Tips to Surviving Plane Travel with Kids

Tips to Surviving Plane Travel with Kids

Traveling with kids can be a challenge, as any parent knows. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce stress and nerves. Follow these tips to ensure your family travels without incident.

1. Book online. Instead of dragging the kids to a travel agency where they’re sure to get bored while you’re looking through options with an agency, check travel sites online. You can spend as much time as you need while the kids are sleeping or while they are at school.

2. Book everything in advance. This means arranging and paying not only for air tickets, but also for a hotel and a car. When you arrive at your destination, you don’t have to wander around looking for a spot, you just take your car and drive straight to your hotel. You can even take a virtual tour of many hotels online.

3. Be prepared. Bring along toys and things to keep the kids busy on the plane. Surprise older kids with a fun travel game, new Gameboy cartridge or coloring book. If the flight is going to be especially long, buy a few treats ahead of time and put them in your carry-on, pulling out a new item when the kids are bored and whimpering.

4. Create an expectation. Children between the ages of 2 and 10 can be taught the idea of ​​flying, especially if they have never flown in an airplane before. Find out what plane you’ll be flying before you leave, and often talk about how exciting it will be.

5. Pack snacks. Sure, airlines do give away snacks, but some companies are cutting back on freebies like peanuts (which aren’t suitable for kids under 2 anyway) and cookies. To prevent your child from becoming irritable while waiting for food, take Cheerios or a sandwich with you.

6. Separate siblings. If your kids tend to fight, it would be nice to sit between them! This keeps them from fighting, at least over the elbow, and keeps them at arm’s length so they can’t hit each other. Swap mid-flight if there is room at the window to avoid problems.

7. Music playback. Take an iPod or Walkman with you for each child so they can listen to music. It helps calm the nerves and keeps them busy for good chunks of the time!

8. Layered clothing. When flying from one hemisphere to another, climate change must be taken into account. If you’re flying out of a warm climate and landing in a colder place, don’t forget to bring sweaters for everyone on the plane. They won’t help if you pack them all in your suitcases. And, if you land in a warmer place, don’t forget to wear light clothing under your winter clothes.

9. Hold onto them. It is very easy to lose a baby in a crowded airport. Even if you lose sight of your baby for a few seconds, it will give you a heart attack, and it is best to avoid such a situation. All children under the age of 10 must touch their parents at all times. If you are of different ages, you can instruct the older children to take responsibility and hold the hands of the younger ones. This may also be the right time to buy a baby harness and use it for younger children who tend to go astray.

10. Stay hydrated. Dehydration is very common in airplanes as the air is recirculated and becomes dry. To avoid this, make sure you drink plenty of water, and so do your kids. This is especially important for nursing mothers.

11. Carry medication with you. Never leave medicines in luggage bags, they can get lost, and trying to get another prescription can be a real hassle when you’re away from home. Even over-the-counter medicines like cough syrups and allergy medications need to be packed in your carry-on, the last thing you want to do upon arrival is look for Benadryl.

12. Fly at night. If you are traveling with a child, it is often recommended to take an overnight flight so that the child sleeps throughout the flight. It can work for older kids too!

13. Keep the kids busy. Take paper and colored pencils with you so they can make cards and drawings for loved ones. They make a great gift if you are going to stay with family or friends. If not, this could be the start of a drawn travel journal to share with friends when they return.

14. Turn it into an adventure. Look out the windows at the clouds and see what you see, animals, castles, etc. What would your children do if they lived on top of the clouds? Ask the flight attendant if your kids can visit the cockpit to watch the plane fly and let them tell you about it when they get back. Most long-haul flights are quite ready for the kids to sit with the pilots for a couple of minutes after they’ve reached cruising altitude.

15. Play games. There are many travel games that can be adapted to airplanes. Word games work best for this, and they can be quiet enough to distract children. Memory games make children so busy remembering the order of objects that they forget to fight or squirm.

16. Work in shifts. If you are traveling with your spouse or other adult, it is recommended that you work in shifts with your children. While one adult stays with them in the waiting area playing a game, another can pick up tickets and make other arrangements. The same goes for collecting luggage and finding a rental car.

Traveling by plane doesn’t have to be a nightmare if you prepare ahead of time. You know better what your children like to do and what things will distract them, these should be your surprises. For example, if you know your son loves I Spy books, buy him a new one to watch on the plane. And if your daughter is dying to get the newest boy band CD, surprise her with this as soon as you take off.


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