We were lucky enough to spend our half term on holiday in the Mediterranean with the kids. This was the first time the children had been on an aeroplane, but with some pre-holiday research and some careful planning it was a breeze. So here are my top tips for flying with children.
My 5 Top Tips for Flying with Children
We flew for the first time last week with our two children aged 4 and 5. I spent a lot of time thinking about it before we went, as I was a little apprehensive. What might they need? What might they want? How will they feel when they are flying?
I made sure I had everything covered. I am pleased to say that the children were little angels, and Mummy and Daddy had a nice relaxed flight (so much so Daddy managed some shut eye!). So here are my top tips for flying with children.
1. Empty Juice/Water Bottles
With the rules about liquids in hand luggage, it’s best to buy your drinks for the flight after you’ve been through security. My kids are guaranteed to spill anything you can buy off the shelf, so my first top tip is to take along with you empty juice/water bottles. That way you can fill them with their drinks, and it leads to a spill free journey!
2. Boiled Lollipops
I remember flying as a child and they used to hand out boiled sweets to suck when you took off and landed to help stop your ears popping. My kids crunch boiled sweets, and obviously they are no good for much younger children. So my top tip number two is go armed with a bag of boiled fruit lollipops. I know they’re full of sugar but try and go for the ones made from real fruit juice, and if they prevent that horrible sensation of ears popping then it’s all good in my book.
Kids get hungry, and bored and a good supply of snacks can prevent both. Now you could be really organised and prepare some fresh fruit or vegetable batons in advance, or like me stick to crisps, crackers and sweets which I can grab out of the cupboard last minute. Whatever you choose for your kids in flight snacking, my top tip number 3 is invest in some good no spill snack pots like these ones. That way they can graze throughout the flight without littering the plane floor!
Boredom is one the biggest reason why your kids are going to start to play up, especially if you are on a long haul flight. Now at home I like my kids to make their own entertainment playing with their toys, crafting or out in the garden, and I try not to rely too much on electronics. However, confined to a plane seat is another matter, and I’m happy to let that rule go.
Make sure you have adequate entertainment to hand whether it be a colouring book, iPad, tablet or in Isla’s case her Nintendo DS. She would play it for hours if I let her at home, which is why it’s ideal for a flight. We also take our iPad, and every time we go away we let the kids choose a new film to download on it. That way we are gradually building up our collection and have entertainment for the car journey to the airport as well as during the flight.
The problem with electronic entertainment is it can be noisey which isn’t great for everyone else on the flight. So my top tip number 4 for flying with children is invest in some earphones. These ones are perfect. Soft and comfortable to wear, volume controlled and they link together so if they want to watch a film together, or play Mariokarts against each other they can.
5. Be Prepared
This probably goes without saying, especially for us mums (and some dads), but think about what you might need and be prepared. When flying you have to think about what happens if your flight gets delayed and you end up spending more time in the airport than planned. What you pack in your carry on will also depend on the age of your children. If you are travelling with babies for instance, you are going to need nappies, wipes and formula in addition to everything else. What you pack in your hand luggage will obviously be tailored to you and your family, but for my final top tip for travelling with children, here are a few things I pack in my hand luggage to be prepared for every eventuality.
- Baby wipes:- I think I will carry these in my bag forever, even when the kids are teenagers! (What did I do before I discovered these multi-use miracle sheets!)
- Spare batteries and chargers for electronic devices:- Nothing is going to ruin a nice smooth plane journey than the i-Pad running out of battery half way through Ice Age for my little boy! On a serious note though, if you are carrying electronic devices in hand luggage you may need to prove that they work by turning them on. Most airports now have charging stations for USB leads so make sure you pack a USB lead charging cables and batteries just in case.
- Change of pants/knickers for kids with spare pair shorts/leggings for them each:- My children are obviously toilet trained, but have a habit for leaving things a bit late especially when excited. So rather than make them travel in soiled clothes, I like to be prepared.
- Plastic bag/s:- for rubbish, a fore mentioned used baby wipes,, sweaty wrappers and heaven forbid soiled clothes.
As a result of these tips we had 2 very smooth plane journeys, and any anxiety I had about flying with the children has gone. Maybe we will try long haul with them next time!
How old were your children when you first flew with them? What are your top tips?
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