Smart Family Vacation Travel Tips...
To Make Your Airport Experiences Quick and Easy
very busy summer air travel season is forecast, as rising gas
prices send many families to their destinations by plane this
Full flights are anticipated, making planning ahead essential.
Packing expert Susan Foster, author of Smart Packing for Today's
Traveler, offers these ten tips for smart family travel...
1. Start early using airfare comparison sites to research the cheapest airfares. Try Travelocity, Kayak.com and other reputable sites, and be sure to sign up for each site's newsletter to snag the most current airfare deals.
seats when you make the reservation. This is the only way
to ensure that you will be seated together. Waiting until you
arrive at the airport will scatter each of your family members
throughout the plane, or will require asking other passengers
to accommodate you by moving seats when they are trying to get
boarding passes before leaving for the airport. If you have
booked online, this option is generally available 24 hours in
advance of the flight and will save standing in a check-in line
at the airport.
light. Many airlines are charging $25 - $50 each way for checked
bags weighing 50 pounds or more. Weigh each bag at home on a bathroom
scale before leaving for the airport so you can lighten the load.
Also measure each bag before packing as no bag may be over 62"
based on linear measurement of length + width + depth. Larger
bags may incur a large fee. Consider packing into two smaller
bags in place of one large one.
less. Organize what each family member wants to pack far in
advance to allow time to wash favorite things and to encourage
participation by each person. This minimizes complaints upon arrival,
as each was part of the packing decisions. Plan to find a coin-operated
laundry half way through the trip so you can pack half as much
clothing. Tucking in a self-sealing plastic bag of laundry detergent
saves money and hassles.
your suitcase by grouping similar clothing items into containers:
socks in one container, underwear in another. Self-sealing plastic
bags of various sizes are perfect for this and are a travelers'
best friend! Children's clothing is easily packed by
folding or rolling an entire day's outfit together--pants, tee-shirt,
underwear and socks--and tucking them into a self-sealing bag.
Pop the dirty items back into the bag at the end of the day to
isolate soiled clothing from clean.
into as few suitcases as possible -- the more bags the greater
the chance that one will be misplaced or forgotten. Plus, a hefty
fee may be charged for additional checked bags. Airlines typically
allow one checked bags plus one carry-on per ticketed passenger
(young children who ride on a parent's lap are NOT considered
"ticketed"). Many families pack into community bags
of one adult with one child per bag; for a family of four this
means two checked bags plus carry-ons.
a backpack for each person (this will count as one carry-on).
Parents can manage children better if they are hands-free, so
purses and in-flight necessities are best carried in an adult
backpack. Kids fly quieter when entertained, so allow them to
choose their toys and to carry them. Smaller children manage better
passing through airports, airport security, and aircraft aisles
with small backpacks; bigger children can manage small rolling
bags that will fit under the seat.
your child's safety seat and stroller as carry-ons whenever
possible. Each airline has a slightly different ruling on traveling
with this gear, so call or visit your airline website to check
in advance so you won't have any surprises at the airport.
frequent flyer parents advise packing the following in your child's
games and extra batteries and travel-sized games
paperbacks are best!) and/or coloring/activity books and crayons
DVD player (however, battery length is usually only about 3
and slippers for a long flight (if children are comfortable,
they are more likely to sleep)
to suck on, water or juice to combat cabin pressure changes
during take off and landing
your child must have, such as a favorite blanket or bunny.
will spare your back and your budget and minimize baggage hassles.
Plan ahead, take less, and have a great vacation!