You may have a vacation scheduled that calls for a plane trip or are planning a staycation that involves short hops to local fun spots like the zoo. Kids want to get where they're going fast, and trips that involve long rides that never seem to end can be torture -- for everyone involved. For a child, even a relatively short car or plane trip can be an eternity of idle frustration, and even fear or confusion. Whatever your plans are, make transportation safety and travel sanity a priority. To make sure you don't find yourself wishing you'd never left the house (and have every stranger in the vicinity feeling the same way), observe these travel dos:
- If you're traveling by car, give your vehicle a checkup before you head out. Make sure your insurance is current and you have emergency equipment, like a first aid kit, flares and a cell phone with you. Pack plenty of water and necessary items like snacks, formula and diapers for the journey, too.
- If you're taking a young child on a plane trip, discuss child restraint system options (CRS) with the airline. Your lap is not the safest option for your child. Some airlines provide CRS seats and will help you arrange for connecting flights. A CRS will have to be installed in a window seat, so advanced planning is required. You may be able to avoid paying extra if you travel at off-peak times when there are typically extra seats available. These days, most airlines run a majority of their flights at or near capacity, so it's important to understand your options.
- Bring entertaining diversions and snacks. Be creative. A long trip may require lots of distractions.
- Explain the travel process to your child. If she has never gone on a long trip or traveled on a plane, bus or train, take the time to walk through the process with her. The more prepared she is for the journey, the more smoothly it's likely to go. It may even be worth a trip to the airport, train or bus station for her to see what everything looks and sounds like beforehand.