Whether it be a sunbath on the beaches or roaming the cities or discovering new lanes around the world, family trips are always special and an amazing experience for everyone if planned correctly. From road trips to traveling Europe by train, it all sparks kids curiosity in many ways.
From carrying heavy bags with your kids running here and there to your baby crying out of hunger, from your kids creating a nuisance at the airport to your child getting bored from a long haul flight, from complaining fellow passengers to toddlers being in wet diapers, the list goes on and on. Keeping your kids happy on any flight can be challenging and a tough task, but not an impossible one. In this article, we will discuss various tips and tricks that you can adopt while traveling on a plane with your children.
Table of Contents
First Time Flying Tips #1 - Avoid Overpacking
Pack What You Need, Avoid What You Don't. Tired of juggling kids and carry-on? Family vacations are often featured with heavy luggage and backpacks, especially when you are traveling with your kids but carrying a large number of bags with a 5-year-old around is not an ideal situation to be in. Unnecessary packing should be avoided, so take your time and assure you pack only the things that your kids actually need.
Bonus Tip: You can also opt to buy some of the items required for your child at your destination.
First Time Flying Tips #2 - Give Yourself Enough Time
Give yourself and the family enough time at the airport before you board the plane. Reaching the airport at the eleventh hour and rushing for the plane, will do no good and only adds to the stress especially if you are flying with kids. We can't emphasize enough how important it is to allow yourself enough time to get to the airport, check-in, and board. This will not only help you relax before the flight but will also gift you some time to check all the personal necessities regarding your travel and the vacation.
Bonus Tip: Being at the airport early also allows your kids to visually interact with things around it. This will keep your little ones busy and excited about the flight. For extra travel tips check out these tips for stress free family travel.
First Time Flying Tips #3 - Choose Family-Friendly Airlines
Some airlines are more family-friendly than others so it pays to do some research to see if you can book an airline that is family-friendly. These benefits include pre-boarding to checked baggage allowance, child amenities, and free kids gifts. While booking a flight for traveling, the first thing that you should look out for is the flight time and transit time (if any). Irrespective of the age of the traveler, no one likes to be stuck on a long-haul flight, especially the kids. Hence opting for well-timed flights will help.
The airlines that provide kids' friendly snacks and other family-friendly features come under the category of best airlines for kids and family so be sure to check them out.
First Time Flying Tips #4 - Kids Love Their Activities
Keeping kids entertained is half the battle won. How to keeps kids entertained on a plane? Provide the little ones with things they love to interact with. Whether it be their favorite stuffed animals or coloring books. Kids love their activities so why not use them onboard. Before boarding the plane with your family, make sure you have at least a few activities handy that your kids will love to be busy with. This will let your little ones be engaged in something they love and in turn, stay happy.
Bonus Tip: If you bring supplies such as pencils and crayons, make sure you keep an eye on your little ones as they use them. Keep, dry erase markers within your reach.
First Time Flying Tips #5 - Snacks Can Be a Life Saver
Food glorious food. Before boarding the plane, ensure you have an adequate amount of your kids' favorite snacks packed. Irrespective of how you are flying, solo, or with your family, snacks can bring in little life-saving moments to combat travel boredom and a hungry tummy. So, don't wait for the food cart to reach the back of the plane, keep your snacks ready by your side.
Bonus Tip: Food and hygiene go hand in hand. Check out our tips on how to avoid the kids getting sick while traveling.
First Time Flying Tips #6 - Hello There (aka Talk To Your Kids!)
Air travel can be monotonous for everyone and for the little ones, boredom becomes a reality. Keep your kids occupied by talking to them about the family vacation and where they are going. Talk about the different destinations that they are going to visit with the family, talk about the various eye-catching features of the country that they are to travel to and the activities they will experience. This very act will fill your child with happy anticipation.
Bonus Tip: Apart from the destination overview, try sharing the kind of stories that your kids like to hear. This might include family travel stories, other flying tales, or the fairy tales that your baby wishes to hear every night before falling asleep.
First Time Flying Tips #7 - Inflatable Airplane Bed
If your little one has their own seat, consider bringing an inflatable airplane bed. This innovative product turns an airplane seat into a space where your child can lie down and sleep. Your little one will be able to relax in comfort. Check with your airline before hand as some airlines will have restrictions on these devices.
First Time Flying Tips #8 - Electronic Devices is a Plus
Kids nowadays are well adapted to mobile phones and other electronic devices. Like with anything there are pros and cons, and the same goes with screen time. The aim here is balance. Having said that, carrying a mobile phone while flying with kids is a plus. Being in a plane is a unique environment so make technology your friend. A few days before your flight, get all your kids' favorite shows and programs loaded. Apart from mobile phones, other electronic devices like kids' tablet or music devices can also come in handy when you travel with kids. It's all about variety when it comes to keeping them entertained.
Bonus Tip: Ensure you bring a pair of well-fitting kids' headphones to keep everyone happy.
First Time Flying Tips #9 - Older Kids Value Packed Entertainment
Children of all ages (not to mention adults) can get irritated on long-haul flights. Getting stuck in a confined space for long periods of time will drive anyone up the wall. From travel journals to the short crisp encyclopedias, from sketchbooks to novels, try incorporating value into your kids' life, by keeping their point of interest in mind.
Bonus Tip: Preloading your mobile phone with value-packed videos before the flight can help add value, without adding extra weight to your bag.
First Time Flying Tips #10 - Keeping the Little Ones Clean
A wet or messy diaper is neither good for your baby's health nor for its mood or yours! Baby wipes and diapers are a must to carry on all flights. The same goes for a spare outfit as well. Kids by nature can get messy, so it pays to be prepared and have an extra outfit handy.
Bonus Tip: If you are traveling with a toddler, opt for diaper pants during the flight. It makes diaper changes easier in a confined space.
First Time Flying Tips #11 - Enlist the Help of Flight Attendants
To add to all the above-mentioned tips for flying, a flight attendant's role in easing your travel stress is worth mentioning. They are well trained for pretty much anything that can happen on a plane, kids included. Depending on the airlines some even offer a flying nanny service whereby fully trained nannies are on board and do everything they can to make flying with children as comfortable as they can. One such airline is Etihad.
There You Go! Your Tips for Flying Towards an Enjoyable Trip
Well there you have it, we hope you have found the tips for traveling on an airplane with kids helpful. If you have enjoyed this article, please share it with your family and friends.
Read here for how to beat jet lag when traveling with toddlers.
Read here for the best stroller to travel with.