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Travel by Airplane: Teen’s Perspective

by Jacob P. | April 6th, 2011 | Teen Perspective

As I type this, I am sitting in terminal B at Baltimore-Washington Airport in Maryland, waiting to fly back to the lovely, frigid state of New Hampshire. We (my family) are finishing up a whirlwind trip to visit my step-siblings and to visit Loyola University in Baltimore. At Loyola, my stepfather was honored with an award. So, anyway, I thought I would assemble some thoughts on traveling with kids.

  • First of all, when you are traveling, pack as lightly as you can. I know that people think they should pack for every possible thing that can go wrong, but that is just unnecessary. If at all possible, don’t check bags when traveling on planes. You can carry on some pretty large bags and get away with it. For two days of traveling, I packed two t-shirts, a pair of shorts, a dress shirt, dress shoes, slacks, a belt, and pajamas. Oh and toiletries, a book, my phone and iPod. That’s it. You really don’t need much. Most things at a hotel are provided for you. Packing lightly also allows you to travel rapidly. Just this trip, we moved our flight up by six hours, so I was able to pack in 20 minutes. Without any checked bags. I have spent enough time running through airports with my grandmother to know that checked bags spell disasters. You can lose them so easily.
  • I don’t want to state the obvious, but plan before you go through the TSA security check point. If at all possible, you should manage to compact all your baggage together. Instead of having full pockets, empty them into your bags. It will make your life so much easier. (Not to ramble, but I cannot stand the TSA. It’s a fairly dumb system. When I went through the check point today, I went through a scanner and then got my pockets patted down, because apparently the brand new scanners don’t do pockets…) Well, anyway the checkpoints will be a hassle, so just play it cool and plan for an overstressed checkpoint run by morons.
  • When traveling internationally, plan for even more time spent waiting. Not only will you get the excitement of the TSA at an airport, you also get the fun of the border patrol, too. I have only traveled over land to Canada for international travels, and I found the border patrol much more efficient. Now maybe that was because I was going to Canada, and Canada isn’t exactly streaming with terrorists. Also, I was on a bus full of YMCA kids. Oh, well.
  • Once on the plane, it’s not too hard to keep your trip under control and fun. Simply, don’t make a scene. Put your luggage away, and do it quickly and efficiently. And don’t kick the seat in front of you. We are flying Southwest, so there are no classes, you just get to pick your seats depending on how quickly you checked in (except for business class, who have dibs). If you have young kids, people will move to let you be with them. And once on the plane, relax and play a game. Just don’t be too loud or “make a scene.”

Traveling with the family can be a fun and exciting thing to do. Just keep it all under control, and if you need help, follow these tips.

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