Smart Family Travel Tips

Last Updated on March 15, 2011 by

My travel tips page is one of the most popular on this site.  Families are always looking for tips that will save them time, hassle and money.

So I am thrilled to tell you all that one of my tips was published in The Smart Family’s Passport: 350 Money, Time & Sanity Saving Tips by Nina Willdorf and the readers of Budget Travel.

My tip can be found on page 81:

We tend to gt on the plane first.  It’s less hassle to board an empty plane and, honestly, those extra few minutes at the gate don’t add up to much.

I know- that is opposite the advice you normally hear of “board last and let the kids run around”.  We did that a few times when we only had one child.  Doug would board the plane with the car seat, his carry on and Brenna’s.  She and I would wait to board until final call.  Even with one child and my carry-on it was stressful to get through people trying to stow their own bags.  When Caelan came along that plan was out the window.  We tried it once and found that it was just easier for us to get the girls settled on an empty plane.

Besides, anymore they call the seats so quickly that waiting until the end doesn’t amount to a whole lot of time.

I would love your feedback on the boarding with kids issue.  When do you board and why?

The Smart Family's PassportWin a copy of The Smart Family’s Passport!

One comment will be chosen at random to receive a copy of The Smart Family’s Passport!  Just leave a comment telling me when you prefer to board an aircraft when traveling with kids- and why.

The fine print:
Make sure I can easily find an email to contact you; I will not search for one. Contest ends April 27, 2010 at 11:59pm. I will draw the winner April 28. The winner will be contacted via email and will have 3 days to respond. If I do not hear back from the winner within that time another winner will be drawn.

Disclosure: I was not given this book to review, nor is the winner’s book being provided by the publisher; I am purchasing it.  That said, I am an Amazon affiliate and if you buy this book through my link I may make a tiny (tiny) bit of money.

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  1. I have tried both ways, also, and I agree…getting on early is better. But, on my last couple trips they haven’t invited kids to board first, and since they board so fast, I haven’t had time to push my way to the front and insist on it. Grr. My biggest complaint in boarding w/ everyone else and a kid is that my kid doesn’t want to wait patiently in line, and since I usually travel alone, it’s next to impossible to juggle him, his stuff, and my stuff without dissolving in a puddle of sweat and tears on the floor. I think we’ll insist that Daddy travel with us until the boy can carry his own stuff in a year or so.

  2. We’ve only taken one trip via airplane with kids and I cannot imagine NOT pre-boarding. Even though the airline conveniently charged me $40 TO TALK TO AN AGENT while booking our flights (online we couldn’t all four get on the same flight!!) they proceeded to put us each in a different row of the airplane. Nice.
    Pre boarding allowed us to beg the other passengers to swap seats with us so that we could at least sit 2 and 2…I mean really…a 3 year old alone 10 rows back from his mother? I was still pretty bummed we couldn’t all 4 be in the same general area of the plane…
    Makes us gun shy to try again…at least via THAT airline…

    1. Darcie, I have to ask… When you checked in did you check your seat assignments? The gate agent or the check in agent should have handled that for you- especially since you were flying with kids. It’s part of their job.

  3. I have tried both…my preference is to board first and get the kids situated. I have also found a fully charged iTouch to be an invaluable travel companion. Can keep the kids occupied 🙂

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