wetwipes for noses, hands and clothing spills.
MEET AND ASSIST
Take advantage of the Meet and Assist services which can be provided by the airport, if staff are available. Airport staff will assist you at check in and you will be given priority to get on and off the plane.
Above all, approach your stopover with patience and consideration to your children, as well as to other passengers. With a little preparation and creativity, you can travel with your children and enjoy the experience.