Here is the continuation of Jenni’s post on Airports I’ve Known. This is both a practical and humorous post. Once you read this you’ll never, ever want to travel with meat…..just sayin’.
Tips for families traveling with their TCK children and adolescents by Jenni Gate
- Airport air-conditioning can be freezing, especially in the middle of the night when the whole family is sprawled out on the floor or huddled on uncomfortable, hard plastic seats. Always bring a sweater or at least a light jacket and wear trousers, not shorts.
- When you need to rest between flights. Sleeping in an airport beats paying for a hotel with a three-hour layover in the middle of the night. It is a good idea to have your passport and ticket within easy reach, and any valuables in a bag under your head.
- Look for lockers. Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam provides wonderful, roomy lockers where you may lock your bags if you want to explore the city. But make sure to bring your bags with you through the exit and lock them up near the airport entrance. Once you have locked a bag behind a security checkpoint, it may be nearly impossible to get access to it again.
- Look out for airport taxes. I spent my last dollar in Hong Kong and had no money for the airport tax. I sobbed until someone took pity on me and paid my tax.
- Weather. Expect delays in ice storms, snow storms and hurricanes. Even if the airport you’re stuck in is in another part of the world, if a connecting flight is delayed due to weather, there is a very good chance flights all down the line in other parts of the country or the world will also be delayed.
- Lost bags are a fact of travel life. Pack light, if you can, so that you have no checked luggage. If that’s not possible, pack a toothbrush and a change of clothes in your carry-on bag.
- Don’t fly with meat. Flying to Dulles from Oregon one year, my grandfather, a farmer, packed meat in his luggage, expecting to surprise us with Christmas dinner. It was his first experience with lost luggage. By the time his suitcase was found, it had to be thrown away. Dulles baggage handlers were not amused. People ship fish from Alaska sometimes with similar results. Use dried ice and realize that if the container is lost, no amount of dried ice will preserve it after so many hours.
- Security is security is security. Always present, always intrusive. Try not to become separated at either side of the checkpoint. Realize that your 5th grader probably did not listen to your warnings about pocket knives.
- About the kids…. Keep small children occupied with coloring books, movies, and lots of games. Travel boredom is easier to handle today with electronic readers and mp3 players. Snacks help. Naps help. Sometimes there is just nothing you can do to stop a tantrum. At those times, at least try to walk your child away from other travelers to keep the tension down.
- And about the adolescents…. Keep adolescents from killing each other by keeping them at opposite ends of a row of seating while you wait for your flight. They have as much energy to burn off as a toddler. If there is an open space near your gate, let them show off their pushups or sit-ups, dance steps, or stretches. Ignore the looks from fellow travelers.
- Actually don’t even travel with teenagers. It is just not wise. It is an extreme stressor that could lead to ugly faces, angry words, exasperated shouting and threats of violence. And not just by the teens. Seriously. If there is a way to avoid traveling with teenagers, do it.
What about you? What airports do you know? What tips can you share?