Tips for Taking Kids on Airplanes

Kids on Airplanes
Think of the worst flight you’ve ever had. You probably had a little kid sitting behind you, kicking your seat while the mother of said child cradled another scared toddler who was screaming all throughout takeoff and landing because someone forgot to remind the youngest kid to swallow and pop her ears. Or, you’ve been moved to pray for safe landing because the kid sitting across the aisle from you continues to ask what would happen if the plane fell from the sky. If you’ve ever been the parent of these children, you have probably sworn to yourself that you’ll never take another plane ride with kids ever again; you’ll just wait until they grow up to take another vacation. Luckily for you, it doesn’t have to be that hard. If you can prepare beforehand, you’ll have a much smoother traveling experience that won’t leave you in a fit of frustrated tears.

Bring Your Own Entertainment

Frankly, plane rides are long and boring, and being cooped up in that tiny cabin is difficult even for the smallest of passengers. If the flight is delayed, that boredom is only compounded by the boredom of sitting in the terminal waiting to board the plane. If the flight isn’t long, there isn’t even an in-flight movie anymore that can keep the kids entertained. Therefore, you need to bring your own sources of entertainment. Coloring books and crayons are great ways to keep kids occupied. Even better is a portable DVD player stocked with the kids’ favorite movies and TV shows. If you have an iPad or smart phone the kids can play games on, that’s a great addition to the entertainment pile, as well. As long as something is moving in front of them, they will stay occupied for a long time.

Stock Up on Snacks

You can’t bring trail mix through security anymore, but it might be a good idea to invest in some snacks after you get to the terminal. Even though airport food is totally overpriced, hunger is one of the primary reasons why kids get cranky. They can’t last as long without food or drink as adults can, so keeping their favorite treats at hand can help keep them calm.

Take Your Time

Getting to the airport early is the key. Traveling with your kids in tow is incredibly different from traveling alone or with a group of adults. Your kids will probably slow you down, and they will want to sit and watch the planes take off to build a sense of comfort for when their plane takes off. Also, rushing the kids and acting stressed out will only stress them out. Therefore, make sure you give yourself plenty of time once you get to the airport.

Bring the Comforts of Home

If your child has a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, make sure you carry that. Having some of the comforts of home can help your child sleep on the airplane, and can also make him or her feel more comfortable. Being reminded of home is one of the best ways to calm a traveling child.

Educate Kids Beforehand

A few weeks before you are scheduled to take flight, start talking to your kids about airplanes, traveling, and etiquette. Knowledge is power, and the more they know, the better they will do. If you have toy airplanes with little figurines that can get on them, you can use the toys to play "airplane" and show the children what people do and how they act. This knowledge*can make them less nervous and, therefore, better behaved.

Las Vegas Grand Canyon Skywalk Helicopter Tours

Grand Canyon Skywalk
What's as important as seeing the Skywalk? Getting there. And nothing is more dramatic than taking a Las Vegas helicopter to the "glass bridge."

These flights depart from Las Vegas and reach the Skywalk in 45 minutes. En route, you'll fly over Lake Mead, the largest man-made reservoir in the U.S., and Hoover Dam, which now includes the spectacular Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.

Before you know it, there it is: The Grand Canyon Skywalk, glittering like a diamond under the bright desert sun.

Keep that camera clicking - the spectacular descent kicks in at this point. Out the window you'll see Eagle and Guano Points, the authentic Indian Village, the Colorado River, and the Grand Canyon's famous skyline before landing at Grand Canyon West, a 9,000-acre area owned by the Hualapai Indian Tribe.

The "glass bridge" is a modern-day marvel of civil engineering. The cantilevered walkway extends 70 feet past the edge and suspends guests 4,000 feet above the Colorado River. The bridge is strong and can hold up to 71 fully loaded 747 jumbo jets. It can also withstand earthquakes up to magnitude 8 on the Richter Scale. Built to support up to 800 people, the Skywalk's maximum occupancy is 120.

The deck is comprised of 46 glass panels that cost $250,000 each. This glass can scratch, which is why no personal electronics, including digital cameras and smart phones, are allowed. You are also required to put cloth booties over your shoes. Photographers are available to take your picture, and there are mounted cameras on the guardrails.

There are two types of Skywalk Grand Canyon helicopter tours from Las Vegas. The air tour takes you to the Grand Canyon and over the bridge and back to Vegas. Total tour time is 3.5 hours. The other lands and includes VIP Skywalk tickets and lunch. This trip lasts 6.5 hours. Both trips include free hotel shuttle service to most major Las Vegas Strip hotels.

These helicopter flights are safe, comfortable, and fun. Most tour operators use the EcoStar 130, a fantastic aircraft that features a cabin 25% larger than conventional helicopters. This extra space permits stadium-style seating and huge 180-degree wraparound windows. They also come equipped with two-way digital communication systems and a pre-recorded narration translated into more than 10 languages.

These helicopter tours can be extremely cheap. The best prices are on the Internet. I recommend purchasing direct from the tour operator. In addition to getting the best price, you'll also have peace of mind knowing that your reservation is confirmed and that there will not be any "day-of" reschedulings. Which reminds me: Never book when you arrive in Las Vegas. These tours sell out. Always book in advance.

The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a spectacular event. To do it right, take a helicopter tour from Las Vegas. These helicopters fly at a lower altitude than airplanes, giving you the ultimate bird's eye view when you soar over Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and the Skywalk. Plus, they're fast, reaching speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour. If it all sounds over the top, it is. Which is exactly how you should remember your Grand Canyon Skywalk experience.