Strategies for a Stress-Free Summer Vacation with Children

Summer is a perfect time to take a vacation with your family, but sometimes it can be stressful when traveling on an airplane with children. Here are 10 stress-reducing strategies that can make the trip more enjoyable when traveling with children.

1. Layers for the Flight

Dress your kids in comfortable layers, without buttons, zippers, or anything that could prevent them from getting to the bathroom in time. The same principle applies to shoes – avoid laces and go with slip-on shoes instead – this is an added benefit for getting through airport screening much faster.

2. Switch Strollers for an Easier Stroll

Getting through an airport without a stroller is unlikely for some parents, but switching out your regular-size stroller for an umbrella stroller may be an easier way to navigate through the airport.

3. Seat Kids Away from the Aisle

As the food and beverage cart passes by, it can be dangerous for kids and their little hands when they are at such a close range of hot water and coffee.

boy sitting on plane

4. Prepare for Air Pressure

The most bothersome time for ear pressure discomfort is the take-off and descent of a flight. To help with ear pressure, give your child water before the flight and have them drink some right after takeoff. Make sure they start drinking again during the last 30 minutes of the descent. The swallowing of water will help with the pressure while also giving the hydrating benefit.

5. Beware of Germs

There are tons of germs on an airplane so it’s important to carry hand sanitizer and baby wipes so you can wipe your child’s hands and tray table before they eat.

little girl coloring on airplane

6. Pack Stuff That Keeps Their Interest

Smartphones and tablets loaded with your kids’ favorite movies, shows or games will help keep them amused for most of the travel, whether traveling via air or car. Art supplies – crayons, blank paper and sketchbooks – are also good things to keep them entertained throughout traveling.

7. Snacks, Snacks, Snacks, Snacks…Did I Mention Snacks?

Snacks are how you keep a child busy and happy during travel. Cheerios, pretzels, crackers, nuts, string cheese, and granola bars are good options to pack in your carry-on.

8. Mobile Medical Unit

It’s always good to carry travel-sized essentials like Band-Aids, Neosporin, Tylenol, etc. With children, you never know when these can come in handy when traveling.

9. Sign Up for PreCheck

The best way to ensure an easy flight experience especially when traveling with children is to sign up for the PreCheck program from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). This allows you and kids (12 and under) to take a VIP line where you and your kids do not need to take off clothing to go through the metal detectors nor unpack toiletries or computers. To sign up for the PreCheck program, fill out an application on the TSA website ( and set up an appointment for an in-person background check.


10. Book a Night Flight

If it’s possible, book a night flight so that your toddler is tired enough and will sleep the whole flight – or at least most of the flight. If booking a nighttime flight is not likely, you can use a scarf to block daylight or plane light so that it is dark enough for your child to sleep.

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