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Family flight hacks
If you’ve got young children and a long-haul flight on the horizon, it’s only natural to feel slightly nervous, particularly if you and your children haven’t flown for that long before. Thankfully, we’ve got some great advice, along with top tips from birth and parenting coach Alexandra Kramer to help you prepare.
Top ten tips for travelling with children
- Plan ahead!
- Check your airline’s policy on travelling with children
- Pack extras, including enough food and nappies for any unexpected delays
- Don’t forget entertainment – for you and your baby
- Make sure your baby has a ticket
- Get a passport sorted for your baby
- Check the seating arrangements and if you’ll need a car seat
- Plan for travel sickness
- Flying can be scary, remember to bring something comforting
- And don’t forget a change of clothes
Flying with babies
Most airlines will let you travel with a baby as young as two weeks old, but it’s best to check with the individual airline on what their policy is. Airlines also tend to have a different take on how much they’ll charge you for a baby to fly with you, and some may even need a note from a GP to say both the baby and mother are well enough to fly.
Can I take milk for my baby on the plane?
If your baby is very young, chances are they’re going to want feeding at some point during your flight.
In regards to a formula for babies, breast milk, baby food and boiled water for making up baby food, the restriction of 100ml on liquids doesn’t apply. It’s a good idea to make the most of this rule, and pack extra food for your baby just in case you experience any delays.
What else can I bring when flying with a baby?
Again, different airlines have different policies, some allow for a certain amount of baggage for the baby, whereas others will charge you for it. It’s also worth checking whether the airline will provide a carry cot or, if your baby is old enough for one, whether you’ll need to bring a car seat.
You should make sure you pack extras for your little one in case you get stuck on your travels, including nappies, wipes, muslins, dummies, food, clothes and something to comfort them.
Before you fly:
- Check your airline’s policy
- You’ll need to organise a passport for your baby
- Likewise, your baby will also need a ticket, even if they’re sitting on your lap
- You should be allowed to take a pushchair for free, but it’s best to check this ahead of your flight
Flying with toddlers
What do you need to travel with a child?
As with babies, you’ll need to make sure you have a ticket and passport for your child. Some airlines will allow young children to fly for free, but not all, so it’s best to check this – even so, they’ll still need a passport and ticket.
You’ll also need to check whether or not they need a car seat for travel. Some airlines will be happy for children up to a certain age to sit on your knee, but it might be more comfortable for both of you if they have their own seat – especially if you plan on sleeping.
One of the key things to remember when flying with toddlers is to keep them entertained. Boredom is a great risk on a flight, so make sure you take plenty of toys, books and games to keep their minds occupied. If you have a tablet or iPad, you can even download their favourite shows to watch while on board with headphones.
If your little one struggles with travel sickness, or if you think they might, it’s also wise to pack child-specific travel sickness tablets. When you’re at the airport, it’s a good idea to make sure you have plenty of water to hand to make sure they stay hydrated.
Long haul flights
One of the biggest problems you’re likely to face on a long haul flight with children is boredom. Once you’ve watched all the films and eaten all the snacks, it can be tough to think of more ways to keep them entertained.
Here, we’ve enlisted the help of birth and parenting coach Alexandra to tell us their top tips for keeping the little ones entertained on a long haul flight:
Distraction is possibly one of the best techniques you can use when travelling, children aren’t meant to sit still for long periods of time, so aside from getting them to walk up and down the aisle every now and then, it’s best to try and engage them in games such as I Spy, or on long haul flights you can wrap up little gifts and give them one every couple of hours. The unwrapping and excitement of something new to play with (however small it is) really helps. Also ensure you have a stack of colouring books, children’s kindles and any comforting toys they have that you can bring out will also help.
Children need to feel a sense of control and when so much is taken away from them on a flight, a great way to combat any potential meltdowns it is to offer them choices, i.e. “would you like to walk the aisle now or read a story first?”. This may seem simple, but it allows them a sense of structure and control over what may seem like an overwhelming and out of control experience.
Allowing your child a window seat is helpful as it can contain them in a safe space where they can play without getting caught in the aisle or bothering other passengers too much. If you are travelling with a baby, try to feed them either breastfeeding or bottle during take-off and landing as this will help with any pressure in their ears. With older children get them to drink or hum a song with you.
Now you’re fully clued up on how to prepare for a flight with a young child, you might like to read some holiday inspiration for your next trip to Florida. Our guide to summer holiday ideas is packed full of top destinations and things to do, take a look and get planning your next trip today!
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