6 top tips for flying with little ones
Your long-awaited family holiday is almost here. But before you’re able to feel the sand between your toes, swim in the sea or relax on a lounger with book in hand (and cocktail in the other), there’s the small matter of getting to your destination.
The very thought of flying with young children is enough to instil fear in many parents, but it needn’t be a nightmare. With some careful planning and clever tricks up your sleeve, time in the air will (quite literally) fly by – and you’ll be in that pool quicker than you can say “inflatable flamingo”!
Here are GP’s top tips for keeping kids happy – helping you to have a stress (and tantrum) free flight:
1. Battle boredom in departures
Liven up the departure lounge experience for your little one with their own rideable Trunki suitcase. Available in a range of designs, these dinky cases stop little legs growing tired and have plenty of space for snacks, games, colouring books, tech, sugar-free lollipops (to help with painful ears) and wet wipes (we recommend these biodegradable ones). By keeping their spirits high pre-flight, there’s a better chance they’ll behave on-board. And for information on airlines’ baggage rules, take a look at our handy infographic.
2. Keep ‘em quiet with a travel pack
Here’s one more for the Trunki: a Keep Em Quiet travel pack, which is loaded with everything from toys, activities and crafts, to books, puzzles and healthy snacks. One pack will keep your kid occupied for hours, and you can customise the bag depending on age and gender. Best of all, it’s totally screen free. Just remember to add another (different) one to your online basket for the return flight…
3. Avoid hanger!
When you’re in the midst of getting ready to jet off, food can be the last thing on your mind. But it’s important to plan ahead to avoid rumbling tummies. If you’re not a fan of aeroplane food, bring some healthy sandwiches for you and your tot (or pick some up while you’re waiting in departures) – as well as being a good distraction to pass the time, this will keep your energy levels topped up and stop the dreaded hanger from rearing its ugly head mid-flight! It will usually work out much cheaper than buying food on-board too.
4. Get the timing right
If you’re flying long-haul, there’s a strong argument for booking an overnight flight, particularly if your kid can kip anywhere. Try and let them get some exercise in before you board the plane, so that they’re ready for a sit down and a rest on the flight. For short-haul, look for flights that coincide with their usual nap time (if they’re still napping) – but don’t get your hopes up, as they might be too excited to doze off. Make sure they’re in extra comfy clobber, have a lightweight blanket to snuggle up in and their favourite toy, and consider purchasing one of Keep Em Quiet’s Plane Pal pillows.
When all else fails, tech can usually keep our kids interested for far longer than we can. Just in case there’s a lack of in-flight entertainment for your little one (often the case with short-haul flights), load up your iPad, tablet or phone with apps (check out our best apps for kids article and if you’re really clever, consider downloading something that correlates with your destination), games, their favourite TV shows and films. Just don’t forget the headphones and remember to pack the travel-safe GP Charge AnyWay – as well as being a charger for your rechargeable batteries (meaning you’ll always have some to hand for any battery-powered toys they’re especially attached to), it’s also a PowerBank to keep tech boosted for the entire flight. After all, you don’t want to be dealing with a meltdown if the tablet runs out of battery mid-way through their favourite episode of Paw Patrol.
Some call it bribery, others ‘rewards’...whatever side of the fence you’re on, there’s no doubt kids are more inclined to behave when they know they’ll receive a treat. So, secretly pack some wrapped, inexpensive surprise toys and give these to your kiddies to unwrap throughout the flight, on the proviso they are well-behaved– an easy-to-do mini craft kit (preferably one that doesn’t require additional scissors or glue - check the instructions carefully before you buy!), a sparkly sticker set or a small, ziplock bag of Lego always goes down well.
With these top tips in mind, your kids will be entertained, you’ll be happy, and you’ll be touching down in no time at all. And if you’re a parent whose ‘been there, done that,’ please share your tried-and-tested tips with us via our Facebook page!