Traveling with children can be fun…I swear it can be! Buying the littles their own special luggage, marking your travel route on a map, doing activities together to remember or learn more about the experience are all ways to make travel special for kids. Once you are home, you will forget about all the challenges that airports, train stations, etc. pose—or you will have some pretty stellar stories to share!
Whether you are traveling solo, with a partner or with the entire family, deciding whether or not to check baggage at the ticket counter is always a great debate. For families, this problem can be a big one. With more family members, it may be absolutely necessary to bring more bags along on the trip; however, it can be twice as difficult to transport all that luggage. Here are some things to consider before you grab the luggage scale or start stuffing those tiny carry-ons.
Are you traveling to Aruba in June or London in December? Where you are jetting will drastically alter the types of items that you need to pack. A bathing suit won’t take as much room as a bulky ski jacket and in warmer climes, you and the kiddos can probably get away with packing less. When thinking about your destination, also take into account your accommodations—a 4-star hotel will likely have laundry facilities so you can wash and re-wear your gear, but a campsite will not.
Ages of Offspring
A teenager is capable not only of packing their own bag, but of carrying it too! Toddlers won’t let you off the hook that easily. For younger children, it can be essential to your sanity that you check bags so that you have your hands free to tend to the kids. You, however, know your child best, so if you believe that your toddler is capable of handling his own backpack or rolling luggage, pack it up a day or two before departure and let him take it for a spin around the house to see how he fares.
Have you checked your airlines checked baggage policies? If not, be sure to do your research before you head to the airport. It’s no secret that gas prices have been steadily rising over the past few years, and many airlines have changed their luggage policies to make up for the extra cash they have to spend on fuel. If you can get all your stuff to your vacation spot free of charge, then go for it! But your airline could charge $25 and up for the FIRST checked bag, so if you prefer not to spend $75 out of your souvenir fund before you even leave the airport, take some time to re-evaluate your (and the kid’s) outfit choices and see how much you can fit in a carry-on.
Shauna Armitage is a parenting blogger, a freelance travel writer and the co-founder of Pure Wander Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @CarpeCalamus