I’m always looking for ways to make travel easier.
Since the birth of my twins, I’ve learned a lot about traveling with kids– from how to make the airport experience less of a hassle, to stocking your fridge and cupboards for a breezy return. Here’s a few easy tips to make travel easier.
Plan the Re-entry
Leaving before a big family vacation usually has you cleaning out the refrigerator (mine likes to break while I’m away). My tip? Also think about when you’ll be arriving back home f and what food you want on hand. Nothing crazy, just enough for one or two meals. No one likes to come home after 10 hours of being in transit just to turn around and buy milk.
Some of my faves to have on hand:
1. Fresh unopened Milk, yogurt and eggs actually have a long shelf life
3. Frozen vegetables and meals
4. Boxes of macaroni & cheese
At the Airport
The Urban Myth is that these guys disappeared after 9/11. Not true! These curbside airport angels are a blessing to a family traveling with four gargantuan pieces of checked luggage. Do you really need one more line to wait in while you’re finagling moving a family en masse through a crowded airport? Nope.
Remove all that commotion and just have Skycap take your bags. Check ahead to see if your airline offers this service, which you’ll find in most major airports. Skycaps are located outside of the terminal at drop-off and they will check you in, print tickets and take your bags totally free, although a tip is customary to tip $3 – 4 dollars per bag. Now you’ll get to remove one snaking slow line from the two others (Security and the life-saving coffee stop).
For the Plane
The real way to benefit from the Pre-board
If you’re traveling with two adults, you in good shape to take advantage of a parent’s best friend. Nope, it’s not getting your kids situated on the plane during pre-board. A better tactic is for Parent #1 to use pre-board to bring on gear and bags to secure overhead bins. Parent #2 waits until the last boarding zone is called, then brings on small children.
This does two things:
1. Wears children out making them more eager to sit down.
2. Removes them from what is the most stressful part of the plane ride. Lots of people shoving bags over their heads, soooo many announcements etc. Also, if children sit during the pre-board, they will be sitting for at least 45 minutes to an hour before take-off. You know that spells trouble!
At the Hotel
Ask about the concierge or business lounge.
In many hotels, there is a reserved floor with a dedicated and exclusive lounge area that provides meals, snacks and beverages throughout the day. Every hotel has different daily food presentations and asks a different price, but they all offer added convenience of breakfast as well as coffee, bottled water and snacks all day. Sometimes even alcohol is included or it’s an honor bar. There’s also the extra space to escape to when the hotel room gets a little snug.
This can tack on an extra $50 to $150 per room, but depending on how much you use it, it can make things a lot easier.
Things to ask your hotel:
- Exactly what the concierge lounge offers by way of meals and if it financially makes sense.
- If it’s open every day you are paying for it. Some business centric hotels won’t have it available on the weekends when all the road warriors are back home.
One Last Swim!
We all want to get that last swim or walk on the beach before we making the long trip home. However, no one wants to leave wet and sandy. Ask the hotel if there’s a Hospitality Suite. A lot of hotels (and especially resorts) offer a room reserved for guests to take a quick shower and get dressed after they’ve checked out. It’s best to ask beforehand or at check-in time. There’s usually a time limit and it’s customary to tip housekeeping.
What are some of your go-to lifesavers when traveling with kids? Share in the comments!