8 Essentials for Surviving a Long-Haul Flight with Kids
May 8, 2019
Thought keeping the little ones happy during a two-hour car ride was enough of a challenge? Multiply your travel time by five, add a confined space 10km above sea level, subtract WiFi and you’ll agree flying with kids can be one heck of a battle.
So, to make your next overseas trip as easy as possible, we’re equipping you with all the armour and weaponry you’ll need to win the war against mid-air boredom and sky-high tantrums!
1. Plenty of Entertainment
When it comes to flying with kids, having enough to keep them occupied almost trumps food and water in terms of necessities! If they’re lucky enough to have their own tablet or smartphone (or have access to yours), load it with enough movies and episodes of their favourite shows to last the whole flight if need be.
Want to avoid screens? Surprise them with the next book in their favourite series, a pack of cards or a colouring or activity book. Allowing them to pack and take their own backpack is a great way to give them control over their in-flight entertainment.
Plane food can be tricky at the best of times, but if you’ve got a picky eater on your hands, it can be even tougher. Keep those unrefined palates happy by bringing food you know they’ll eat and enjoy. You can take pre-prepared sandwiches, cheese and crackers, sweets (come on, they’re on holiday!) and even instant noodles – just ask your flight attendant for some hot water. Drama avoided!
3. Anything You Need to Maintain Their Bedtime Routine
Kiddos get jet lag too! Even a few hours’ sleep will make a world of difference, so try to replicate their bedtime routine as closely as possible. Pack their toothbrush and some toothpaste, a book to read to them, or whatever else their pre-bed regime entails. This will hopefully lull them into that same sleepy headspace!
It’s also not a bad idea to put together a zip-lock bag of basic plane supplies for each child containing chewing gum (to help during take-off and landing), earplugs, an eye mask, lip balm and moisturiser in case their skin becomes painfully dry.
4. A Comfy Pillow and Blanket
Many airlines don’t give you anything to keep warm or snuggle up in, and if they do, it’s usually not the best. Make your child comfortable by bringing their favourite blanket from home. It might not be possible to fit their pillow, but there are plenty of cute (and cheap!) neck pillows out there. Why not let them pick their own?
5. Sleeping Gadgets
Parents flying with kids will do anything to get them to sleep, and it’s led to a range of devices all designed to give littlies a bit of shut-eye. The JetKids BedBox, Fly LegsUp and Plane Pal are just a few of the many products designed to provide children with a space suited to a more natural sleeping position. A word of warning, however – some airlines have banned these items, so be sure to check with yours before purchasing.
Things can go just as awry in the sky as they can on terra firma, so be prepared and pack a fresh set of clothes (or underwear, at the very least) for yourself and the kids. Even if you don’t have any spillages or accidents, it’s always nice to land on the other side in clean threads!
7. Something to Bribe Them With
While most of us try to avoid doing it as much as possible on solid ground, when you’re 30,500ft in the air, desperate times call for desperate measures. When all else fails to calm them, give your little monkey a treat – it might be just the distraction they need. It could be their favourite chocolate, a new toy or the promise of something special at their destination.
8. Goodie Bags for Fellow Travellers
No one likes having their sleep time interrupted by crying and screaming, but sometimes, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Instead, get your seatmates on your good side with a goodie bag of earplugs and some sweets. They’re much more likely to forgive those mid-air tantrums when they can barely hear them!