How to survive long (and short) flights with kids
It’s that time of year again – Summer Holidays! The kids are counting down the days, you’re wondering if you’ve made a terrible mistake in suggesting a destination that requires an aeroplane to get to as actually there are plenty of lovely places just a car ride away. Even if your kids decide the best time to have a tantrum from hell is in the middle of the flight, remember – you will soon be on a beach or enjoying the local sights, and you will survive!
We’d say it doesn’t have to be stressful but we don’t like lying… so we asked some parents what their top tips are – this is lifesaving information. If not yours, then your flight neighbours! So pull up a chair and grab a notepad….
Mary Poppins Knew Best
Even if you go by plane, chances are there will be a car journey to the airport. Having a “Magic Holiday Bag” in the car with snacks, drinks and games is a great way to get them excited about the journey. Avoid all things that are likely to melt, and don’t forget to re-fill the bag on the way back home too (if your kids are old enough, they can decorate the bag themselves – fabric pens and googly eyes will transform a plain bag into something fun very quickly).
Make sure to pack a magic bag for yourself, with your own snacks and water, but also with warm clothes for you and the kids, extra snacks, batteries or charger , diapers if needed and wipes. Lots of wipes. No, more than that. You’ll need them.
Accidents will happen
Whether it is an attack of travel sickness or simply deciding their juice deserves to be “set free” all over themselves, changes of clothes are essential. And however many spare sets you decide to pack you should probably add one more! Don’t forget to pack an extra set for yourself as well, that juice could well end up down your back. Also don’t forget to pack a plastic bag in which you can put the dirty stuff.
Stop the Vicious Circle
Do not overpack your suitcases. You can buy most of the things at your destination so when you stand in front of your suitcase, make sure you are only taking the really essential stuff, like specific food or diapers. Carefully read the flight company overweight luggage restrictions and fees so you don’t find yourself at the airport moving stuff from one bag to another super stuffed suitcase in the middle of the night.
Do you have screen time restrictions? Great. This is the time to let it go. A tablet is a perfect way to engage your kids – whether it’s apps or a movie to watch. This will guarantee at least 10 minutes of silence. Make sure batteries are full before getting out of the house, and if more than one kid uses the device, consider buying a dual adaptor
Where to sit is one of the biggest debates that we have come across. Personal preference seems to play a massive part in this! One of the biggest issues is the four-family-three-seats dilemma. Most of the parents we spoke to are in favour of two blocks of two – normally consecutive rows with a parent and child on each row. This ensures you can focus on keeping them occupied and you can reduce the amount of seat kicking and unintentional reclining. For longer haul flights having a separate aisle seat further down the plane means you can rotate parents and have one getting some much needed rest while the other one keeps the kids entertained. If you have a child under two but can afford a separate seat for them then it will be money well spent especially on anything over a couple of hours.
Back of the plane?
Pros – Being nearer the toilets is a big plus especially for those travelling with smaller kids who may need to make more frequent visits.
Cons – You will probably have to wait a bit longer to get off. Seats right at the back don’t recline. Can be a bumpy ride in turbulence though.
Front of the plane?
Pros – Easy to get on and off, extra legroom. Can be better for those with travel sickness.
Cons – The seats right at the front won’t have storage on the floor and you may be told to put bags in lockers which can cause issues if you need to get something quickly!
Emergency Exit Isle?
Pros – All that legroom!
Cons – There is a minimum age requirement – generally is it between 12 and 15 so check with the airline – this is great for older kids though.
The Naked Truth
The top tip that parents came back with about travelling by plane is everyone else on that flight will instantly hate you. They don’t mean to, but most people dislike travelling at the best of times and the thought of screaming kids for several hours in a confined space is enough to draw a sour look from most people. We’ve all seen the viral posts of parents who have left gifts of earplugs for the other passengers but this isn’t always viable – however a quick chat with the people directly around you explaining if it’s the kids first (second or tenth) time on a plane, or if they are seasoned travellers will break the ice and often results in some great parenting advice. Most people have a “Oh I remember my first trip with the kids!!” story
Do you have any tips you’d like to share with us?! Send them to us @TravelBlueLtd on twitter or drop us a line on our Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/TravelBlueLtd