Traveling with ‘little ones’ isn’t as bad as some people may make it out to be. . . that is, if you prepare. In September 2016, I took my 6yr old goddaughter, Samyah, aka “Stink” (don’t ask), who’s more of a biological daughter to me, on a trip from St. Louis, MO (home) to Denver, CO. She loved every minute of trip and process. Being that I’m prior Air Force, I’ve always taken her around airplanes; she’s been to a couple air shows, and she’s even been in a flight simulator at the St. Louis Science Center when she was 4yrs old. So, she’s been ‘up-close’ to planes, and she’s even gone aboard some during air shows.
I’m a Virgo and my birthday is in September, and each year I take a birthday trip. So last year (2016), I took her and my nephew to another air show. Shortly after that she began telling me she wanted to ride on an airplane. This would happen almost every time she saw a plane flying overhead. The first couple times, I didn’t think much of it, and just brushed off. She wouldn’t let it go, and finally, I realized she was serious and told her I would take her on an airplane.
I explained to her on several occasions that it wouldn’t be like going on the planes at the airshows because the plane we would go on was actually going to takeoff and we’ll be flying in the sky. She simply said. . . “I know, and I’m not gonna be scared.” So, with that, I began preparing her. I figured she would take the experience in good stride since she had been up close to planes in the past, but nevertheless, I wasn’t 100% certain of it. The last thing I wanted her to do was get so frightened that she’ll want to back out at the last minute, or began panicking once we were actually onboard and/or in flight. My strategy to prevent this was to get her familiar with how things would happen the day of our departing flight, and to make the experience seem as fun as possible. Here’s a few things I did to prepare her that I believe really helped her remain calm and savor the experience.
- Purchased Carry-On Bag – We went to Wal-Mart and she picked out a Disney’s Frozen carry-on bag. She’s a big fan of Frozen, so this was huge for her.
- Test Run – I set aside a day to take her to the airport (luggage and all) so we could do a “test run” of what will happen the day we departed St. Louis. We went as far as airport policy and personnel would allow us to go, and I explained each part of the process.
- High Spirits – I kept her in high spirits for weeks leading up to the trip, as well as during the trip. I did this to keep her enthusiasm level up, which aided in alleviating any second-thoughts or negative thoughts that may have tried to enter her mind.
- Twas The Night Before. . . – The day before our St. Louis departure, I made sure she had a great deal of fun, and got a good night’s rest; our flight was scheduled for takeoff at 6.30am!
The day of our trip came and she totally aced it! She couldn’t get enough of it! She was very relaxed, although naturally very excited as well. She loved her window seat and the view, but when she eventually tired out, the window shade went down, and she settled in for an early-morning, mid-flight nap.
Here’s a couple more things I did that really helped the trip go smoothly;
- I made sure our flights were relatively short, around 2hrs; I didn’t want her in the air too long her first time flying.
- Let her take half the money from her piggy-bank
- I made every aspect of the trip into an “adventure”
- Every child has a “comforter” item, so I let her bring hers onboard
- I made sure she was close to me & within my eyesight at all times
- I was a tad bit more disciplined with her than normal, primarily due to the ‘hustle-and-bustle’ of airports, but I made sure she understood why
Long story short, she fell in love with Denver, CO, made new friends, saw new things, including mountains, which she was really ecstatic about. Now I can’t mention I’m going out of town to her because she expects to fly with me every time, lol! She actually got pretty upset with me in February 2017 when I went to Seattle without her, but it was the middle of the school year, not to mention the fact I was going to visit my lady for Valentine’s. . . sorry “Stink,” that was definitely a “no-kids” trip!
In other words everyone. . . just take a little extra time with the ‘little-one(s)’ so the experience won’t come as a ‘culture-shock’ to them, and keep them excited! Happy travels from me & “Stink!”