Holiday Travel with Kids - TSA Approved - Mother Load

Holiday Travel with Kids - TSA Approved


Planning a family getaway but worried about the chaos of holiday travel with kids? Fret not! This blog post is your ultimate guide to turning potential stress into seamless fun. Discover expert tips on keeping little ones entertained during long journeys, navigating airport security like a pro, and finding family-friendly accommodations that cater to both parents and children. Say goodbye to meltdowns and boredom-induced tantrums, and say hello to unforgettable adventures filled with laughter and joy. Let's transform your next vacation from daunting to delightful, making memories that will last a lifetime.

Key Takeaways

  • Prepare in Advance: Start preparing for holiday travel with kids early to avoid last-minute stress and ensure a smooth experience.

  • Utilize TSA PreCheck: Consider signing up for TSA PreCheck to expedite security screenings and streamline the airport process.

  • Maximize Benefits: Take advantage of the benefits of TSA PreCheck, such as keeping shoes on and laptops in bags, to make traveling with kids easier.

  • Familiarize with Regulations: Understand TSA regulations for traveling with children to navigate checkpoints efficiently and avoid delays.

  • Coordinate with Airlines: Check with airlines about their specific policies regarding TSA PreCheck for families traveling with kids.

  • Pack Strategically: Follow packing tips for families, like organizing essentials in carry-ons, to make airport security checks hassle-free.

Preparing for Travel

Smart Packing

Creating a packing list for each child is crucial to ensure you have everything they need. Utilize organization pouches to keep items organized and easily accessible during your trip. Remember to roll clothes instead of folding them to maximize space in your luggage.

TSA Liquids Rule

When packing liquids, adhere to the TSA guidelines by placing them in a clear, quart-sized bag. Each liquid container should not exceed 3.4 ounces to comply with security regulations. Be sure to declare any larger liquids at the security checkpoint for inspection.

Car Seats Guidelines

Before traveling, check the specific airline policies regarding the use of car seats on board. It's essential to ensure that your car seat is FAA-approved for air travel to guarantee its safety and compatibility. For added convenience, consider investing in a travel car seat designed for easy transport.

Strollers Guidelines

To avoid additional fees, gate-check your stroller at the airport for free rather than checking it with your luggage. When selecting a stroller, opt for models that are lightweight and compact for easy maneuverability in crowded spaces. Always remember to secure any loose items on the stroller to prevent them from falling off during transit.

Understanding TSA PreCheck

Program Overview

TSA PreCheck is a family travel program that expedites security screening at airports. Enrolling in this program can save you time and hassle during the holiday rush. The program allows travelers to keep their shoes, belts, and light jackets on during screening.

The benefits of participating in TSA PreCheck are numerous. Families can enjoy shorter wait times, expedited security checks, and a more relaxed travel experience. With TSA PreCheck, you can breeze through security checkpoints without the need to remove laptops or liquids from your bag.

By enrolling in TSA PreCheck, families can enhance their overall travel experience. Avoiding long lines and streamlined security procedures make traveling with kids much smoother and less stressful. Parents can focus on keeping their children entertained rather than worrying about lengthy security processes.

Eligibility Criteria

Most U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents are eligible for TSA PreCheck. Children under 12 years old can accompany eligible adults through expedited screening lanes. Families of all sizes can benefit from this program, making it ideal for holiday travel with kids.

To participate in TSA PreCheck, children must be accompanied by an enrolled parent or guardian. There are no age restrictions for children traveling with parents who have TSA PreCheck privileges. This flexibility ensures that families can move through security together quickly and efficiently.

There are no specific limitations on family size when it comes to participating in TSA PreCheck. Whether you have one child or multiple children, the entire family can take advantage of expedited screening benefits offered by the program.

Applying Process

The application process for TSA PreCheck is straightforward and user-friendly. To apply, visit the official TSA website and complete an online application form. You will need to provide personal information, such as your full name, date of birth, and address.

Required documents for the application include a valid form of identification and proof of citizenship or immigration status. Once you submit your online application, you may need to schedule an in-person appointment at a designated enrollment center for identity verification and fingerprinting.

Families have the option to apply online or visit an enrollment center in person for their TSA PreCheck application. Online applications typically have quicker processing times compared to in-person appointments at enrollment centers.

Approval Process

After submitting your application, approval for TSA PreCheck typically takes around two to three weeks. You will receive notification via email once your application has been approved. Approved travelers will receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) that they can use when booking flights.

In case of denial, there is an appeals process available for applicants who believe they were wrongly rejected from the program. By providing additional documentation or clarifications, denied applicants may have the opportunity to appeal the decision and potentially gain approval for TSA PreCheck participation.

Benefits of TSA PreCheck

Time Saving

TSA PreCheck saves time by allowing families to use expedited security screening lanes at the airport. This means shorter lines and quicker processing for parents traveling with kids. The program significantly reduces waiting times, especially beneficial when managing children's needs.

The expedited security screening benefits of TSA PreCheck are invaluable for families. By providing a separate lane for pre-approved travelers, families can bypass the standard security procedures and move through checkpoints swiftly. This ensures a smoother and less stressful experience for parents with young children in tow.

Reduced waiting times are a major advantage of TSA PreCheck, particularly when traveling with kids. Families can avoid long queues and enjoy a more efficient screening process, making the overall airport experience more manageable. With shorter wait times, parents can focus on attending to their children's needs without the added stress of lengthy security lines.


TSA PreCheck offers various convenience features that make air travel easier for families. These include dedicated family-friendly amenities such as expedited security screening and shorter wait times. Families can benefit from priority access to security checkpoints, reducing overall travel stress.

The program provides family-friendly amenities designed to streamline the airport experience for parents and children alike. From designated family lanes to specialized assistance for families, TSA PreCheck prioritizes convenience and efficiency for travelers with kids. Parents can navigate the airport with ease, knowing that they have access to tailored services that cater to their specific needs.

Assistance is readily available for families enrolled in TSA PreCheck, ensuring a smooth travel experience from start to finish. With dedicated support staff and resources tailored to families' requirements, parents can feel confident that they have the necessary assistance at every stage of their journey. Whether it's navigating security procedures or accessing family-specific amenities, TSA PreCheck offers unparalleled convenience for traveling families.

Screening Advantages

Families enrolled in TSA PreCheck enjoy priority screening benefits that expedite the security process. By accessing dedicated family screening lanes, parents can move through checkpoints quickly and efficiently, minimizing wait times and enhancing the overall travel experience for everyone involved.

Dedicated family screening lanes within TSA PreCheck facilities ensure that parents and children receive specialized attention during the security screening process. These lanes are designed to accommodate families' unique needs, providing a seamless and stress-free experience for travelers with kids in tow. By offering priority access to these designated lanes, TSA PreCheck enhances the screening process for families.

Simplified screening procedures for kids are another key advantage of TSA PreCheck enrollment. Children accompanying pre-approved travelers benefit from streamlined security checks tailored to their age group, making the process less intimidating and more straightforward. Parents can rest assured that their children will receive appropriate assistance and guidance throughout the screening process.

With Children

Traveling with kids can be challenging, but with the right strategies, navigating TSA checkpoints can be a breeze. To make the process smoother, consider these tips:

  • Arrive early at the airport to allow plenty of time for security checks and unexpected delays.

  • Use family lanes designated for travelers with young children to expedite the screening process.

  • Ensure your children are prepared for security procedures by explaining what to expect beforehand.

When traveling with kids, it's essential to take advantage of child-friendly airport facilities. Look out for:

  • Family restrooms equipped with changing tables and space for multiple family members.

  • Play areas where children can burn off energy before long flights.

  • Nursing rooms for mothers who need privacy and comfort while breastfeeding.

Entertainment options for children can make waiting in line at TSA checkpoints more enjoyable. Consider bringing along:

  • Coloring books and crayons to keep kids occupied during security checks.

  • Portable electronic devices loaded with games or movies for longer waits.

  • Snacks and drinks to prevent hunger-induced meltdowns while queuing up

Using PreCheck

Enrolling in TSA PreCheck can significantly expedite the security screening process for families traveling with kids. Here's how it works:

  • PreCheck allows eligible passengers to enjoy expedited security screening without removing shoes, laptops, liquids, belts, or light jackets.

  • Including children in your PreCheck membership means they can benefit from the same streamlined security process.

  • The enrollment process for families is simple: visit an enrollment center with required documents, complete an application, and undergo a background check.

By utilizing PreCheck, families can bypass long lines at security checkpoints and minimize stress associated with air travel. It offers:

  • Faster processing times that reduce wait times at security checkpoints, ideal for families with young children.

  • A more predictable travel experience by ensuring smoother transitions through airport security.

  • Peace of mind knowing that your family can navigate TSA screenings efficiently and comfortably.

TSA Regulations for Kids

PreCheck Access

Accessing PreCheck lanes with children is a breeze for families. Children under 12 can join their parent or guardian in the expedited security line. This means faster screening processes and less waiting time.

To utilize PreCheck, families need to ensure that all members have TSA PreCheck on their boarding passes. Parents must add their child's Known Traveler Number to the reservation to enjoy this benefit. It's a simple step that can save valuable time at the airport.

The benefits of PreCheck for families are immense. Shorter wait times and no need to remove shoes, belts, or light jackets make the process easier, especially when traveling with young children who require extra attention.

Screening Process

The security screening process involves various steps to ensure safety. Families should be prepared for X-ray screenings of carry-on items and walk-through metal detectors for individuals. It's essential to follow instructions from TSA officers closely.

For families with kids, additional security measures may apply. Children may need to undergo a modified pat-down procedure, which aims to maintain their comfort while ensuring security protocols are met. Parents can request private screenings if needed.

Certain items are exempt from regular screening procedures for families with kids. Baby formula, breast milk, and juice for infants are allowed in quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces. Informing TSA officers about these items during screening expedites the process.

Airlines and PreCheck

Participating Airlines

Several major airlines participate in the TSA PreCheck program, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines. These airlines allow passengers to enjoy expedited security screening, making travel with kids much smoother.

  • American Airlines: Offers dedicated lanes for TSA PreCheck members, reducing wait times significantly.

  • Delta Air Lines: Provides a seamless experience for families by allowing them to keep shoes on and laptops in bags during screening.

  • United Airlines: Ensures a hassle-free process for parents traveling with children, minimizing stress and delays.

Flying with partner airlines that are part of the TSA PreCheck program comes with various benefits. Parents can avoid long lines at security checkpoints, giving them more time to manage their little ones and their belongings. The streamlined process reduces the chances of meltdowns or tantrums from tired kids.

Partner airlines offer special services to make traveling with children more convenient. These services may include priority boarding for families, assistance with strollers and car seats, as well as onboard amenities like kid-friendly meals or entertainment options. Such thoughtful provisions enhance the overall travel experience for both parents and children.

Packing Tips for Families

Essentials List

When traveling with kids, must-have items include diapers, wipes, snacks, and a change of clothes. Don't forget comfort items like blankets or stuffed animals to soothe them.

For emergency supplies, pack a first aid kit with band-aids, pain relievers, and any necessary medications. Include important documents such as passports and travel insurance details.

To keep children entertained during the journey, bring coloring books, crayons, small toys, or tablets loaded with their favorite shows or games. Engagement essentials can make long flights or car rides more manageable for everyone.

Avoiding Overpacking

To avoid overpacking for kids, plan outfits ahead based on the number of days and activities. Packing only necessary items will lighten your load and make it easier to find what you need.

We suggest using Mother Load bags to organize your childcare essentials and streamline packing. This system compartmentalizes your baby or toddler's "stuff", allowing any bag to become a diaper bag. Each bag has a unique design feature for Diapering, Snacks, Clean Clothes, Dirty/Wet Clothes, and Toys.  TSA "loves" the see-through stretch mesh, these bags eliminate the need for the zip lock bag.

1. Always pack the number of diapers per hour you are traveling.  Yes, you will have too many but what if you are stuck in the airport due to poor weather or plane mechanical problems? It's happened to us!

2. Bring one change of clothes for yourself and 2 for your baby or toddler in your carry on. Drinks spill, throw up happens and that trusted diaper will no doubt fail. 

3. Buy your child a new toy, game, puzzle, or craft. Don't show or give it to them until they are in the air or buckled in the car. 

5. When taking off or heading in for a landing, do yourself a favor and give your little one a special travel treat. We recommend Dum Dums lollypops because they are so small and they tend to make less of a mess than any other brand. These lollypops are the cure for the air pressure ear pain and absolutely make everyone on the airplane including your little one very happy!! 

Tips for Smooth Checkpoints

Documents Organization

When traveling with kids, organize travel documents for each child separately to avoid confusion. Keep passports, tickets, and other necessary papers in one accessible place.

It is crucial to keep these documents handy at all times during your journey. Having them readily available can streamline the check-in and boarding processes.

Consider using digital copies of important documents as a backup. Store them securely on your phone or a cloud service for easy access in case of emergencies.

Security Line Tips

Guide your children on navigating security lines by explaining the procedures beforehand. This helps them understand what to expect and reduces anxiety.

Prepare your kids for security checks by reminding them to empty their pockets and remove any metal objects or electronics from their bags.

To ensure a smooth passage through security, encourage your children to cooperate with the security personnel and follow instructions promptly.

Advantages During Holidays

Less Stress

Traveling with kids can be challenging, but there are ways to make it less stressful. Planning ahead can help reduce last-minute chaos and anxiety. Packing essentials like snacks, toys, and extra clothes is crucial.

To cope with stressful situations while traveling, stay calm and patient. Kids can pick up on your stress, so maintaining a positive attitude is key. Engage them in activities or games to distract them during delays or long journeys.

Creating a relaxed travel environment is essential for a smooth trip. Establish routines that mimic home as much as possible. Stick to regular meal times and bedtime rituals to keep kids comfortable and content throughout the journey.

More Family Time

Maximizing family time during holiday travels is important for bonding and creating lasting memories. Involve kids in planning activities or choosing destinations to foster a sense of inclusion and excitement. Discuss the trip beforehand to build anticipation and get everyone excited.

Engaging in family-friendly activities like sightseeing, exploring nature, or visiting amusement parks can strengthen family bonds. Participate in interactive experiences that cater to all ages, ensuring everyone has fun together. Capture these moments through photos or journals to cherish later.

Making memories together while on holiday is priceless. Encourage storytelling sessions where each family member shares their favorite moments of the trip. Create traditions like souvenir shopping or trying new foods together to make each vacation unique and special.

Closing Thoughts

You've now armed yourselves with essential tips for navigating holiday travel with kids efficiently. From understanding TSA PreCheck benefits to mastering airport security checkpoints, you're well-prepared for a stress-free journey. Remember to pack wisely, stay informed about TSA regulations, and leverage the advantages of TSA PreCheck during the busy holiday season.

As you gear up for your next family adventure, put these insights into action and breeze through the airport hassle-free. Safe travels and enjoy creating lasting memories with your loved ones!

Wishing you and your family safe holiday travels!!!


Founder of Mother Load

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use TSA PreCheck when traveling with kids?

Yes, children 12 and under can accompany an eligible guardian with TSA PreCheck benefits. Kids over 12 must have their own TSA PreCheck boarding pass to use the expedited screening.

Is TSA PreCheck beneficial for families during holiday travel?

Absolutely! With TSA PreCheck, families can enjoy shorter wait times, keep shoes and light jackets on, and go through security without removing laptops or liquids. It's a time-saver during the busy holiday season.

What are some packing tips for families traveling during the holidays?

Pack essentials in carry-ons, including snacks, entertainment for kids, extra clothes, and necessary medications. Consider shipping gifts in advance to avoid bulky luggage. Don't forget important documents like passports and IDs.

How can I ensure smooth checkpoints while traveling with kids?

Prepare your family by explaining security procedures beforehand. Arrive early at the airport to allow extra time for unexpected delays. Use family lanes if available and organize belongings neatly in bins for efficient screening.

Are there specific regulations from TSA regarding children during travel?

TSA has guidelines for screening kids which may include additional checks like pat-downs if necessary. Children can keep shoes on if under 12 but might need to remove hats or hoodies during inspection.


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