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June 27, 2013

Avoiding Family Travel Nightmares

by Julianne Mooney

family-at-airport

This morning I was at Dublin airport with Ireland AM, chatting with Alan Hughes about some travel tips to help families get through the airport with minimum stress. (You can watch here)

I don’t have children, but I spend enough time in airports watching parents weighed down with bags, a gaggle of dishevelled and rather disgruntled children in tow. I believe we can learn from other people’s mistakes and I’ve made my notes, consulted my parent friends and come up with a few tips that might make travelling through the airport with your little ones a little less stressful this summer.

Before you Leave home

  • On-line check-in – this is a biggie. It avoids the labourous process of checking your family in at the desk and if you book your seats, you are sure you’re family will be seated together. Remember some of the airlines (namely Ryanair) expect you to print your boarding card prior to arriving at the airport or you will be fined.
  • Dress yourself and the little ones comfortably. Wear slip-on shoes, no belt, minimum jewellery in order to pass through security quickly.
  • Bring the buggy as distances in airports can be quite long. Make sure to take off all attachments and toys as it will have to pass through security.
  • Pack all your hand luggage in a rucksack as you can carry this on your back and have your hands free at all times.
  • Keep everything in one place. I have a travel document pouch that I put our passports, boarding tickets, important credit cards and cash into. This is easy to get to, ensures all documents are kept together and safe.
  • Arrive early to the airport, giving yourself plenty of time – 2 -3 hours before your flight departure. This will avoid unnecessary stress, believe me, it will be worth it.

Airport Genie

I’m not sure if all airports have this service, but Dublin airport does and it’s my new best friend.We’ve all had a stab of jealousy watching the business class passengers stroll up to the top of the queue and sail through security. Now, we can all do it for a mere €4.95 fee. Airport Genie lets you pay online, print off your voucher and when you arrive at the airport you can be the one breezing through security in less than five minutes. There’s also a family package for €50. This gives you an extra pair of hands helping to get your family through the airport with as little stress as possible. You are met by an attendant, brought through the fast-track and he/she will help you with shopping, keep an eye on the  kids, carry your hand luggage and deliver you to your gate on time. Worth every penny if you ask me, especially if you’re travelling alone with kids.

Hand luggage and Stuff

  • Try to keep this to a minimum as you will be laden down with bags and children making it a less enjoyable experience. Check out what you can and can’t bring with you.
  • You can buy your toiletries in the airport. They have flight size deodorants, face wash, toothpaste all the necessities.
  • Factor in a break at one of the cafes. Stop and relax, letting the kids have a cool drink and it’s also a treat.
  • Bring books, colouring books, games to keep them occupied in case of any flight delays and also on the flight.

Hopefully these will help you sail through the airport and get your holiday off to a great start.

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