For a lot of us, summertime means taking much needed breaks from work and school and traveling to dreamy destinations! Most of us enjoy and look forward to these vacations. However, the thought of getting on an airplane with kids can be overwhelming to the point that some of us avoid it altogether. I often find myself thinking, “Maybe we will just travel once our kids are grown.” But if we always let fear and anxieties prevent us from traveling, we will miss out on so many memories that we could be creating with our kiddos. The key to eliminating these fears and anxieties? Being educated on how to make things go smoothly from the moment you step out the door until the moment you return home!

Living far away from family for my husband’s grad program, we’ve had several opportunities to take flights to visit family. Traveling with our young daughter on an airplane has had its rough moments, but I quickly learned (mostly from my own errors) things to do and things not to do when traveling with kids on an airplane! Here are my top tips!

Arrive Early

It’s always a good idea to give yourself extra time when you have kids–especially when traveling. Plan to get to the airport extra early so that you won’t feel stressed about missing your flight. Being able to move through the airport calmly and without any worry makes travel much more enjoyable.

Check Your Luggage

If you’re heading on a vacation that will last more than a few days, check your luggage. It’s easier than trying to stuff all you can into your carry-on or backpack. This will also allow you to have your hands free to help your child(ren), and means one less thing you’ll have to anxiously to keep track of.

Dress Comfortably and in Layers

Even if you’re traveling to a warm climate, dress in comfortable layers when traveling. This will make it easy to adjust if you get too hot or cold. Have your child do the same.

It’s also best to wear shoes that can easily slip on and off to make life simpler. This means you should probably avoid laces. (I’ve learned this firsthand). However, it’s also best to avoid sandals that may fall off easily. With kiddos, we may be in a rush and struggling to keep our shoes on is the last thing we want. Whatever you pick, just ensure it will be comfortable for travel.

Use a Backpack

Having a