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How Do I Keep My Family Happy During Major Travel Delays?

A family travel expert, an airport representative, and a mom who has “been there, done that” weigh in.

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The mom who has traveled extensively with her kids says…

“Play games or activities that don’t require you to pack something extra, and pick things that people of every age can play so no one is left out.

Ideas include the Letter Game: Someone sings the alphabet in their head and when a person says “stop,” they say the letter out loud and everyone has to think of a country, name, color, city, fruit, etc. starting with that letter. With 20 Questions, children come up with the most creative things for everyone to guess such as dragons and fairies or characters on their favorite TV shows.

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Creating TikToks with the family can be a great bonding activity. Try choreographing dances together or lip syncing your favorite lines from a TikTok audio.“

—Sandra Aris, Los Angeles, CEO of Sandra Aris Inc., mother of three girls, ages eight, 12, and 14.

The family travel blogger says…

“Unless you’re absolutely sure the plane won’t leave for at least two hours (and the security line is fast) don’t leave the airport! Times and availability can change quickly and the plane won’t wait for you.

Ask the gate agent if they have free meal vouchers to use at the airport and credit toward another flight if your plane is significantly delayed. Airport lounges often have comfortable seating, free food, snacks, and drinks, and sometimes even beds and showers. You can pay to use them or they can be a free perk to frequent fliers and credit card holders.

Talk about your destination. Google it or snag a guide book from a gift shop, or talk about things you already know like, “the pool has a slide,” or “the ice cream is supposed to be great.” Kids may complain less and have more fun when they have specific things to anticipate. “

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—Kelli Nielson, Denver, author of the Tripfixers blog, mom of a four-month-old daughter and a three-year-old son.

The airport representative says…

“Many airports, including Denver International Airport (DEN), have resources like coloring books and crayons at information booths.

Our airport, like many others, is also filled with artwork. It can be a great learning experience to see art and read descriptions. We have aviation-related activities on the Camp DEN part of our website. And watch for the Canine Airport Therapy Squad (CATS) with guide dogs in purple plaid “pet me” vests—ask for their trading cards. The sky bridge to Terminal A currently offers travelers the Winter Festivals exhibit, featuring competition apparel, tools, and equipment from iconic and long-running Colorado winter events.

If you need to catch some shut-eye, it’s best to stay close to your gate. But if you know you’ll be staying overnight, look for less crowded areas to spread out like mezzanines or designated rest and relax areas. “

—Alex Renteria, Denver International Airport Public Information Officer

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