This past year I have had many people ask me what air travel is like with our kids. Some people give me the look that says “you’re crazy” while telling me how brave I am. Truth be known, I feel more on the crazy side than brave most of the time! However, the questions I’ve been asked have inspired me to write a few blog posts on this topic. Here are my first thoughts:
Don’t Overthink It!
With or without kids, people often complicate air travel more than necessary. I have been flying internationally every year since I was two years old and I feel strongly about the following: Yes, there may be “life hacks” that seasoned travelers can share, but ultimately, flying is about getting from one place to the next. I have learned that you can be as prepared as humanly possible and things you never expect might still go wrong. There are no absolutes with air travel these days, it seems. What works for one traveler might not pan out the same way for another.
We have found that prayer is the best way to prepare for our flights. We pray and ask others to pray long before we fly. The Lord has answered these prayers time and time again by allowing our children to behave and cooperate amazingly well considering the very long flights we take them on!
The first time we flew with Sakshi, she was only five months old. We flew from Florida to India, which takes anywhere between 24 and 48 hours depending on the route. Sakshi was a very fussy baby and I was extremely nervous beforehand. However, she was the perfect baby during each flight and layover! We attributed this solely to prayer. My husband has always said since then, “If God can close the mouths of lions, He can also close the mouth of a baby!” Now that we have four children, ages six and under, flying has been no different in the area of answered prayers.
Yes, we have had a few rough moments. I will not try to say that every flight has been perfect. Once Thaddeus screamed for most of a flight from Abu Dhabi to Frankfurt. It was so bad that as we were heading to the baggage claim, people were pointing at us and saying, “That’s the kid!” The Lord undoubtedly allows some of this to keep us humble. 😛
There have also been rude passengers who didn’t want to sit by someone with kids. On the flip side, I have typically found flight attendants to be kind and accommodating when you are traveling with kids. Beyond that, having kids means you get to be at the front of the lines for security, customs, and boarding 90% of the time (okay, I guesstimated that percentage based on our experiences 😉).
All in all, when I say not to overthink air travel with kids, I mean to put your mind at ease. Your experience will be unique to you and your kids. Never feel like you must “have it all together”, because there is no set way to do that! I can – as can many others – simply share what I have learned and perhaps you can glean something from it. My next post will be about how less is more. I will share more of the specifics of how we travel with the kiddos.
Until then – India