In just a few days, we’ll be heading away for another adventure but this one is a little different to our previous holidays. We have a 9 hour flight this time, meaning that it’ll be our first long haul trip with the kids in tow.
I know all too well what it’s like flying with children and I know that it’s particularly challenging when one of your kids is at the toddler stage. They may be old enough to understand when they are being naughty but when you’re 2, your frustrations are the centre of your universe and you’re not going to let an aeroplane get in your way…I’ve learnt that much.
We flew with the boys when they were toddlers and the flights were only around 2 hours in duration and easily manageable really, although fairly stressful at the time.
I realise that long haul is an entirely different ball game.
So it’s with prior experience in mind, that I felt the need to gather some advice from seasoned travellers and people who have been there and done it!
I wanted to feel armed with lots of tips and tricks and avoid making mistakes that people often make on these types of journeys and in turn help out anyone else that might be about to embark on a venture like this. Preparation is key.
Don’t accept the offer of getting on board first when travelling with children
Now this is something that we’ve always done since flying with kids and I always felt it was a bonus being able to this. The logic for me was that we wouldn’t be waiting longer at the departure gate and would be safely boarded and waiting for when the other passengers start to board.
However, Carrie from Flying with a Baby points out that it means you will be stuck on board in your seats waiting for the plane to fill up and for the bags to be loaded. This is obviously not the best idea when you have energetic kids with you and if you’ve pre-booked your seats, then they will of course be waiting for you once you get on board.
She also recommends you aim for a night flight where possible so that your little ones will most likely be sleeping. While waiting in departutes, make use of the airport soft play and when on board you might want to consider taking some power packs in case there isn’t anywhere to charge your appliances.
Remember to book seats
This is something that I have only just booked and at first wasn’t keen on the extra expense but as Pete from Household Money Saving points out, most airlines won’t always put you together and a long haul flight separated could prove to be a real pain.
Take pillows for the kids to use
Tim from Slouching Towards Thatcham recommends taking your children’s pillows from home in their carry-on. It makes them more comfortable, gives them something familiar and makes it much easier for them to sleep. Angela from The Life of Spicers also suggests packing some fluffy socks and a blanket for them to use too.
Consider a stop over
Donna from Mamas Travel Tribe says that having a stop over somewhere even just for a few hours gets you all up and about burning off the energy. Overall it takes longer, but for a child it’s an adventure.
Take a change of clothes for everyone with your hand luggage
Emily from A Mummy Too recommends that you pack a full change of clothes for everyone in your carry on. Accidents can happen and getting changed is a nice way to feel fresher when you land, especially on overnight flights.
Wrap up some surprise items to keep them entertained
Katie from Living Life Our Way suggests wrapping up a few small well chosen new items that will easily fit in hand luggage so that the excitement and novelty will keep them entertained for a while during the long flight.
Try having a loose itinerary of activities
I really like this tip from Daddilife where it suggests you have ‘activities’ coupled with small ‘presents’. For example the children are only allowed to watch the tv for 1-2 hours and then give them a ‘present’ each that they can open, which is say a colouring book or small toy.
Take plenty snacks
Elaine from Entertaining Elliot says to pack lots of snacks to keep them going throughout the long journey, but try and stick to ones that are less messy, such as raisins.
Pre-load games onto tablets
Sara-Jane from Keep up with the Jones Family suggests you pre-load your kids tablets with games before the journey. This might seem like an obvious one but if your child watches a lot of YouTube, they may not have that many games downloaded on their tablets (sadly not the case with mine!) so it’s worth making sure that they have enough apps on there, to keep them amused.
Countless air miles of patience
Now this one is easier said than done but Rosie from Mummy and Boo knows that all the preparation in the world still won’t stop little ones from getting agitated and bored. So prepare to go back to basics to appease them and play a good old game of I spy!
I’ve really enjoyed compiling this list of tips and feel that I’m a little more prepared for our upcoming journey. It’s certainly given me a few more ideas and I hope that it might help you too. Now all it leaves is for us to test these tips out for ourselves…