Airports in the United States are anticipating crowds this weekend, as July 8 is set to be one of the busiest days of the year for air travel.
Bloomberg reported that American Airlines expected to fly 692,300 people on July 8, making it the busiest day of the US summer. It will also be operating 6892 flights on July 13 and again on July 20, the most so far this year.
With New Zealand winter school holidays starting today, families heading to the States for a Disneyland escape could get caught up in the chaos – and an unpleasant airport experience can be a stressful start to a trip.
"Travelling together with your family over peak periods can make for a lifetime of wonderful memories, but it's not without its challenges", said Sue Matson, Flight Centre's general manager retail.
"We always recommend travellers allow plenty of time to get through airports, when travelling internationally that means allowing a minimum of three hours. During peak periods such as the school holidays we recommend allowing a little more time than usual."
However, a little preparation and know-how can make all the difference in ensuring all members of the family have the best possible trip away.
Here are a few tips to keep things as stress-free as possible when travelling these school holidays:
It might seem a little like you are branding them but when you are travelling through busy and crowded airports consider writing your mobile number on your child's arm in biro in case they get lost. At the very least ensure their back pack is well labelled.
Entertainment is key
Consider investing in a "kid-friendly" camera - giving toddlers their own camera encourages them to observe their surroundings and can act as a fantastic distraction. For older children, encourage them to keep a travel journal. Thanks to children-friendly apps, there's no need to cram a toy box into your hand luggage - do consider taking a book and pen and paper though.
Know your allowances
Speak with your travel expert about liquid, powder and baby stroller allowances specific to your airline. Remember medicine allowances also differ from country to country, so it's worthwhile researching them before you fly.
Take your time
Whether at the airport, sightseeing or in transit, make sure you allow more time than you think. Toddlers love to explore and don't have an understanding of the time pressures that come with travel, so make sure to factor in time for faffing, stalling, toilet stops, tantrums and gawping.