Why Traveling with Kids Isn't As Bad As You Think

It has been years since I boarded a plane and went anywhere solo. Recently I did just that and although it was a nice escape (to my parents), I did miss a few things – not everything – about flying with them.

  1. Luggage – My whole bag strategy when traveling with my kids is to get as much as I can into the largest bag without going overweight (I fail every time, but I do get to bring 4 pairs of shoes). But no kids meant the possibility of walking off the plane with one small bag and strolling straight to the rental car. I was giddy at the possibility and I partially achieved it (see Boarding).
  2. Carry On – My child’s lovey is a large 48″ long crib bumper named ‘Blue(y)’. Blue travels with us everywhere…and because he (yes, it is a him) is so big he requires his own carry on. But no kids means the carry on is filled with only my things! No toys, crayons, food, games, iPods, books, or earphones with the cords tangled in a rats nest…just my things. Did I mention no food?
  3. Snacks – The kids each get a gallon bag clearly labeled with their names, even though the bags are mirror images of each other. I pack them full of Jolly Ranchers and other favorite little treats (some healthy, some not – I’m not a total slacker parent). My bag had two crushed Luna bars leaving me pining for cheez-its and Jolly Ranchers.
  4. Seating – Children traveling means the middle seat, ‘the rail’, is avoidable. I rode ‘the rail’ on the outbound flight and was not happy. I was also lucky enough to score the window seat on the inbound flight. And by lucky I mean shafted. There is nothing like having my knees wrapped around my head while fighting claustrophobia for hours on a plane to make you long for a little one who loves to sit in the window seat while I sprawl in aisle seat heaven.
  5. Boarding – Flying with kids sometimes affords me the opportunity to board the plane early. This is both awesome and a curse – early boarding means overhead plane storage is my oyster…but pre-boarding also means that we sit for 20+ minutes longer while the rest of the plane boards (not good). This trip I was slotted zone 3 boarding – the last to board. When my turn finally came up all overhead storage was supposedly taken. I was not even given the option for gate check. Instead I was forced to check my bag through to the destination (destroying my visual of waltzing straight through to the rental car with all the business people). The best part – I get on the plane and there was ample room in the over head bins (I was the 2nd to last to board).
  6. Dining – When traveling with your kids in an airport if they are hungry your options are  limited. But no kids meant the sky was the limit…so to speak. Unless of course you are on a time constraint (I was) and then you find yourself eating at one of your kids favorite places anyway (not fair at all).
  7. Bathroom –  Every airport we travel through as a family I have seen the inside of at least one, most likely two, of the bathrooms.  This multi-pronged attack is executed in hopes of avoiding the inside of the plane’s lilliputian commode. Traveling solo I foolishly didn’t make the restroom stop inside the airport. I was then forced to use the torture toilet on the plane. I did pick up some housekeeping tips though. I learned that instead of cleaning my home bathroom all I need to do is throw a few coffee packs around the facilities. Placement is key so be sure to put one right next to the loo, and maybe hang one on the door. Voila – all clean (not really, nice try airline).

Now that I think about it…flyinging with kids is really not all that bad after all, but I still would rather travel solo – hungry, squished, and bag less.



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