So you’re off on an epic adventure with the kids and you’re guaranteed to make some amazing memories. However, before that is the dreaded long haul flight that most parents have been worrying about for weeks.
Each age group comes with their own risks and challenges and the last thing you (and the other passengers) want is to be stuck on a nine-hour flight with a child who won’t stop crying.
However, what if I said that you could actually enjoy a long haul flight with children? There are certain tips and tricks you can try out that will make the whole process run a lot smoother. Here are just six tips that will revolutionize your future long-haul flights with children:
1. Pack some in-flight entertainment
The novelty of being up in the air will only entertain your children for the first 20 minutes; after that, some toys and games will be essential in keeping them occupied. The key to keeping your kids entertained for hours on end is variety; many parents make the mistake of only bringing one or two toys and bringing them all out at once. Stagger the process and hand out different toys every hour.
Playdough and coloring books are just some good activity ideas. However, you should try and avoid bringing toys that are too messy or any that have any small parts that can get lost. When the tears start flowing, it’s useful to have your child’s favorite soft toy on hand.
2. Preparation is key
If you fail to plan it’s likely that your long haul flight with the kids is going to be a disaster. However, with some forward-thinking and some savvy travel hacks up your sleeve, you’ll be able to enjoy the journey. Nothing’s worse than clawing through your carry on luggage, desperately searching for an item; before you know it, the contents of the bag are on your lap only for you to realize you left those baby wipes at home.
Pack your carry on well in advance and make sure to put all of the essentials near the top; it also helps to pack a spare pair of clothes for each child, as accidents can happen at any time. Another great tip is to plan your nappy changes strategically, to avoid both the last-minute toilet rush before the fasten seatbelt sign comes back on.
3. Make friends with the other passengers
The last thing you want is angry and frustrated passengers when your kid starts to get noisy. Instead, get everyone on the plane on your side, and be friendly to them so that they’re more understanding of your situation when your children get restless. If you have a young baby, a thoughtful gesture is to make a few bundles for the people around you filled with earbuds and a small note apologizing if your baby starts to cry.
4. Snacks are essential
The best part of any journey is the snacks, and you’ll get to enjoy 15 luxurious minutes of solitude as your children feast away. It’s likely that the in-flight food isn’t going to be good enough, so you’ll have to prepare a snack pack at home. Ideally, their lunchbox will be filled with nutritious fruit and nuts, crisps and sweets should always be kept as a backup.
5. Choose your seats carefully
Believe it or not, where you decide to sit on the plane will have a significant impact on the success of the journey ahead of you. If you’re given the choice, choose seats that are nearer the back of the plane; these are the least likely to get filled, so you might be able to look forward to a whole row where you can rest your feet and let your toddler crawl over.
6. Have your milk delivered to the airport
This tip is a lifesaver for parents who are still bottle feeding. The liquid restrictions in airports have always been a source of worry for new parents about to embark on a long haul flight; but did you know that you could get formula delivered to the airport? It’s one less worry on your mind as you stroll through customs and pick up the milk on the other side.