Since the age of eight weeks old, my children have had the opportunity to travel with me extensively by air and by ground. Now, at just eight and six years old, they are seasoned travelers, but this took some training along the way – for all of us!

The key to a fun family trip is planning ahead. A few tips for ground travel with children are:

Air travel is a bit more challenging because you can not stop the plane and get out for a break when you please. Preparing for a plane ride can be fun, and the process can really help your child to understand what to expect on an airplane. Arriving early at the airport is a very good idea. This will give everyone plenty of time to check-in and go through security. If you arrive with a lot of time to spare, there are always a lot of things to see and keep your little ones entertained. Children tend to go slower when they are rushed, and running for an airplane with a child in tow is not fun! Arriving at the airport early helps to make the air travel process a lot less stressful.

Some tips for air travel with children are:

Traveling with children who are newly potty trained takes some extra considerations. Bring along extra underwear and a change of clothes. You may also want to have your child wear a pull up so there are no accidents at a time and place where you can do nothing about it. Airplanes do not have change tables and they do not appreciate you changing your child at your seat.

Most of the newer planes have individual TV screens for each seat. Bring headsets that fit your children and are comfortable for them; purchasing headsets each time you get on the plane will start to add to your travel cost.

Airports are becoming much more child-friendly. Indoor playgrounds that are found at many Canadian airports are a fantastic way for children to expend their energy, especially if their flight is delayed.

A backpack on wheels – filled with a few of the child’s favourite items – is a fantastic way to encourage independence. Sharing the load is a valuable lesson for children to learn, and it’s a lesson that they’ll take with them as they grow.

Traveling with children can be a whole new way to experience the world. Planning and preparing ahead, being flexible, and setting them up for success is the key to a fun time everyone in the family. Whether you are traveling only an hour from home, or half way around the world, there is no better life experience than exploring the world that exists outside of ours.

Bon Voyage!

Aly Pain, CPCC, ACC, is a team and relationship coaching specialist. She works with couples, families and corporate teams to move them beyond “who is doing what to whom” and over to “what is trying to happen.” Aly shares this powerful paradigm shift with audiences in her upcoming book “Marriage and Medals”.