Let’s face it. Flying with kids, of any age, can be a challenge. But it doesn’t need to spell trouble if you plan carefully and follow these top tips for travelling with kids to keep your journey as smooth as possible! Check out these top tips from Mum Central.
1. Check in Early: I tend to check into my flight the night before, especially if I'm travelling with the kids. This means it's one less step that could go awry on the day and you just need to drop the bags off and get through security. It’s so easy to check in and have the boarding passes sent to your mobile phone. No printer required and one less document to find on the day!
2. Feeding Baby: If you're travelling with a baby, offer them a bottle for take-off and landing. The sucking motion will assist them to adapt to the atmospheric pressure changes, which causes their ears to hurt. This is most often why you'll hear babies grizzling/crying on ascent and descent.
3. Wearing Baby: If you’re travelling with a baby, a baby carrier or sling can be really helpful to free up your hands, especially so at check-in and when making your way through the airport.
4. Prams & Car Seats: Bring your stroller and/or car seat as you’re entitled to bring one piece of equipment for your child without impacting your luggage allowance. They’ll become really handy on your travels and potentially save you money on hiring on the other end! Most airports offer stroller use to get from the check-in desk to the gate so you can keep them strapped in and under control until you board!
5. Keep them Busy: Pack loads of interesting things, maybe even wrapped up as a surprise (or series of surprises for long haul flights). Hand them out one by one, each time they are super good little beings. For older kids bring out the electronics. Download some special surprises just for the flight so it's a new experience ... and don't forget the headphones! I always tend to have a few brand new movies on hand that I know will captivate the boys so that they’re so caught up in the movie the hours can pass really easily (and they’re having a blast watching something they love at the same time!)
6. Divide and Conquer: If you’re travelling with more than one child, splitting them up and sharing the load with your partner can often avoid over excitable behaviour (and embarrassing moments). They’ll probably appreciate all the focussed attention too and let’s face it, that’s not such a bad thing!
7. In-flight Entertainment: In-Flight Entertainment is free on Virgin Australia flights. Simply download the ‘Entertainment’ app prior to boarding and you can browse your way through the entire entertainment package!
8. Let them walk about: We all know that toddlers just can’t keep still! If they're restless, take them for a walk around the plane to satisfy their curiosity. Stretching their legs, checking out the toilet (multiple times), the galley and any other part of the plane that they're allowed in. People are generally understanding with children on board and would rather a wandering toddler than an all-out meltdown! TIP: Be sure to wait until the ‘fasten seat belt’ light is out and meal service has been completed.
9. Think about Sleeptime: This can be a tough one, but if they’ve got a favourite toy that soothes them to sleep, make sure it’s packed and easy to access. Also booking flights at times when they are most likely to sleep, could be your saving grace. Of course, as they get older it becomes a bit easier.
Travelling with your kids is a great way to bond with your family and create awesome memories. When they get home their brains will be full of knowledge and memories to last a lifetime. Sure there'll be moments that you'll wonder why the heck you thought it would be a good idea, but this is the stuff that the REAL memories are made of!