Tips for Flying with Children for the Holidays

 In Family

Are you flying interstate or overseas with the children these holidays?

Then I have two words for you…be prepared! Getting ready for a family trip can feel overwhelming with so many last-minute tasks. We’ve got you covered with our handy travel tips to save you time and help keep you organised.

Check out these tips for flying with children. They will help, even at the height of the holiday rush.

1. Make a checklist of all the things you need during your flight

Write your own checklist or head to Pinterest where you will definitely find a bountiful supply of checklists for every type of holiday such as overseas holidays, cruise holidays, beach holidays, ski vacations etc.

Think Entertainment: For young ones, you will need children’s headphones, pencils and notepad, a surprise toy or game.  For tweens and teens, a kindle or books, headphones. Technology is your friend when flying. Upload new apps, download tv shows or movies on tablets. Even though planes are kitted with inflight entertainment you will have additional time waiting to check-in, board and collect baggage.

Think Food: Pack a few extra snacks and bottles of water. Something chewy for kids to munch on during take-off and landing.

Think Comfort: Pack an extra outfit for young ones in case of accidents. For older ones, make sure they are dressed warmly and for early or late flights, masks and neck pillows. Pack yourself a backpack instead of a baby bag or handbag. This will free your hands and more comfortable to wear as it distributed weight evenly. Pack all of your travel essentials into your backpack (wallet, ID, phone, boarding passes or use airline app, glasses, valuables, gadgets and chargers, car keys, reading material, Ziploc bags etc). If you are travelling at night or want your children to sleep on the flight, dress them in their pyjamas. Wear an oversized scarf which can be worn as a shawl or tucked around a sleeping child. Don’t forget about your essentials – headphones, moisturiser, lip balm and water.

Think Health: Pack prescribed medication and pain relief tablets separately, antibacterial wipes for accidents or dirty seat areas.

2. Get the family involved and prepared for the flying experience

Include your children in pre-holiday planning so they know what to expect ie. “We’ll be getting a large bus to the airport. It will be very early in the morning. This is how security screening will work”.  Talk to your children about what they may feel onboard, such as ears popping, turbulence, controlling the volume of their voice with headphones and not kicking the seat in front of them. Be sure you don’t overload your hand luggage as airlines are more strict about size and weight for cabin luggage. You will also want to check-in online the day before your flight. If you haven’t downloaded the airline app, do this and send your boarding passes to your smartphone. Sitting at the back of the plane puts you closer to the bathrooms and the flight attendants for convenience sake.

3. Getting to the airport on time

Plan enough time to get to the airport to hand in your luggage and get through screening points at the airport.  During the holidays when flying with children, add an extra 50% of the time for surges in passenger volumes and longer waiting times. You should factor in time for unexpected bathroom trips and other detours. If you’ve got little ones, do plenty of walking around the airport as hopefully, it will wear them out ahead of the coming aeroplane journey. Discuss who’s sitting where before getting on the aeroplane. Allocating seats avoids squabbles and help everyone remain calm.

4. Don’t just sit there when flying with children

Play a game of scavenger hunt, watch the aeroplanes take off and land or put the children in charge of finding your terminal and gate.  Ask about airport play areas for smaller children.  Everyone should take a bathroom break just before boarding.

5. To board early, to not board early, that is the question

I’m in two minds on boarding the aeroplane early or last with children.  If you board early, you have time to gently settle the children into their seats, claim your overhead baggage space and get the children hooked up into their entertainment toys. Alternatively, boarding last means the children (especially toddler to prep age) can run their little legs off until the last minute.  Another option is for one parent to board early with all the luggage and set up the seats.

Give the children time to settle themselves once in their seats.  They will be excited and anxious and curious about their new space. Make sure they are comfortable, not overlayered with clothes that make them hot.

Always be flexible. Don’t forget to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. After all, you’re on holidays!

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