Surviving a Summer Trip with a Preschooler

Traveling with young children is never easy. However, I’ve found that the better prepared I am, the easier it is to get to and from our vacation destination with my sanity in check.

Here are a few tips that have served me well traveling with a preschooler:

Make a note of where you parked your car at the airport. After a long trip, your memory will almost always fail you and you don’t want to drag a tired preschooler around the airport’s parking ramp.

Ditch the hard-sided carry-on. A soft-sided bag has some give, so it can be crammed with your preschooler’s toys and other “necessities.”

Put a unique marker on your suitcase, so you can recognize it quicker when it comes around on the baggage carousel. Again, anything to help you get out of the airport quicker will help preserve your patience.

Stock up on Ziploc bags. You can use them for snacks, as leak-tight carriers, and to protect important documents.

Never place important documents in the front seat pocket of an airplane – especially not your passport!

Visit the restroom before boarding the plane.

Purchase a bottle water upon exiting airport security.

Pack extra anti-bacterial wipes.

Make sure that there is a “barf bag” in the seat pocket in front of you. You might not get sick, but you never know about your preschooler.

If possible, book a flight that departs around your kid’s naptime. Also, try hard to keep children awake until you get on the plane. The flight is so much more relaxing for everyone when children sleep through it.

Arrive early. You may have had a seemingly uneventful time in the check-in area, but things can turn chaotic fast at security checkpoints or even in the boarding area.

Have your preschooler wear comfortable slip-on shoes. Doing so will get you through airport security quicker.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.