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Air Travel With Kids
The thought of air travel with young children can be daunting enough to scrap a trip. While there are some things that you absolutely cannot control, such as weather delays and who you get seated next to, there are a few things you can do to make the trip more enjoyable. The ideas below are suggested for babies-through-7 year olds, the ages we've found that provide the most challenging inside an airplane cabin.

Rent or buy a portable DVD player. "There goes another person telling us to spend more money" you say. But a portable DVD player can make all the difference in the world to keep your child occupied on a long flight. Keep in mind that you cannot use it before takeoff or prior to landing. Also, out of courtesy to your fellow passengers, always bring headphones so the businesswoman seated next to you doesn't have to listen to Dora for 2 hours.

Bring lots of snacks. Most airlines are not serving a meal on flights (at least in coach), and if they are it is a coldcut / cracker combo. Not appealing. Bring snacks that you know your kids like, and bring a new one out at various intervals. Don't forget about water, too, although keep in mind that you cannot carry liquids through security anymore. You'll need to buy your drinks inside the airport.

If you can, try to
travel during your kids best times. We have found that morning travel is by far the best time for our children to travel, even if it means waking up a bit early. They are just in a better mood to tolerate the ins-and-outs of travel at that time. If your child is accustomed to taking a 3 hour nap each afternoon, (I wish I was you... no, really) you may want to try to be in flight during that time, as it will allow for a quiet, relaxing flight once he/she falls asleep.

Direct flights are your friend. Saving $50 by connecting, when your traveling with kids, probably isn't worth it. When you connect, you obviously make the trip longer, and you exponentially increase your chances of something going wrong. A 1-hour delay on your flight is a nuisance on a direct flight, but can be extremely problematic when it means you'll miss a connection somewhere and won't get in until the next day.

Minimize total travel time. Sounds obvious, but many don't do it. If you are flying from Chicago, for example, you could make your trip to an area which has a connection and then an hour drive, or you could make it easy on yourself and fly to a place like Salt Lake, direct, with a 40 minute drive to Deer Valley upon landing (a reason we love Utah skiing). Save the remote outback destination for when the kids are older.

While we cannot promise that you will avoid delays or travel hassles, we an tell you from experience that using these tips will make the trip a better experience.