Flying with kids is no joke.
We do at least 2 10+ hour flights a year with our 3 and 4-year-old. I remember the first long-haul flight we did spending hours on google looking for tips on how to survive the flight. Some suggested paints or playdough, others suggested coloring books, playing cards or jigsaws.
Fear set in. My children DON’T SIT. Especially the 4-year-old. He is the human version of the Duracell bunny. Fear was replaced by hysteria. We would be *those people* with the wild children who couldn’t even be tamed for take off and landing.
Well, we took that first flight and it was a dream. How you ask? 1 word my friends. Snacks. All. the. snacks.
Okay so it wasn’t all down to the snacks, but I promise if you fill a bag with snacks, even better if it’s snacks you don’t usually allow, that flight is going to be a whole lot easier. Here are my other tips for a pain-free journey;
- Get your child their own child-sized headphones and let them use them for a week or 2 before you fly. The in-flight entertainment on flights over 5 hours is usually pretty good with a great selection of kid-friendly movies.
- In case the in-flight entertainment doesn’t meet the toddler seal of approval (trust me, it happens and it’s bad news) have some movies or shows downloaded onto a tablet if you have one. We use the Amazon instant video and Vudu Apps. Disney movies anywhere are also good.
- Charge any devices you need the night before you leave. There is no greater horror than realizing 30 minutes before you leave that your tablet has only got 5% battery life left!
- Go to the dollar tree and buy a few small things that won’t make too much mess if they get dropped or knocked over.
- Pack everything you need for each child in a small case. I pack snacks, a brand new toy, some dollar tree goodies, diapers and wipes for the 3-year-old’s bag, clean pajamas and spare clothes. If it’s a very long flight I do a bag each. We use Trunki which is a fun UK based brand who make cases on wheels that are made to look like animals or vehicles. The 4-year-old pulls his own now!
- Try to fly overnight so you can all get some rest. Do a little bedtime routine where you get into PJs, brush teeth and have a story with their usual bedtime drink.
- Just before you land get them dressed into clean clothes, especially if there is a risk of jet lag. Feeling fresher really helps.
- If you have a significant time change then get as much natural light over the first few days to help beat jet lag.
- Do not leave the house without baby wipes! This should be an actual life rule for all parents.
- Pack the passports. Who would forget to do this I hear you wonder? Ask Mr. Jones. It happens…
I have equipped you with the knowledge, now go forth and book that vacay; your children will be well-traveled adventurers with a thirst for culture and diversity!