If your vacation this year calls for destinations afar, you will undoubtedly be finding yourself traveling the friendly skies. Airline travel is the safest form of transportation and allows you and your family to relax and enjoy your vacation instead of dreading the long drive to get there. Thanks to much higher gas prices, many families will be turning to air travel. Plane travel not only reduces the amount time it takes to get to their vacation destination, it also helps keep more money in their pockets rather than pumping it into their gas tanks. Whether this is your family’s first time traveling by air or you are a frequent flier we’ll show you some of the tricks and tips to making travel by airline enjoyable and relaxing.

The most important aspect of airline travel is to arrive at the airport early. Don’t get your vacation off to a bad start by arriving late and missing your flight or having to rush the entire family through the airport trying to catch your flight. To get things started out right, the night before you leave home, place your luggage at the door and make sure everyone is ready to go. You should plan to arrive at least 2 hours early to give yourself enough time to get through ticketing, security and get your baggage taken care of.

At the airport, make sure that the kids have something to do. Fellow airport patrons and airport security do not take kindly to unsupervised children. The airport is a wonderful place to teach children of all ages about the many cultures from around the world as they see planes arrive and leave. To pass the time, make up a game of identifying where passengers might be from as they get off a plane or where they might be going.

When checking in at the airport you may find out that either your plane has been delayed or that it is overbooked. The most important thing to remember here is that the airline personnel have no control over the plane. Before you get angry over a delayed flight, think of this – would you rather have the plane delayed an hour while they check out a potentially dangerous condition or would you rather risk it? I think we all know the answer to that one. You will find that kindness and understanding will get you farther with airline personnel than getting angry. Often, if the plane is overbooked or you are delayed, passengers who are willing to work with the airline will get travel vouchers for discounts on future travel or first-class upgrades on later flights. By accepting the fact that some delays are a part of airline travel you could end up getting your entire cost of the trip covered by the airline! A smile goes a long way!

On the airplane, make sure you bring bottled water for yourself and your kids since the air on a plane is usually quite dry. Teach your children (and yourself!) about safety features of the plane. Make sure they know that they have to remain seated during the flight with their seat belt fastened. Again, use the time on the airline to plan for the fun you will have at your destination. Bring along brochures and maps of the area you are visiting, and make it a family activity to plan out things you want to see and do. You’ll be surprised how fast the time goes by as you are engaged in your vacation planning.

Finally, remember to relax and enjoy the flight. If you or any member of your family has a fear of flying, there are a few tricks you can use to overcome that fear. First, remember that flying is the safest form of travel. Airline accidents are rare, and even when they do occur, the odds are you will survive such an incident if you don’t panic. Consider bringing a sleeping mask to put on during takeoff and landing to help orient you by blocking out the images of the ground rapidly rising or falling away. Noise-canceling headphones also work wonders allowing you to listen to your favorite music while it cancels out the noise of the airplane.

Airline travel is fun, convenient and allows you to save your energy for your vacation without worrying about the driving. So relax, sit back and enjoy the flight! “It’s time to move around the country.”

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