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Jet-Setting with Kids: A Gay Dad's Survival Guide

If you're prepping for your first flight with the little ones, I know it might feel a bit overwhelming. We've all seen those frazzled parents trying everything short of sedatives to calm their crying children on airplanes. Believe me, there's a reason for that anxiety—kids need space to run around, which isn't exactly possible on a plane.


But don't worry! If your child has a meltdown during the flight, just remember, you’ll likely never see those annoyed passengers again. Plus, noise-canceling headphones exist for a reason. If someone didn't bring theirs, that's their problem, not yours.


We’ve been flying with my two young girls for years, long distance flights as well as short distance, and believe it or not, it’s not only manageable, it can be a blast. Here are my top tips to make your journey as smooth and enjoyable as possible.


In-Flight Strategy: Keep It Fun


Forget about strict parenting on the plane. My goal is to make the flight as enjoyable as possible. That means unlimited screen time, endless apple juice, and a never-ending supply of snacks. I want my kids to love flying, so I let go of the usual rules while we're in the air.


Terminal Time: Let Them Roam


The airport terminal is our playground. From the moment we arrive, we’re exploring every corner, running around, and climbing on anything we can find. Moving walkways, escalators, and those tunnels under the seats at empty gates—nothing is off-limits, as long as they don't bother other passengers or get lost… I always arrive early so after the long queues in check-in and security, the kids can burn off energy before we board. By the time we get to our seats, we’re ready to relax.


Choosing the Right Airline


Do your research, which airlines allows unlimited snacks, or has variety of movies or TV series with proper subtitles / dubbing. Which airline will allow quick boarding process, and which airline will not charge for car seat etc..


Focus on Your Family


Remember, the only opinions that matter are those of the people going home with you. Prioritize your family's comfort and happiness over potentially grumpy fellow travelers. That said, no need to be rude or disturb others - but try to navigate it properly. Also, this can be a good teaching moment to the kids on how to behave in public.


Keep It Light and Fun


Kids pick up on your vibes. If you're stressed, they will be too. Make it fun, laugh off the small stuff, and celebrate your little adventurers. Allow them to decide on locations (yes, believe it or not - kids will usually prefer to play or go to parks over museums - and that's totally ok. You can go to your favorite place when you travel alone or with your partner…


Bonus Tips for the Prepared Parent


  • Sweet Peace Offerings: Bring some fancy chocolates to hand out as pre-emptive apologies to nearby passengers. This small gesture can help prevent dirty looks when your child accidentally kicks the seat in front of them.


  • App-y Travels: Download kid-friendly apps to keep your little ones entertained. This keeps your carry-on light and avoids turning it into a toy chest.


  • Public Transport Fun: Skip the rental car and use public transportation. Kids love the excitement of trains, buses, and boats. It's an adventure in itself.


  • Always Have Wipes: Even if your kid is potty trained, baby wipes are a lifesaver for cleaning hands and wiping down surfaces.


  • Preview the Hotel: Show your kids photos of the hotel room before you leave. This way, they know what to expect and there are fewer surprises.


  • Kid Cameras: Give your child a camera to document the trip. It's a fun way to keep them engaged and you’ll get some hilarious photos.


  • Recovery Day: Plan for a day off work after you return. Trust me, you'll need it.


  • Security Lines: Long security lines can be a hassle, but remember, going through customs as a family without question is incredibly validating.


  • New Setting, New Perspective: Traveling can offer a fresh perspective. I found myself appreciating my partner even more, noticing all the little things he does that I often take for granted.


So there you have it, fellow gay warriors. We survived our first international trip with our little girls, and guess what? They survived, we survived, and we had a great time. You can do it too!

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