Whether you're waiting to board, dealing with a delay or in the air, there isn't usually a whole lot to do. Bust travel boredom by packing distractions. Pacing around the airport only takes up so much time, and there are only so many in-flight movies you can watch before feeling like your eyes are going fuzzy. Your iPod (fully charged and stocked with your favorite songs), books (or your e-reader of choice), magazines and a crossword puzzle book are all simple but essential for passing the time.
Everything takes time at the airport. You'll run into lines, snarly customs agents, people trying to check so many bags they might as well be moving to the Caribbean, not just heading there for weeklong all-inclusive vacation and people who take their sweet time getting their (too) large bags into the overhead compartment. Rather than seethe with anger or say something you might regret, prepare yourself for the inevitable frustrations, take a deep breath and just let it go. The calmer you stay, the better off your air travel experience will be.
Expensive (and not always reliable) airport food, the chaos of carting your family through security and plane food that leaves something to be desired can all mean you don't fuel yourself quite enough while in transit. Avoid a mood meltdown due to hunger and dehydration by snacking regularly. Pack healthy snacks (raw nuts, fresh fruit, granola bars) you can eat while you wait and stay hydrated. Drink water regularly at the airport and in flight.
Air travel is notoriously uncomfortable. Unless you're one of the few lucky people who can sleep anywhere, anytime, flying means cramped seats, no legroom and a cacophony of people talking, babies crying and meals being delivered. With that in mind, think about comfort when you pack your carry-on. Earplugs, an eye mask and a travel pillow will all make the trip easier and much less stressful.
Will you need a kosher or vegan meal? Remember to order it in advance. Know your 5-year-old will need to use the restroom every hour (on the hour)? Book him an aisle seat. Know you get cold mid-flight? Make sure you pack a comfy sweater. The more you can do ahead of time to make your trip easier, the better off you and your family will be. Print out a checklist of things you need to buy, do and reserve before you leave and make sure it all gets done before your departure date.
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