Kids are impatient by nature and that is why travelling with them can sometimes be an unpleasant experience. As a mother, I would rather bear the grant of agitated children than deal with the unpleasant feeling I get when I leave them behind. A friend once mentioned to me that she and her husband are putting off long distance travel until their kids are grown up. Well, that may work for some people, but why deny the kids the opportunity to travel when they are young? At the same time, why put your life on hold for so many years just because you are scared of dealing with the children.
My advice to other mothers is to travel with the kids as much as possible; surprisingly, you get used to it after doing it a few times. My extended family have lived in Seattle ever since I was little so SeaTac for me was initially a tourist attraction. The following tips work for me every time my kids have travelled with me on a flight;
I bring the car to the airport
This has never been an afterthought for me. Before I discovered Parkos car parking Seattle airport service, I would request my best friend to drive me to the airport. She would then take the car back home because I thought SeaTac airport parking was too expensive. Parkos has really helped in cutting down my cumulative travel expenses because they car does not have to make 4 trips to and from the airport for convenience – I pay for long term parking instead.
Public transport for me just never works and this is regardless of whether my husband is travelling with us or not. This is because I always travel with my own car seats to ensure that my kids use travel accessories they are used to (remember I mentioned the questions, they include why they are using things that belong to other people). I just recently learnt that SeaTac airport value parking costs less if billed weekly.
I prepare the kids psychologically
Every parent can resonate with the fact that kids ask a lot of questions and can get pretty apprehensive when given instructions by strangers. There is no shortcut around security screening so I try to prepare my kids early for the procedure. Sometimes I will do a serious talk about it before we leave the house but what works best is role playing on days leading up to the travel date.
I take them on a tour of the airport
We have had our flight delayed on numerous occasions and this is quite stressful because the kids will often turn to me for entertainment. My kids are still in the pre-school phase and I take advantage of their curiosity by walking with them around the airport terminal. For me, this is a chance to appreciate the more than 100 art pieces on display at the airport. There is too little to appreciate about good art but they will see other children, watch the airport boards turning and clap when the airport doors swing back without human intervention.
I make sure their tummies are full
This depends on how much time I have because I have had to deal with nausea and vomiting inflight because the kids fed too close to travel time. Luckily, SeaTac is home to many restaurants that offer kid’s friendly service. Avoid soups and sugary beverages because these are easy to upset the gut. Instead, opt for dry foods and meal options that are more of snacks. My best way around, is making sure that they are full to avoid carrying snacks on the flight. I have received weird glances on occasion for getting out a cracker or cookie jar but the same passengers enjoy the calm and quiet that can only be brought about by satisfied kids.
I stop over at the airport necessity stores
I sometimes forget what I have carried and what essential I might have forgotten. Very often I find that I do not buy souvenirs before travelling so that I can involve my kids in the process. The gift shops at Seattle Tacoma International airport offer a wide and unique selection of items to buy for loved ones. It is so much fun involving the children and so exciting afterwards when they brag to the recipient how they bought something for them.
I take advantage of the early boarding call
The early boarding call might not mean much to you when you are travelling alone. Most airlines will give priority to travelling with children to board the plane first so that they have a head-start with getting their luggage organized in the overhead compartment. I once ignored this call and it was to my own peril. Not only did I get some pissed-off looks from fellow passengers when I asked them to move for me to fix my luggage but also my kids did not give me much peace to do it either.
I make friends with other parents on the flight
This is something I do just to keep my sanity on the flight. Actually, I realized just recently that travelling with kids does not have to be a gloomy affair. You are certainly not going through an experience only unique to you and you are most definitely not the only one who is paying attention. I have noted over time that my kids will have mirror behaviors like that of other kids on a flight – that is normal but I would get so angry. Nowadays, I will simply look at the other parent; shrug my shoulders and do a slight head shake. It works! People resonate with what they know and seeing that another parent is in the same dilemma makes it quite the conversation starter.
I cooperate with flight attendants
Cooperation with inflight attendants goes a long way in getting the kids under control on a flight. When my kids were below the age of two years, they would travel free of charge and that means there was no designated seat for them. At first I thought that all I needed to do was just hold them like I would when travelling with public means.
Human beings are quite interesting – show someone that you agree to what they are saying or that they are making a good point and you earn a friend. I have gained quite a good share of favors from flight attendants by showing cooperation. What help? If you have more than one male child like I do, you will need someone to watch one while you take the other to the bathroom or vice versa. This often gets my kids souvenirs from the plane.
SEA is gradually transforming into a world class airport. The airport is now offering more to travellers than just a point of transit – it is offering comfort, relaxation and memorable sights. The many amenities that have been introduced around the airport are well-thought out and inspired by life in general. Whether travelling for vacation or work, SeaTac offers the perfect departure station for your journey. Consider this airport as an extension of your travel.
We hope this makes your next flight with the kids a little more manageable. If you have any other great tips for travelling with kids, please leave them in the comments section below.
Sal, Craig & Our3kids.