Family Travel Means Togetherness—Sometimes Too MuchJuly 2, 2009 By: Michael Browne
Why can't all traveling babies be as happy as this one?
After seeing this video on YouTube (see below) featuring an irate airline passenger and a mother of a noisy child who got into an on-board donnybrook, I had to wonder just how often that sort of thing happens. We’ve all been on flights where we’ve been irritated (all right, flat-out infuriated) by a misbehaving child. And many of us have also been unfortunate enough to be the parents of such a child. Either way it’s not a fun position to be in.
With summer being family vacation time, I thought it would be helpful to provide you home-based agents out there with a few tips you can share with your clients traveling with kids (with thanks to the fine folks at gurgle.com, whose travel page is a survival guide every parent should know about).
• Remember, boredom is the enemy. In order to avoid the constant wail of “Are we there yet?” keep the kids entertained. Old standbys like books and coloring books are always good, though today’s kids may lean more toward DVDs and portable video games—just make sure they’re the quiet kind of video games that won’t annoy fellow passengers with beeps, buzzes and explosions.
• Fly direct when possible; this will help reduce total travel time and eliminates the risk of missing a connecting flight.
• If you can fly overnight, do it; tire the kids out during the day and with any luck they’ll sleep for much of the flight.
• Even if a child is under the age of two it's probably worth getting a seat of their own. Toddlers are likely to become frustrated and wriggle when sitting on a parent’s lap for the whole flight—not to mention the comfort of the parent.
• For toddlers and babies, be prepared. Bring something for every eventuality—at least two changes of clothes, a snack, bottles, formula and diapers.
• Be realistic with your expectations: a long-haul flight with a young baby or toddler is unlikely to be an incredibly relaxing experience. Try to keep your sense of humor and remember that the flight won't go on forever. If you sense your child is getting restless or cranky, talk to him or her about the trip you are going on—what you will be doing, what you will see, who you are visiting. This will give them something to look forward to.
For more tips on traveling with the kids in tow, visit www.gurgle.com. Your clients will thank you, and even though they’re people you’ve never met, the other passengers will also thank you.