45 Secrets for Fabulous Family Vacations

Come Fly With Me

traveling with kids

Don't stop. Check with a travel agent so you can fly off-peak and avoid congested airports. Generally, off-peak times are Tuesday through Thursday, plus late at night, very early in the morning, and mid-morning. The busiest and most congested airports in the U.S. include New York's LaGuardia and Chicago's O'Hare.

Sit smart.Travelers with babies and toddlers are often advised to sit in the plane's bulkhead because it has extra room. We avoid it, though, because there's no room under the seat for a carry-on bag, and we need easy access to our toys, snacks, drinks, and wipes during takeoff and landing.

Say "I'm sorry." Apologize for any disturbances that your children may cause. Generally, it's not a child's actions that most irritate other travelers, but the parent's indifference.

Carry a toothbrush. No matter how short your flight is, be prepared for the unimaginable: Keep enough food, clothing, and diapers with you for a 48-hour delay.

Play with her food. A few days before departing, call your airline to order a kid's meal. So what if she doesn't eat it? She'll be distracted for a few valuable minutes, and you may enjoy it more than your own.

Soothe earaches. To avoid and relieve ear pain when you take off and land, offer your child a pacifier or anything else that gets her to swallow. Yawning helps, too, so you may want to explain yet again how magnificent the Grand Canyon will be.

Do it tomorrow. Driving a rental car from the airport into a strange city is a major source of travel stress because most people arrive tired and disoriented. Instead, arrange to pick up the car at a city location or at your hotel after you've had a good night's sleep. (This can also save you money.) Don't forget to request a carseat if you didn't bring yours. And if you're renting in a foreign country, find out in advance if the car has seat belts in the back. Without them, a carseat is useless.

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