Are you going on a family holiday abroad for the first time and wondering how you’re going to survive a flight with young children? Even on short haul flights, a couple of hours confined in an aeroplane with a small child can test the most patient of parents. Here are eight top tips on surviving a flight with kids to help make the start and end of your holiday as stress-free as possible.
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8 tips on how to survive a flight with young children
1: Forget a relaxing flight
First and foremost, you need to manage your own expectations. This isn’t going to be a relaxing flight where you can sit back with a glass of wine (actually scrap that – you’ll probably need a glass of wine) or get lost in your book. You need your best parenting, entertaining and negotiating skills to be well and truly on.
2: Sit tight
If your child is still young enough not to need his or her own seat (ie under two) then they’re going to be sat on your lap. If you’re travelling with other adults, take it in turns to look after them to give you a bit of a break. Just because you have a child under two, doesn’t mean you can’t buy them a ticket with their own seat though if you think it will be more comfortable. Make sure you pre-book your seats to avoid the stress of being separated during the stampede onto some of the budget airlines. For longer flights, you might want to consider buying a flight hammock – like this one from Fly Legs Up. This looks perfect for travelling on long haul fights with kids.
3: Timing is key
When it comes to booking your flights, think about what time they set off and arrive. When are your kids going to be more awake or tired? If they’re over-tired will they get cranky? Or can you time it so they’ll fall asleep on the flight? Night flights for long haul journeys are a good idea as your little ones are sure to fall asleep at some point (hopefully!).
4: Pack a bag of goodies
Buy a few cheap and cheerful gifts to pack before you go. Children usually enjoy new books, magazines, small toys (avoid ones with little pieces which can get lost under the seats – and no noisy ones!) and colouring books. Don’t get them all out at once – spread them out throughout the journey, and hold back a couple of them or rewrap them (if you can get away with that!) for the return flight.
5: Relax screen-time rules
If you’re travelling short haul chances are you won’t have in-flight entertainment, so consider taking a tablet and download plenty of kids cartoons, films and games before you leave.
6: Think about clothing
Comfort and layers are key when it comes to choosing the right clothes for flights. Aeroplanes always seem to be either chilly from the aircon or too stuffy, so it’s good to be able to add or take off layers accordingly. If you roll up your jumper, you can also use it as a pillow.
7: Snacks, snacks and more snacks
Opt for savoury over sweet to avoid hyper sugar rushes! And make sure you keep them well hydrated, otherwise you may find they get cranky.
8: Get excited
Talk to your children about where you’re going and all the different activities you’ll do and sights you’ll see. It’s time to get excited – you’re going on holiday!!
Where are you going on holiday this year? Have you got any other top tips on how to survive a flight with children? Tweet me!