One of the first things we suggest doing, when looking to plan a family vacation, is to make your airline reservations early. You will likely be better off when doing so, for several different reasons. Perhaps, the greatest reason is the comfort and peace of mind that you may get from knowing that all your flight arrangements are made and out of the way.
As for packing for your flight, you will want to make sure that your children's bag are packed appropriately. Not only will you want to make sure that they have all needed supplies for your vacation, but you will also want to make sure that they have items for the airplane ride as well. Each person gets to have one carry-on bag. Depending on age, you will want to make sure that each of your kids have one packed with the basics and goodies to keep them occupied during the flight.
Speaking of carry-on bags for your kids, be sure to fill them will fun activities for the plane ride. What you will choose will all depend on your child's age. For example, younger children may benefit from books and a few small toys. For older children, activity books, crosswords, handheld video games, toys, and magazines are a great idea.
You will also want to make sure that you have extra snacks on hand and in your personal carry-on bags. This is especially important if you are on a budget and don't want to have to spend too much money at the airport. It can get costly to feed a whole family at airport prices, even just with snacks. For that same reason and if possible, we always try to have everyone have a proper meal before we leave for the airport.
As for drinks, please do not bring any with you to the airport, unless you have a newborn or an infant. If you are flying with a baby, bring prepared bottles of formula, but make sure to have some dry formula powder with you as well to prepare during a layover. Drinks and liquids, with the exception of drinks for kids, are not allowed past airport security checkpoints and they will have to be thrown away.
When you have arrived at the airport, be sure to stay together as airports are a busy place. Also, be sure to set some ground rules with your children. These rules should include sticking together, not speaking to strangers, and so forth. In fact, you will want to help each other out. For example, if you have an older child, let them help you with finding the right gate, carrying bags, or keeping any younger siblings occupied. Your trip will likely be much smoother and less stressful when everyone works together.