Trust me, I’ve made mistakes when it comes to travel. *Many* mistakes. And if you’re vacationing with kids this season, I really don’t want you to leave your diaper bag on your porch (that’s never happened), forget about a Swiss Army knife in your purse (only one time!) or have a situation with orange soda and white jeans (which we shall never speak of again). In fact, I want your travels to be organized and relatively painless – which is why I’m sharing the Top Five Carry-On Mistakes, and tips on how you can avoid them.
Now we all know carry-on luggage is necessary when travelling with your family. Being trapped in an airplane with a child… for hours… is actually a special kind of torture. You’ll need everything from snacks and activities to electronics and stuffies. And the following list isn’t a packing list: you can Google “what to pack when travelling with kids”, and I encourage you to do so. The following list is simply a rundown of some of the most common mistakes parents make when it comes to getting ready for a flight. Avoid these carry-on mistakes at all costs, and it will be smooth sailing (er, flying?) for you!
Carry-On Mistake #1: Not Packing Anti-Bacterial Wipes
Look, the good staff at your preferred airline has about 11 minutes in between the time the incoming passengers deplane and the outgoing passengers board. So, when you’re told the flight crew is “cleaning the plane”, they’re actually cleaning it the way my 5-year does; picking up the obvious objects and tossing out the gross stuff. The rest is fair game.
Therefore, even though your seat and surrounding area may look clean, you’ll want to give them a quick wipe with a disposable anti-bacterial cloth. Concentrate on the tray table, window, entertainment screen and arm rests, and you’ll eliminate a ton of germs that you definitely don’t want as travel buddies. Also remember to bring hand sanitizer to use before meals and snacks.
Carry-On Mistake #2: Packing Too Many Activities for Kids
We’ve all been told that we should come prepared for flights (especially long ones) with an assortment of games, toys and activities for children. And for the most part, I agree with this advice! Except there is such a thing as being too prepared; just like bees can smell fear, children can sniff out a parent who is toting a bottomless pit of fun. In which case the opposite can happen; if a child knows you’re equipped with several different toys and games, they’re much more likely to quickly move from one activity to the next, constantly demanding new and different distractions.
Instead, select one activity per hour of flying time, and discuss with your child before the flight what you will bring. That way, they know exactly what “fun” there is to be had on board, and are much more likely to stick to an activity for a longer period of time. For every two hours of play time, factor in one snack break (and choose the perfect in-flight snack with #4 below).
Carry-On Mistake #3: Not Packing Allergy Medication
We know you’re bringing them – Children’s BENADRYL® Liquid and BENADRYL® Itch Relief Spray are staples for every travel kit, and provide fast, effective symptom relief of your child’s allergies and allergic reactions. But did you know that most parents pack allergy medication in their checked baggage? Sacre bleu! Repeat after me: allergies can, and do, happen everywhere. In addition to the 250ml bottle that I take everywhere we travel, I also pack Children’s BENADRYL® Liquid 100ml in my carry-on luggage, in addition to BENADRYL® Itch Relief Spray.
Also! Canadian travellers have voted BENADRYL® as their favourite brand for Allergy Medicine in Trip Advisor’s 2016 Travellers’ Choice Awards! Travellers’ Choice Awards are determined by surveying thousands of travelers around the world. Just another reason to “Remember the Dryl”! Read and submit your own product review of BENADRYL® on Bazaarvoice.
Carry-On Mistake #4: Packing Nutritionally Devoid Snacks
Of course you should pack snacks! They’re an absolute necessity when travelling with children. But the ones that are readily available at airport newsstands – such as chips, popcorn, crackers and gummy treats – are both devoid of nutrition and simply won’t fill up those little tummies. And who has the patience to dole out snack after snack? Not me.
Instead, pack satisfying, nutrient-dense and fibre-filled foods to help keep them fuller, longer. Swap cookies for soft-baked breakfast cookies or granola bars. Instead of potato chips, try plantain chips or seasoned pita chips – especially ones made from whole wheat pitas. For sweet cravings, substitute gummy bears for real fruit leather or yogurt-covered raisins. And never, ever forget to pack a handful of lollipops – come on, you’re only a kid once! And sucking on a lollipop during takeoff and landing can help decrease pressure in ears.
Carry-On Mistake #5: Not Creating a Packing List
The above advice is nothing but good intentions if you don’t actually create a packing list. Figure out everything you’ll need in your carry-on luggage and write it down so you don’t forget a thing. Most importantly, discuss your packing list with your spouse or another parent to ensure that you’ve got everything covered. Some things like medications and house keys are obvious; other items, like an extra pair of glasses or itch relief spray, are not always top of mind.
To all those travelling this spring, wishing you a safe journey and a relaxing, fun-filled vacay!
This post was sponsored by the makers of BENADRYL®. Thoughts and opinions are my own. This post should not be used to diagnose your allergy symptoms, or the cause of them. Seek a health care professional if you experience any signs or symptoms of an allergic reaction, and always read and follow the label.