Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Yeah! You got orders to (insert foreign country overseas)! You can already picture your kids in the international school, speaking with cute little accents and wearing local garments. Adorbs. You've got your housing picked out, adventures planned and passport photos taken. You're ready for your epic move ... except for that 13 hour plane ride. Have you wrapped your head around that yet? Before you grab for a paper bag and start hyperventilating, use our travel hacks to help make the emotional turbulence you're experiencing a little lighter.
Here are 7 Airplane Travel Hacks with Kids
1. Channel your inner Oprah
You get a bag! You get a bag! You get a snack! You get a snack! Channel your inner Oprah to get your kids excited about new, fun things. When we're doing a long plane ride, I make each of my kids their own carry on bag chalked full of fun activities and snacks that they wouldn't normally get (including lots of lollipops - the silver bullet of snacks, lollipops help their little ears regulate with changing air pressure and keep their mouths occupied, aka QUIET.)
2. Save the screens
Think of the iPad or tablet as your last resort. I promise, you will likely at some point need to exercise this nuclear option. Save it for when someone is getting super restless as a way to zone out. If you start with the screen, there's no turning back and it's hard to believe they'll get bored with that little zombie-inducer, but it will happen.
Before you leave, let them pick out and download some new fun games and movies and make sure you have headphones. Also, make sure your device is fully charged and you have a fully-charged back up battery pack.
3. Use the tray tables to your advantage
We love tray tables. I always bring wipes to de-sanitize those Petri dishes, and once that's done we play all the games. Playdoh, while ambitious, if you can do it with your kid, is super fun and a total time killer. I'll pack a flat tuperware to play "cards" in. Basically, you hold all the cards and have your kiddo pick one. Then you go through the entire deck having your child guess if the next card is higher or lower. Clearly if they draw a king or an ace they're awarded extra points and you have them re-draw until they get something closer to the middle. You'll strongly consider jumping off the plane while playing this game, but it is an easy time suck.
When my son was little, I brought blue painters tape and had him create a "race track" on the tray table and let him play cars on it. I asked the sweet man in front of him if he minded before I did it, and then I bought him two gin and tonics. Wins all around.
4. Never underestimate a sticker book
The power of stickers. I bought each of my kids 1000+ stickers and a plain white notebook and had them create scenes using colors and stickers. This lasted them hours. It was magical. Pro-tip: peel off the "outside" sticker borders so it's easier for little hands to peel the stickers themselves.
I always let my kids pick out one toy at the airport store with the promise that they'll be good on the plane. This creates a powerful bargaining tool if anyone is upset en route, "I don't want to have to take away that $70000 stuffed cat I just bought you! Let's find something fun to do!" Bribery is the ultimate motivator. And who doesn't love another stuffed animal with a 200% markup?
6. Encourage sleep
Naps are a beautiful thing for both your kids and your sanity. Bring the usual snugglies with you to make your babes as comfy and cozy as possible. Whether it's a neck pillow, fave stuffy or blankie or D) all of the above, making it feel like naptime will make sleeping a lot easier. In the history of the world, I'm unaware of a child that has ever taken a nap at the suggestion of, "Let's take a nap." Instead, tell your little one to put their head down on your lap, and you're going to draw pictures on their back with your fingers and they have to guess the drawing. They'll think it's super fun for 2 minutes until they're sleeping. Amazing.
7. Get your own oxygen mask on
You've heard this on every single flight: "In the event of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead compartment. Please secure your own mask before helping those around you." That's right, plane warrior, help yo'self first. Get a good night's sleep the night before. Start your morning with coffee. Pack an extra set of clothes for your kids and yourself in case someone has an accident on you. Bring your own iPad to binge Netflix in the off-chance everyone is happy or sleeping. Set yourself up for every bit of success you can find.
Flying is rough, but the skies certainly are a lot friendlier when you have things to do and things to eat. Make your trip a little easier with our hacks and PCSgrades, designed to make moving as seamless as possible.
This post sponsored by PCSgrades.
Five people have been indicted in federal court in the Western District of Texas on charges of participating in a scheme to steal millions of dollars from benefits reserved for military members, U.S. Department of Justice officials said Wednesday.
As the military services each roll out new policies regarding hemp-derived products like cannabidiol, or CBD, the Defense Department is not mincing words.
"It's completely forbidden for use by any service member in any of the services at this point of time," said Patricia Deuster, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.
The warning, along with the policies issued recently by the Air Force, Coast Guard and Department of the Navy, comes as CBD is becoming increasingly ubiquitous across the country in many forms, from coffee additives and vaping liquids to tinctures, candies and other foods, carrying promises of health benefits ranging from pain and anxiety relief to sleeping aids and inflammation reduction.
The Navy has fired five senior leaders so far in August – and the month isn't even over.
While the sea service is famous for instilling in officers that they are responsible for any wrongdoing by their sailors – whether they are aware of the infractions or not – the recent rash of firings is a lot, even for the Navy.
A Navy spokesman said there is no connection between any of the five officers relieved of command, adding that each relief is looked at separately.
'We are a people organization' — Army leaders push renewed focus on soldiers amid rise in sexual assaults and suicides
After months of focusing on modernization priorities, Army leadership plans to tackle persisting personnel issues in the coming years.
Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said Tuesday at an event with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies that what people can to hear service leadership "talk a lot about ... our people. Investing in our people, so that they can reach their potential. ... We are a people organization."
Two U.S. military service members were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, the Resolute Support mission announced in a press release.
Their identities are being withheld pending notification of next of kin, the command added.
A total of 16 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan so far in 2019. Fourteen of those service members have died in combat including two service members killed in an apparent insider attack on July 29.
Two U.S. troops in Afghanistan have been killed in non-combat incidents and a sailor from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln was declared dead after falling overboard while the ship was supporting operations in Afghanistan.
At least two defense contractors have also been killed in Afghanistan. One was a Navy veteran and the other had served in the Army.