Travel Tip: Watch for connection times when booking flights

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Family Pool (credit: Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek)

Family Pool (credit: Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek)

Florida Travel Guide: Tips for parents flying with young children

Planning a vacation to Florida is a very exciting process. Once you’ve made up your mind to go and you’ve chosen your travel dates, it consumes a good deal of your thoughts.

Take your time, though, when choosing your flights, especially if you’re traveling from a country outside of the United States.

Booking a flight with children in tow

When you’re searching for flights to Florida – especially if your originating flight is from another country (including Canada) – make note of the time you have to make your connecting flight if there are no direct flights available.

This is especially important when, besides just your own jacket and carry-on, you’re lugging children, their bags, their coats, their teddy bears, their stroller, car seats, snacks, binkies and so on and so forth.

Just because airlines allow you to book a flight with a very short connection window, it doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed to catch that second flight. Because you’re not.

Things to consider when booking connecting flights

  • Children are generally tired after a flight (especially if you’ve had to get them up out of bed to get to the airport in time) and their legs can only move so fast as you’re rushing through the airport trying to find your gate.
  • Parents are going to be tired after a flight (especially if you’ve had to get your children and yourself out of bed to get to the airport in time) and you might be irritable, hungry and any other number of things. And you obviously can only move so fast because of the children you’re dragging taking along with you.
  • Trying to get up the stairs and or the escalator with said children and bags is no picnic, neither is getting through customs in an expeditious manner.

There are other conditions which are completely out of your control, as well. If your plane arrives early you stand a better chance of making that flight, but with less than an hour to get off your originating flight and onto your connecting one, you better hope that you don’t have issues at customs and that your children are able to keep up with you in order to board on time.

Expect the unexpected when traveling

Right now, your vacation plans are quite romantic and you may be blissfully hopeful that there will be no issues but chances are there will be – especially if you’re flying with little ones. Someone is bound to trip on an escalator, or to get hit in the face by a pullman (what, that doesn’t happen to everyone?) or spill their juice or pee their pants.

Those things happen. (Bring an extra change of clothes in your carry on. And maybe a travel ice pack if your airline doesn’t mind.)

But do yourself a favor and don’t be so quick to book an international flight with a connection that’s going to leave you cutting it close (read: running through the air port with bags and children flailing behind you) and starting your vacation on a needlessly stressful note.

Tell us…

What’s the worst thing that ever happened to you in an airport.