Okay, pop quiz. What strikes intense fear into the minds and hearts of a business traveler?
b) A flight attendant named Genghis Khan
c) A co-pilot’s first landing
d) A baby stroller sitting near the gate
e) All of the above
If you answered “e”, you wouldn’t be far off. When pressed to pick their single biggest fear many veteran travelers would quickly and emphatically pick “d”, the dreaded youngster.
Business travelers hate baby strollers and their precious cargo. Fact is, some children have a difficult time with air travel. Turbulence scares many, the pressure which builds their ears hurts, while inability to move around sends their growing bodies into Defcon Four levels.
The world, however, need not end if one is seated near a little darling. First off, adults should act like mature adults. Paying customers, even those under the age of 12, are paying customers, and free “lap babies” are legal too.
Second, it is imperative that adults follow the three rules of successful air traveling: 1) Patience; 2) Patience; 3) Patience.
Parents should understand their darlings aren’t the only people on the flight, though, and should attempt to keep their children in check. Kids running up and down the aisle are bothersome and a safety hazard.
With a wee bit of planning, the wee ones will be perfect little darlings on the flight.
Of course, getting to your destination is only half the battle. Once there is the endless struggle between kid’s time and your time. Golf or ballroom dancing and young children generally do not mix.
Unless you want to find yourself in the local constable’s office, locking up the little ones in your room all day or leaving them dangerously stranded alone at the pool is no option. A little bit of research will find a hotel, which caters to young visitors. At many major hotel chains kids can participate in daily-supervised activities.
Hilton’s Waikoloa Village, for instance, allows youngsters to swim with the dolphins in the morning at the on-site Dolphin Quest, and spend the rest of the day learning about the sea’s wonderful creatures. There is an additional fee for such programs and reservations are required, but well worth it.
Most major hotels also have affiliations with experienced, bonded babysitters to allow more adult freedom. For a bit higher cost, grandparents will gladly join the vacation and happily watch over the little ones.
1) Plan ahead. Ask questions before booking accommodations. Is the resort “kid” friendly?
2) Are special discounts available at nearby attractions? At hotel meals?
3) Bring small bag of food and drink onto airplane. Nothing is worse than waiting for the beverage cart to reach the back of the plane.
4) Reduce boredom with games, books, drawing materials or audiocassette stories (with headphones). If Pokemon is their diversion, remember to keep the sound down or off.
5) Don’t forget to bring appropriate medicine, just in case.
6) Leave yourself plenty of legroom on plane. Check all unnecessary baggage
7) Be considerate of others.
8) Break extended trip into parts. There’s nothing worse than three hours on the plane followed by three hours of driving.
9) Tour hotel upon arrival to acclimate children with surroundings and staff.
10) Be flexible. Things indeed happen.
Everyone was a kid at one time or another, so there is no need to be embarrassed about taking a vacation with a youngster. They might be a little fidgety, but they are generally far better than the bald-headed guy in the row in front of you who reclines his seat as far back as possible, crushing your laptop computer and knees in one swoop.