Taking your kids abroad? Starting to get anxious over the tantrums you may face at the airport or on the plane? Here are a few tips for stress-free travel with kids;
- Forget the worry, go ahead and travel! The thought of traveling with young kids can be daunting. What if they kick off at the airport? How will you keep them occupied on the plane? And you just know people will be eyeing you up as you walk into the cabin thinking ‘please don’t sit next to me!’ But forget it. You are strong. Your baby may cry, your toddler may spill his drink or start fidgeting or pulling faces at the people on the seat behind, but you will get through it and you will reach your destination – it will all be worth it in the end!
- All-in, B & B or self-catering? Way up the pros and cons of each option before you book. Do your research. All-ins tend to be pricey but mean you don’t have to put your hand in your pocket for food and drink. You can end up making a saving – especially if the kids constantly demand sodas and snacks. Bed and breakfasts allow you the flexibility of going out and about, trying different restaurants and exploring. If you want space and the convenience of cooking for yourself, self-catering or a private villa or apartment let is a wonderful option that normally comes with a budget price tag, just be sure to check the locations.
- Shop around for the right price. Flying abroad can work out costly, especially during the summer holidays. Do shop around for bargains and the best deals. If you are thinking of travelling during half-term or peak season, book early. Sign up for airline price-alerts and offers and keep an eye online for the best deals.
- Research the location. In some areas, you may have to be a mountain goat to get to your accommodation. It may be up a lot of steps or a steep slope from the public transport – this isn’t easy with a buggy or with young kids that expect you to carry them.
- Dress kids in comfy clothes and pull-on shoes. It’s best to layer kids when flying. It may be cold and raining in Gatwick, but it could be 40 degrees in your destination. Dress kids in t-shirts and a cardigan, pull-on pants or skirts with no buttons or zips. Pop them in slip-on shoes and things that are easy to take on and off when they need the toilet. Also, take a spare set with you incase of accidents.
- Tag kids. If you are juggling youngsters alone or have some that tend to roam in different directions, write your name and telephone number on a sticker or wristband and make them wear it. At least that way, if they do get lost, they can be easily found.
- Don’t sit kids in aisle seats on the aircraft. Most airlines suggest middle seats away from emergency exits for infants and children. Aisle seats can be dangerous with the hot tea and coffee cart coming past, it’s also far easier to control youngsters if they haven’t got an easy exit.
- If the plane has free seats, ask to be moved. Babies and kids under 2 years normally travel for free on planes providing they sit on their parent’s lap. This can get uncomfortable, especially if travelling alone and crammed between two strangers. If the plane isn’t full, ask the stewardess if you can be moved to another seat with a spare one next to it. Most staff take pity on you and will organise it giving you far more room to enjoy the journey.
- Get them to drink as the plane starts the descent. Many people suffer ear discomfort as a plane descends. Sucking a sweet or drinking and swallowing helps to equalise the pressure.
- Pack sensibly. A baby bag is not usually counted as hand luggage by airlines so make the most of it. Pack a change of clothes, nappies, wipes, a few toys, milk, snacks, i-pad or tablet, some crayons and a colouring book etc. Most airlines allow baby food and milk up to 100ml, sometimes more if it’s stored in a container that security can open and check.
- Pack a pashmina. Pashminas or long wide scarfs are light weight and can have many uses. They are fabulous for covering kids as blankets, using as pillows or throwing over yourself when feeding. They can be used as curtains, to hide under, as a shield against vomit – I wouldn’t travel any distance without one!
- Opt for a night flight. Your kids are more likely to snooze the journey away on a night flight. Planes dim their lights and they will probably be tired so mostly behave.
- Get children excited about going away. Speak to the kids and get them involved in the booking process. Look through pictures of the destination, watch videos of planes and tell them what to expect. Make them aware that they need to be good at the airport and during the flight and that they will get rewarded at the end. Kids aren’t stupid, they often play up far more when they are kept in the dark.
Can you suggest any more ways to keep the little ones under control on a flight? Any tips I’ve missed? Please comment and share.
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