Tips for Surviving Airplane Travel with Children
Travel today is easier and quicker than ever before. In spite of the progress made in travel, many families still avoid vacations that involve flying with children.
There are stories on social media of angry passengers and unfriendly crews posting about the horrors of crying children. Parents shrink in fear at the thought of flying anywhere with their small ones.
However, there are some things you can do to make sure your air travel goes smoothly, even with kids.
So, if you are going to be flying short or long-haul with children check out our top tips and ideas for keeping babies, toddlers and kids happy...
1. Do Your Homework
Different airlines have varied regulations about children. Some offer free flights for children under 2 while others give deep discounts depending on size and need.
Each company competes to provide parents with incentives. Other considerations such as strollers or carriers will differ according to rules. Browsing through different airline websites will ensure you find the best deals for your family.
Also choose your destination carefully, do you really need to fly half way around the world? Could you choose a destination which is closer to home and might be less stressful?
2. Involve Your Kids
Children do better when they are a part of any activity, regardless if you’re planning a family vacation or you’re volunteering with children abroad. Let them know the plans for your trip and what the plane will be like. Watch videos about flying with some of their favourite animated characters. Start before your trip to teach your child the importance of quiet and respectful of others when flying.
Children want to feel grown up and if you treat them as capable of handling good manners, they will live up to the idea. Younger children can be involved in the planning if you create a "junior flight club." Tell them how to behave like model crew members with certain tasks. Stickers and badges are great ways to reward them for good behaviour during the flight.
3. Be Proactive
Save yourself some stress by creating goody bags for your fellow passengers. The bags can be filled with such things as wrapped candy or gum or even coupons. Include a clever note with a tongue- in- cheek poem about forgiving childish behaviour that may happen. Passengers with a sense of humour will appreciate the gesture.
4. Special Packing
Pack an individual bag for each child. Personalize them with things that particular child will enjoy. Crayons and no mess markers with coloring books are great; older children may enjoy puzzle books or find the- object challenges. Photo albums with pictures of themselves and friends will occupy them for hours. Rubik cubes or other hand-held puzzles provide quiet time. Don't forget snacks that are pre -prepared and easy to eat.
5. Electronics for Everyone
Don't leave home without your iPad or other electronics to help keep the kids engaged. They can watch videos or play games to make the time speed by. Bend the rules about screen time while flying with kids. You can make sure they play educational things, but don't underestimate the practicality of technology to make your life easier on flights.
Remind your children that your trip as a family will be more memorable if they spend less on their gadgets once you arrive at your travel destination. Set proper expectation to avoid surprises, tantrums, and frustration. Divert their attention by planning fun and exciting activities that children will surely enjoy, such as visiting theme parks and museums.
As early as possible, check with the travel and tour company your itinerary, so you’ll know what to pack to increase your children’s interest during the trip. For instance, you can bring binoculars to help with their fun exploration.
6. Bring Home with You
Children are frightened by change so any thing you can bring with you to comfort them is worth the room in a suitcase. Blankets or favorite soft animals can soothe your child and remind him of home. If possible, plan your flights during your child's normal sleeping time.
Follow an active schedule the day of the flight, minimizing naps so that your child will sleep as you travel. Avoid the infamous sleep aids such as Benadryl and instead, choose a natural supplement like Melatonin to help your kid sleep soundly.
7. Non-Stop Not Recommended
Adults prefer flying straight through any time we can. We like to avoid the hassles of getting off and on flights and layovers. Children, however, do better when a trip is broken up into shorter junkets. If you can, plan for stops so that your kids can stretch their legs, have bathroom breaks and even run around some. While these interruptions are bothersome to adults, the breaks can actually make for a smoother trip with our kids.
8. Plan Your Accommodation
Your children need enough sleep and rest to grow and develop properly. So, if you’re traveling to different places together, it is important to plan your accommodation well. Ensure that they are comfortable enough in the hotel so that they can sleep and rest without so much stress and reluctancy.
However, hotel and other accommodation rates are not cheap. One thing you can do while planning your accommodation without ruining your budget is checking your loyalty points, such as your Marriott points. With your loyalty points, you can enjoy exciting benefits, such as getting the lowest accommodation rates at luxury hotels, potential upgrades, meal specials, and discounts on vacation packages. The perks you can get will depend on your membership level.
So, you see, flying doesn't have to be dreaded. Parents can have some control over the type of trip they have with their young ones. Planning, flexibility and a sense of humour can all contribute to the trip being less stressful. Also, remember this apprehension the next time you are sitting in front of a child kicking your seat or a screaming infant.
Just smile and share this article with your fellow parent.