If you plan on taking a flight with your baby or children, you’ll find the following advice helpful. It may seem obvious that going on a plane takes preparation, but with young children, some necessary considerations could slip through the cracks. Here are our five tips for flying with young children:
1. Choose a direct flight
When it comes to travelling with young children, esp. if it’s their first time, it’s important to choose your destination wisely. Nonstop flights are preferable. You’ll avoid long waits at the airport and multiple checkpoints. Shorter flights are likewise recommended to cut back on overtiredness and meltdowns for your little ones.
When boarding, remember that there’s only so much you can hold, as you’ll have children to carry as well as carry-ons for the entire family. Going with a backpack or small carry-on and a foldable stroller or a baby carrier could make all the difference.
2. Dress children in comfortable clothing
Choose comfortable clothing that your kids like to wear—they’ll be more relaxed during the trip and will appreciate the comfort. For baby, make sure your diaper bag has outfits that are easy to change into, as airplane bathrooms are notoriously tiny. Some planes really blast the air conditioning too, so having a small blanket or hat on hand will help keep junior travellers warm, knowing that they feel the cold more than adults do. As for diapers and extra outfits, it’s better to have more rather than less so you can be ready for the unexpected. Remember: the easier it is, the more you’ll enjoy!
3. Book seats strategically
Kids love moving around and having space, so it’s better to book seats that are more suitable for them. Usually front-row seat have more legroom so children can stretch their legs from time to time with enough space to have fun during their flight. Of course these seats usually come at a premium, so expect to pay at least $40 extra per flight—an investment that may certainly be worth it! Other advantages to choosing these seats include closer bathrooms and sometimes also bassinets for babies, which are extremely useful on longer flights.
Some airlines also have a complimentary kids club accessible online, with fabulous benefits including quick check-in, priority boarding and even snacks and surprise treats for the kids. So think about signing your children up before they travel to enjoy the benefits.
4. Prepare a carry-on for them
Children with their own seat are also entitled to their own hand luggage. Pack it with a change of clothes, as well as flight accessories, games, snacks and little surprises! On some planes, snacks are for purchase only. So by having some food on hand, your children will be happy and will stay seated longer, giving you a few minutes of peace. The same goes for the headphones: sometimes they’re complimentary, sometimes you need to buy them, and sometimes they’re not available. In any case, they’re usually not the right type for toddlers, and they’ll need them to watch movies. When thinking about toys for the flight, they should be small, noise-free and self-contained, out of consideration for the other passengers in your row:
- Sticker books
- Colouring books
- Small stuffed animals
- New toys
Have a few small surprises, and don’t break them all out at the same time. They could be just what you need when your child starts finding the flight a bit too long for his or her liking!
5. Expect a few hiccups along the way
During takeoff and landing, changes in air pressure can give your child an earache or headache. Make sure you have something for younger children to suck on, like a pacifier or bottle, and chewing gum or hard candies for the older ones. This will reduce the impact of the pressure change and will keep their minds off it for a few minutes. Motion sickness is also something that kids cannot control, so don’t forget to pack nausea medication or anything that could help with heartburn. And by all means, ask a flight attendant if you need a hand—they’re very helpful and understanding with young families!
When vacationing with young children, preparation is key. Besides the luggage and the reservations, you’ll also want to take out travel insurance that suits your needs. And remember to leave your property safe for greater peace of mind so you can enjoy your trip fully. Happy travels!