Travelling with kids, a survival guide!
I’ve always loved everything about flying, from browsing through duty free, waiting around to board, turbulence and even the in-flight food!! But then in 2010 I became a first time Mum and my adventures of flying was about to change….forever!!
I’m now a Mum of two girls (3 and nearly 1) and with family located around the world and a real love for holidaying, we fly both internationally and domestically up to 3 times a year!!
The flights were no longer about me deciding what movie to watch while enjoying a glass of wine, from here on in, I was a mere servant bowing to this little person’s every demand.
Prior to my first flight with baby#1 panic starting to set in, not from myself (of course) but from family and friends at the thought of me embarking on such a long journey with a baby. Their reactions made me more determined to ensure that the flight would be as stress free(ish) as possible and over time I have built on that experience.
Over the next few weeks I will give you my tried and tested tips based on my experiences, some will work for you and others may not. While I can’t promise that all my tips will ensure a 100% stress free flying experience, I do hope that I can help simplify your journey, so sit back relax and enjoy the read….
My top 5 tips when preparing to fly (with babies, toddlers and children)
I’m not saying flying with kids is easy but it doesn’t have to be the stressful situation that so many families experience. The key to an enjoyable flight with your children lies in the preparation phase, here are my top 5 tips.
- Research, research, did I say research
Research all the airlines that fly to your destination. Obviously compare costs, but also take into account what in-flight entertainment, food and services they provide for babies and children. If it’s a long haul flight know how many stopovers there are….the less the better in my experience.
Research the airports you will be flying from, stopping over at and the airport you will be arriving to. Find out if they have strollers (either free or a charge), check their websites for facilities for children including play areas and change facilities.
- Be prepared
Start by making list of everything you need ‘to do’, ‘to buy’ and ‘to pack’. Write lists of what needs to be done before the flight, the week running up to the flight and also the day of the flight.
If your child is old enough prepare them also. Talk about the journey weeks before, even play games pretending to be on the plane. Let them help you pack so they are building up the excitement.
Ensure passports and travel insurance are all up to date and visas, if necessary, are applied for in plenty of time.
- Right time for flying
Think about your child’s regular routine and try to fly around the time when they are generally less active. This of course depends on the destination and how long the flight will take. If you have an early morning flight ensure your child gets to sleep early enough the day before, because taking a cranky unrested child to the airport early in the morning is a recipe for disaster. I personally prefer to fly later in the evening for long haul flights as I know that we won’t be long into the flight and both kids will be sleeping, well, that’s what I hope will happen!!
Be mindful that everything is going to take so much longer with children, so ensure you (and your little troops) get to the airport several hours before your flight departs. Keep calm and be prepared that you will need to unload some of the contents from your carry-on bags. Pack effectively and efficiently especially your carry -bags. I will give some tips on packing carry on bags in next weeks blog!
- Pre Book seats and food
If your flight offers pre-booking of seats make sure you do this. If you’re not sure which are the best seats have a look at http://www.seatguru.com
If you require a bassinette phone the airline to reserve one. The age, size and weight requirements for bassinets vary between different airlines, so go onto the airlines website to confirm. Also, make sure to pre book food for your children as otherwise they will be served the adults meals.
I hope these simple tips will assist you in getting to the airport stress free! What’s your best tip on preparing to fly?
Liz James lives in Sydney with her husband and two girls. She loves all things to do with travel, food, wine and fitness.
Having spent over 13 years in the corporate world as a Business Analyst and Project Manager, Liz has recently started a business providing virtual assistance and specialist services to small and start-up businesses and entrepreneurs.
If you’d like to know more about Liz and her business visit www.love2assist.com.au