Travelling with kids takes a lot of organizing and patience. Travelling for long flights - or taking trips further away with little ones can be stressful on another level. However, we have done it - we have collected some tips and tricks that we hope can help you - travel happily and stress-free!
Many will say book early flights - however, we have perfected the late night / overnight flights - especially when travelling overseas. We ensure the kids are in their comfiest clothes (basically PJs) and do all the bathroom trips at the airport before boarding the plane. Kids then get tucked away in their seats and often fall asleep once the plane starts moving (as it is later and prob around their bedtime). This helps as when they wake up - it is usually afternoon where we are landing and they are ready to take on the day (sans jet lag). As parents, we have to power through the jet lag, but makes it easier when you aren't worried about tired and cranky kids.
Speaking of dressing comfy on the plane - we make sure the kids are dressed in layers. The plane can get cold, but then they want to remove layers as soon as we land. We avoid anything with a lot of buttons or accessories - and opt for slip on sneakers/comfortable shoes. Extra socks are helpful to have on hand too.
Pack the essentials to have on hand. This means, don't pack everything you will need in the carryon above your seat - ensure you have access to snacks and activities (and their favourite stuffy) in the bag you can store under the seat in front of you. Snacks are a big thing - planes don't offer a lot these days or have someone coming down the aisle regularly. Be careful not to take too much that is unnecessary - because you still have to take your kid and stuff on the plan and off. Stick to what will keep them full and entertained and comfortable.
Here are a few items you might want to consider:
Comfort item - their favourite stuffy /blanket
Sanitizer/wipes - you are not going to trudge through the plane often to get to the small bathroom to get cleaned up
Smartphones/tablets - as much as we like to limit screen time - I think travelling time is a freebie. You can load their favourite movies and shows and it will keep them entertained while confined to the small space of the plane.
With the smart devices, make sure you pack kid friendly headphones
Art supplies - something easy to pack like a pencil case of crayons and a blank notebook to draw or colouring book with activity pages
Plastic bag for trash (all those snack wrappers and wipes)
and of course SNACKS (a mix of treats and healthy)
Be ready for security. Our kids are old enough that they like to take their own things in small backpacks. However, before heading into the security line, we make sure everything is packed away and jackets or heavy sweaters are removed (as that all has to be scanned). In addition, keep all snacks in one bag - so if it needs further examination, they aren't opening all your carry-on bags up. Lastly, the slip on shoes for all - so everyone can remove quickly and put back on after getting through.
Air pressure is always an issue - so we ensure we pack some candies or gum for the kids. They can chew on some gum or suck candy during take off and landing
When considering seating. Ensure the kids are not on an aisle seat. It's hard for them to keep their hands and legs in front of them - and the last thing you need is a drink cart mishap.
Say no to germs! This is where the wipes come in. Be sure to wipe down everything - we have seen enough expose specials on how dirty everything is - so give the trays, arm rests, belts etc a good wipe down. If anything, gives you a piece of mind.
Most of all - pack your patience and composure. You can only do so much - and prepare yourself and your kids the best you can. Just know you are an amazing parent and regardless of how things go - you are doing great!
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