An early flight with children adds another layer of urgency and stress to an already eventful day. Fortunately, there are ways to smooth the process so that getting up and onto the plane is much easier. The following tips can help everything go well on your big travel day.
Tip #1: Check in—in advance
Take advantage of advance checking in from your airline carrier. Most airlines now allow you to check in via the computer or a mobile device up to 24 hours before your flight and then print the boarding passes at home. You can even choose your seats and register your checked baggage online. Then, once you get to the airport, you can simply find a kiosk for your airline to finalize the process and to finish checking in the baggage. No long lines at check-in saves you time and helps prevent cranky kids.
Tip #2: Dress for success
Chances are you will be bundling the kids up for the car while they are still asleep if you are leaving very early. Dress them for travel the night before. Young kids can travel in their pajamas, since these are comfortable. If you prefer to skip pajamas, choose comfortable clothing that is loose and features elastic waistbands. This allows the children to sleep well while still be presentable at the airport. Plus, there will be no need to wrestle sleepy kids into clothing when you are already rushed.
Tip #3: Choose a shuttle service
Instead of parking in the massive airport garage and traipsing a quarter of a mile to the terminal while juggling kids and suitcases, opt for one of the parking lots that service the airport and offers a shuttle service. This way you will be dropped off right at the terminal, plus the driver will likely be able to help you unload your suitcases once you get there. This is a much easier option when you are traveling with kids. Talk to a company such as You2RDU to make a reservation.
Tip #4: Prepare for security
One line you likely can't avoid is the security line. Make things easier for yourself by having all items that need to be removed from your carry-on, such as liquids and electronics, already in a plastic bag at the top of the bag. Also, avoid belts, suspenders, or jewelry that could set of detectors—for both you and your children. Finally, remember that babies and small children can be carried through the checkpoint, but you will need to take them out of their stroller or carseat carrier to do so.
Contacting the appropriate services and planning ahead can make the whole process much easier.