I am married to a man in the travel industry, so my kids and I travel A LOT. Well, not as much as we would all like, but by normal standards it’s a lot. I would say we average 4-5 airline trips a year, and we have since the kids were babies. Most of the trips I do solo with the kids, so we’ve developed some pretty sweet travel systems/games/distractions.
One I’d like to share is a game we have played since the kids were little – I’d say 6 or 7 at the oldest. When we arrive at the hub, I pretend that I’m lost. I would hand them the ticket (time permitting, of course), and let them figure out how to get us to the next gate. They have to figure out the destination, flight time (or flight number), read the departure information, find the proper terminal and gate information, figure out how to get to the next terminal, and then the next gate. Usually (we travel through Atlanta) they have to find the plane train to get us to the right terminal, the proper escalators for the direction of the train, etc. It’s not the easiest task in the world and I CANNOT describe the number of adults who are traveling and ask me how to manage all of this.
Some days I throw in a curve — “I need a Starbucks coffee”, or “Take me to Pei Wei and order me lunch” and I give them money to manage the whole transaction. They think it’s a BLAST and we take turns as to who “gets to navigate”. I really don’t have to do anything anymore with regards to transiting the airport – except to keep up with the kids. They manage everything, including telling me what my food options are, or letting me know where they have planned out for us to stop. When we land, they handle it all – from finding the proper baggage carousel, grabbing all the luggage, and locating any rental car kiosk/bus that we need. It’s absolutely fabulous. I am completely confident they will be able to travel safely, and with ease, when they make their first solo trip. I don’t doubt that they’ll also help a couple lost looking adults along the way.