Traveling with little ones can be a joy even in the airport. The Neighbors wife gives you tools to have an enjoyable time.
- Don’t leave home undocumented: If you are going abroad have passports, visas, green cards and credit cards. Make sure to make a copy of all these documents and leave them with someone you trust. Also if you traveling alone with your child make sure you bring a notarized letter from your spouse that gives you permission.
- Make reservations: Don’t wing it. Sometimes the goal of your trip is to be on an adventure so go ahead and plan nothing. But travel for Thanksgiving is all about efficiency and getting to your destination rested. Reserve hotel stays, rental cars, shuttles, campgrounds in advance. Try to schedule your flights so that you get up and go to bed at approx. the same time. Some families like being on the airplane when it’s your kids nap time.
- Bring Nothing: Pack light, leave the extra at home. When traveling with kids we think it is essential to bring every single thing that would make life easier but it actually makes life harder at the airport, in taxis and shuttling around. If you did not bring enough t-shirts or diapers you can always buy more. Food is available everywhere around the world. You need to bring your car seats but think of those as your only required item. Most cities have pharmacies with toothbrushes.
- Get there early, early, early: We like to get to the airport with enough time to check in, get into security and still have 1 1/2 hours. I know it sounds crazy but think of this. If you go and get a nice quiet lunch, then play some relay running games in a empty part the airport ( or can visit one of the playgrounds at the airport) and then take time to go to the bathroom, change diapers, etc. You get on the plain relaxed, not rushed or stressed and your kids will be calm. We have been on more than 20 airplanes with kids with no melt down.
- Change your attitude: This really works. My husband always got sick and stressed and exhausted at the airport, then I talked him into looking at the trip to the airport as our destination and a time to enjoy together as a family. This has made a world of difference. We head to the airport thinking we are going to some fun recreation activity.
I could go on forever with tips but start with these and see how it goes for you this Thanksgiving. Remember the airport is an amazing place where different cultures intermix, airplanes fly, and people are starting great adventures.
Heidi Ahrens is not the neighbor’s wife of your dreams, but with her background in education, outdoor recreation, and parenting, she may be the one to give you the figurative spanking that will make you spend more quality, healthful time with your family. Don’t worry — her advice and tips are not scientifically proven, they are based on her work on OutdoorBaby.net, her life as a stay-at-home-mom to two young girls, and as the wife of a pretty cool guy.