Family travel can be a wonderful opportunity to create memories that will last a lifetime. If your trip involves airplane travel, then some careful planning can help make sure your trip goes as smoothly as possible.
Here are some tips for flying with kids to make sure everyone has a good time.
Planning ahead for air travel with kids starts with choosing a child-friendly airline. Visit the airline’s website to look for information about flying with babies or small children. You can find out in advance how helpful (or unhelpful) the airline staff may be with family travel.
Things To Do Ahead Of Time
Try to book a non-stop flight for early in the day, even if it costs a little more. Flying early in the day means you don’t have to worry about overtired kids who might be missing their usual nap time.
If this is a long flight, and you’re traveling with another adult, you may want to book seats apart from each other so one adult can rest while the other is taking care of the kids.
On a long flight, your child may be more comfy in his or her safety seat instead of sitting in your lap. Some airlines sell “infant fares” if you buy an extra seat for a child under two who is sitting in a safety seat.
Ship presents and larger must-have items to your destination ahead of time. Having fewer bags to juggle at the airport and on the plane will make life much easier for you.
Consider how you’re going to keep your children occupied. Bring your laptop, a tablet, portable DVD player, or electronic games (along with earphones and extra batteries too). Pack crayons, colouring books, and a favourite storybook or two. Children who are old enough can carry some of these items in their own backpacks.
Expect delays. Pack extra disposable diapers and wipes (a sudden diarrhea attack can deplete your stock quickly). Include extra clothes for babies and older children in case of sickness or spills.
Many airlines don’t serve meals anymore, so bring your own food. Grapes, juice boxes, crackers, and sandwiches are handy snacks. Airplanes may not have baby food on board, so bring your baby’s favourite varieties, along with an infant-sized spoon.
Make sure your kids are in bed early the night before. A well-rested child is a happier traveller.
The Day Of The Flight
Leave plenty of extra time. This is always good advice when flying, but it’s essential when you’re flying with kids. Any parent knows that it takes extra time to do anything with children, and airline travel is certainly no exception.
Explain to your children ahead of time about how the security officiers have to take a picture of their stuffed animal or favourite blanket to avoid problems going through security.
Most airlines allow families with kids to board first. Take advantage of this to get your kids and belongings organized and seated. When you arrive, wait and disembark last. This makes it easier for staff to help you out, if needed.
Don’t forget to pack your patience and sense of humour. Everything may go surprisingly well, or the day may be full of challenges. Patience and a sense of humour will help you make the best of any situation.
On a domestic flight, have your partner leave the plane ahead of you so that he or she can pick up your bags and other items at the baggage carousel. You can meet your partner there with the kids and not have to wait for your bags.
Have fun! Remember to enjoy yourselves. Flying with kids can be a great adventure and a chance to spend quality time with your children, especially if you plan ahead.