Flying with kids is far from relaxing for many parents. Usually, mums and dads can only begin to enjoy their vacation once the plane lands. But while they are up in the air, there is the constant worry that the child will get bored, irritable, or noisy.
Unfortunately, travelling with your children always comes at a risk. When you are sitting in a confined space surrounded by strangers for several hours, there is little you can do if your children throw a tantrum.
Toddlers and young children simply don’t have the patience to travel for several hours. Plus, if they are too young to understand what’s going on, they are even more likely to get worried or frustrated with the situation.
Luckily, with a little bit of planning and preparation, you can make your travels as stress-free as possible. We have created a list of top tips for travelling with toddlers and young children. Although we have applied these tips to flying in a plane, they will also apply to long car journeys.
Here are 10 tips for flying with kids from us at KeepEmQuiet, the family travel entertainment experts!
Sensory fidget toys are a life-saver when you’re stuck on a long flight with your kids. They will keep your children occupied for hours so that you can enjoy a relaxing time on the plane.
Make sure to pack plenty of travel toys for kids in your hand luggage so that you can bring them onto the plane with you. There are lots of different toys that are lightweight and easy to carry that will do the trick.
Some great sensory fidget toys and activity packs for kids on planes include:
Of course, you won’t be able to bring all of these onto the plane with you, but bring a small selection to keep your children engaged in play while you’re flying. This way, they won’t get bored and irritable!
You could also bring a few pairs of child-friendly headphones with you on the plane for your kids to listen to music or audio storybooks while on the journey. Don’t forget to download the music or books to your phone or tablet because you won’t have internet access to stream them while you’re up in the air.
The route of your flight and the time that it sets off make a significant difference to your travel experience. When you’re travelling with toddlers and young children, you have to be considerate about which flights you book.
Generally, early morning flights are quieter than those that depart in the late afternoon or evening. If you can, book a flight that sets off before most people have even woken up. Doing so will increase the chances of a calmer, less crowded flight.
There’s usually a lower risk of flight delays or cancellations in the mornings too. The last thing you want when you’re travelling with young children is to be stuck waiting for a late plane for several more hours than you’d originally planned.
When you’re booking your flights, try and choose the option with the shortest route. Avoid flights that have long transfer times if you need to get multiple planes. Waiting around at the airport between flights will only make your children even more tired and agitated.
If you’ve ever been on a plane before, you’ll know how cold they can get! Being that far up in the atmosphere, you can expect a significant temperature drop and this is not ideal when you have your little ones with you.
Dressing up with lots of layers will prevent your kids from getting too cold, and make sure they’re wearing comfy clothes. If they’re going to be sat in the same seat for several hours, they need to feel as comfortable as possible so they don’t end up fidgeting.
Rushing around at the last minute before you set off to the airport is the last thing you’ll want to do. This will only start your holiday off on the wrong note and cause you a lot of unnecessary stress.
To ensure you don’t forget anything as you’re heading out the door, write down a list of hand luggage packing essentials. These are the items that you’ll be taking with you onto the plane in your hand luggage.
Not sure what the essentials are? Here is a quick list that might help you out!
All of these items should squeeze into any standard travel bag and they won’t be too heavy to carry around. If you wear glasses or take regular medications, don't forget to pack those if you think you’ll need them while you’re on the flight.
When you want to distract a toddler or young child, there’s nothing better than food! Kids often start to fidget or throw a tantrum when they’re hungry, so packing some healthy snacks will come in handy if you’re on a long flight.
Aside from being a great distraction, healthy snacks will also curb any hunger that you or your kids might feel. If you’re travelling for half of the day, you’re going to need to refuel at some point.
Healthy plane-friendly foods are:
When the plane engines are roaring as it takes off or there's a particularly bad bout of turbulence along the way to your destination, it can make children very anxious. If you spot that your kids seem worried or scared, offer them lots of comfort. Hug them and hold their hand so they feel safer.
You should also explain what’s happening to calm their nerves. Your children will feel much more relaxed when they are aware of what’s going on around them.
This is also a great time to pull out your travel toys for kids and give it to them as a distraction from a rough flight.
Certain airlines are known for being more child-friendly. If possible, book your flights with one of these airlines so you and your kids can enjoy some of the associated perks.
For example, some flights have TVs with channels that are dedicated to kids’ programs and many also provide free child-friendly headphones. They might have lots of delicious foods and snacks that kids love, such as chocolates and candies, or free children’s activity packs with colouring books and crayons.
Choosing a family-friendly airline will make the journey more enjoyable for everybody. You can rely on the plane’s facilities and perks to provide entertainment for your children (link to blog 10) so you can relax and travel without any stress.
Going through airport security can be challenging at the best of times but it’s even worse when you’re unprepared. Frantically searching through all of your bags to try and find a lost passport is not ideal, especially when you’re travelling with toddlers or young children.
To avoid any delays (or embarrassment), pack everything you need to get through security in an easy-to-reach pocket. Most of the time, you’ll need your passport and travel tickets, as well as any other legal documentation that you need to leave or enter a specific country.
Flying with kids is much easier when they are seated by the window. Firstly, they’re less likely to get distracted when they can’t look up and down the aisle of the plane. Secondly, being able to stare out of the window during take-off and landing can be the perfect way to distract a toddler or young child from the hustle and bustle inside the plane.
Aisle seats can also be quite dangerous for young children because of the foot traffic going past the seat during the flight. When the flight attendants bring around their food and drink carts, there is a risk of the cart accidentally scraping your child or hot coffee spilling on top of them.
Being a flight attendant is not an easy job and having to deal with noisy youngsters only makes it more difficult. Make sure to show your appreciation to the flight attendants who have catered to your needs during your flight. All it takes is a quick thank you on your way out of the plane after landing.
If you have enough time before your holiday, you could also buy some flowers or a box of chocolates, ready to give to the flight attendants when you first board the plane.
If you would like to make your journey easier with the kids, take a look at our award-winning entertainment packs below:
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