Even at the best of times, long-haul flying is not everyone’s cup of tea. Throw in a few small children and the mere thought is enough to have you reaching for the smelling salts.
However tempting it is to remain literally grounded until the kids reach the age of reason (whenever that is!), sometimes you have to, or want to, travel to a destination requiring a plane.
Here are some ways to make the process easier for you.
Consider travelling overnight
Travelling at times when your children would normally be asleep increases the chances that they will be asleep for a good portion of the flight.
Book aisle seats where possible
Sure, not being near the window means you’ll miss out on views of – well, not really much to be honest. But with a young child or two in tow, an aisle seat allows easier exit and re-entry to accommodate the bladders, bowels and beyond of multiple people.
Having said all this, if you’re going to have your little one travelling in your lap, a window seat might provide more comfort as you’ll have something to lean against.
Bassinet for baby
Some long-haul flights provide baby bassinets for the plane, so it’s worth asking the airline if you can book one of these.
Invest in a luggage scale
For a small investment of around $10 AUD, the luggage scale is a handy little (and we mean little – approximately the size of a USB stick) gizmo will help you get the most out of your packing without tipping those airport baggage scales.
Tag your bags
No, we don’t mean the boring ones that the airports stick on your bags at check-in.
We’re talking about the easiest and coolest way to make your bags stand out in a sea of bags. Your kids will have fun spotting all your bags in the luggage carousel with these handy bag tags from Stuck On You.
Pack something to chew on
Changes in air pressure can be really painful for young children. To help relieve the pressure at take-off time, pack some chewy lollies (the less sugar the better!) For babies, let them sip on milk or water.
Bring extra headphones
The headphones that the airline supplies may not be the correct size for children, so bring a set of headphones (plus socket adapter) appropriate for them.
Pack a goodie bag – virtual or otherwise
You can’t always guarantee that the airline’s entertainment repertoire will keep your kids occupied. Therefore, it’s ideal to have a goodie bag as back up.
A goodie bag can include books and toys, or games and movies on their electronic devices.
The key to a successful goodie bag is novelty. There doesn’t need to be anything in there that’s fancy or expensive – just new. A dollar store toy they’ve never seen before will be far more interesting than any toy they’ve already played with at home.
Pack extra food
Flight meal times may not necessarily coincide with your children’s needs, and the food may not please some little palates. Bring snacks that you know your kids like to reduce fuss and the likelihood that they will be unwell on the flight – just make sure you’re complying with regulations first.
Stuck On You has the perfect receptacle for mealtime fun. Our Bento Boxes come with separate compartments, meaning that you can store multiple snacks in one handy box that the kids will love eating out of.
Keep items you need to declare together
When travelling internationally, place all your belongings that you will or might have to declare in one bag. That way, if customs asks to see them, they won’t need to rummage through all your belongings.
Pack spare clothes for YOURSELF for the plane
Selfless creatures that we are, most of us parents remember to pack spare clothes for our kids – but not for ourselves. This is despite statistics showing that for every child who decides to expel their bodily fluids on a plane, a parent is sure to be nearby catching some of the glory. So don’t be a grim – and smelly – statistic. Pack a spare outfit for yourself so you don’t have to languish in your child’s aromatic outpourings for the remainder of your flight.
Invest in some carabiners
I love this hack, even if I did have to look up what a ‘carabiner’ was (and consequently got the song Caribbean Queen stuck in my head for the next two days).
For those not in know, carabiners are those hooks that rock climbers and mountaineers use. Loop a few of these on your main carry bag and voila, you have something on which to hang excess stuff you can’t fit into your bag.
Comfort is paramount when it comes to smooth travelling with kids. So why not let them fly in their pyjamas, especially if it’s night time? They’re young enough and cute enough to get away with it, plus they will love the novelty of wearing their PJs somewhere other than at home.
Furthermore, it doesn’t hurt to be aspirational – if they’re in their sleep gear, that will make them want to sleep… right?