Visiting friends and family during the festive period is as commonplace as Turkey on Christmas Day. For some of us, this involves flying to reach our loved ones and a whole checklist of things to remember. With the little ones in tow this task can increase tenfold. However, a stress-free flight and an enjoyable holiday can be ticked off your wish list this year with these 5 tips for flying with kids.
1. Booking your flight
Selecting the right airline to suit your family’s needs is the first step to a stress-free flight as Airfares and Regulations can vary across service providers. Free travel is sometimes offered to babies and toddlers, so be sure to do your research when choosing your airline. In some cases, children 2-years old or less are able to fly for free whilst other airlines will charge a percentage fee of an adult fare, rather than full price. Where possible, book onto a flight that fits in with your child’s bedtime, this can be a easy way to ensure a relaxing flight. Be sure to check your luggage allowances across airlines as these can vary, although most major airlines allow for pushchairs and car seats.
2. Arriving at the airport
Follow the old adage of getting to the airport at least 2 hours prior to take-off, even earlier if you’re flying long-distance of more than 6-hours flight time. This will give you enough time to check-in (if you haven’t already done so online), get through security and stretch your little ones legs and tire them out before getting on your flight.
Booking your seats in advance is a great way to make sure you all sit together and enjoy your flight as a family, be aware that some airlines only permit 1 child per row. Families are also often given free priority boarding so that they can get comfortable and prepare for the flight ahead.
3. Packing for the flight
Preparation is key. Compile a list of “flight essentials” that you think you might need during your journey, as well as the usual nappies, baby wipes and warm clothes. Pack them into a “kiddie case”, not only are these a handy way to transport all of those extra bits to your destination, but your child can also sit atop the case as a fun way to get around the airport. As an alternative, a simple backpack will do and is great for a hands-free approach allowing to hold your children’s hand and show passports / boarding passes to airport staff.
4. Preparing for take-off
Little ones have very sensitive ears and so any slight changes in air pressure caused by the flight may create discomfort for your children. Babies may enjoy suckling a bottle to ease the irritation or for slightly older kids offer sugar-free sweets, you don’t want to overload them with sugar in a confined space!
5. During the flight
Flying is fun and a great adventure for children. Most of us will be packing a mobile or tablet during our trip (ensure it’s fully charged), so perhaps download some child-friendly games and cartoons for their entertainment or go back to basics with a simple colouring book!
Try to book into a window seat, as this is a wonderful way to play and learn simultaneously! Point out famous landmarks along the way, from the Alps if crossing Europe from the UK or the Nou Camp in Barcelona if heading to the Balearic Islands. Present your kids with an early Christmas present, it could be as simple as a snack, but the excitement of a present can keep them entertained on a long flight.
Travelling to spend time with family and friends during the festivities is almost inevitable, however, with these tips you should find the journey a bit less stressful!
Callum Davies is Marketing Manager at eXpectations Holidays.
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