We've all been there: a poor kid having a meltdown in the seat next to you, parents trying their hardest to soothe. We here at Travelzoo were curious about the mindset of fellow passengers and did a survey that found 65% of travelers will offer help and a smile to the parents of a crying baby. However, when it comes to slightly older flying companions, the data shows 65% of respondents get upset when there is a disruptive child on the flight.
And, when asked to choose which is worse: a delayed flight or crying baby in an adjoining seat, 79% said a delayed flight is worse. And of those we asked, one-quarter of Americans said they would pay more to sit in an adults-only cabin -- but only for a nominal $25 fee.
We've spent so much time thinking about flying as a family, we called in more experts. There's no doubt that flying with little ones -- whether it's a quick 90-minute flight or a long-haul across the Atlantic -- can be a pretty daunting task for parents. Along with the tips our Chicago deal expert Megan has learned along the way, we wanted to get in touch with a bunch of experts -- five moms who live it and then write about it for a living.
Here's what they had to say:
When traveling I always pack a magic pen painting book of my kids' current animated character craze. It's a fun and easy way for my kids to paint on an airplane without the mess of using real markers. The colors instantly appear when they color with the mess-free marker, making my 2 year old's scribbles look like masterpieces. My 5-year-old son can easily color through the whole book on our six-hour flight to the grandparents' house. Just make sure to have an extra one handy for your return flight home.
Honestly, the best things I can tell a parent getting ready for a trip are really threefold- 1- DO NOT forget the snacks. No one likes a hangry kid- they are miserable (and so are mom and dad, who get as growl-y as their stomachs!). 2- This is not the time to try leaving the pacifier, blankie, or stuffed toy at home to "see how they do." And if they are used to sleeping with a night light, bring one. Travel is not the time to shake up bedtime, they are already overly stimulated and out of their element. 3- Don't try to do everything. It's not possible, and everyone will be tired and overwhelmed. Pick what you like to do best, and really enjoy your time as a family. No one wants to come home from vacation feeling like they need a break.
Want to ensure a fun and stress-free vacation with the kids? Bring along their best friends! Anything becomes a magical adventure when you have your favorite pals by your side. Parents no longer have to perform 24 hours a day in an attempt to entertain their brood. Bliss! Downtime and adult conversation - here we come!! Talk about a win-win!
A game changer for me when I flew to Los Angeles with my three children alone was purchasing Tropic Of Candycorn's travel bags. They are individual backpacks for your children filled with tons of things to keep them busy throughout a flight. I was amazed at how much time their bag of goodies occupied them, and it wasn't just for the flight going as they were still entertained on the way home too!
Honestly my best tip is to wear masks. Your kids can decorate them with funny faces if they are young and want to make it more fun. We fly a lot for our YouTube channel, and I have had to wear masks for a few years due to my MS treatments that depress my immune system. I realized that Gracie and Daddy were both catching colds either on vacation or right afterwards and, after poor Gracie had to miss Disney Day at Vidcon because she had a fever, I made masks mandatory for the whole family!!
No one wants to be sick for the holidays and with so many kids traveling this time of year the planes are extra germy!! Here is a photo of us on the plane to Orlando last month.