Preparing yourself for traveling with children is just as important as planning your itinerary. There's nothing worse than dealing with a hyper cranky child in the middle of an airport or in flight tantrums. Everyone is excited to get your dream vacation started but travel does come with certain pressures so preparation is key.
The night before your planned departure have all your bags packed and your itinerary handy. Its best to check in your seat assignment online rather than take your chances when you arrive at the airport. This way all you need to do is check your baggage.
Get to the airport early; you might want to consider having a friend or neighbor drop you off since parking for extended periods of time at the airport can get costly. Plus you get dropped off at curbside saving yourself the long walk
Depending on the ages of your children they may start to feel a little scared. Between airport security check points, lots of people, and unfamiliar surroundings that could start to feel anxious. Get to your terminal as soon as possible allowing them to settle down. They'll see other families who are traveling with children and feel more comfortable.
Most airports have a play area that your children can use to burn off a little steam and you want this. Let them get a little worn out so hopefully they'll sleep on the plane. This is also a good time to give them healthy snacks (non-sugary), take them to the bathroom, and get prepared for boarding.
When pre-boarding is announced, and if you are traveling with another adult, have just one adult board the plane to get the carry on luggage organized. Let the children continue to burn off energy. They can be the last ones to board.
Most travelers are understanding to families traveling with children so its not a bad idea for your kids get acquainted with the other passengers in front of and behind them. If you have a window seat let your children sit as close as possible to it and prepare them for what to expect during takeoff.
For changes in cabin pressure during takeoff and landing allow them to chew gum (sugarless) if they are old enough. For younger children this would be a good time to bottle feed. Swallowing helps relieve the pressure.
Depending on the length of your flight your children will need to have activities to keep them employed. Perhaps another family who is traveling with children is sitting nearby and they can play together. If you brought toys along for the flight and you should. Introduce them one at a time. Crayons and coloring book are good too.
Keep reinforcing to them about how much fun they are going to have when you arrive at your destination. These tips are no guarantee that your flight will be flawless but it should make the trip much less stressful.