I’ve done a fair bit of travelling since moving to the UK 14 years ago and I’m blessed to be able to do so. I’ve tried to return to SA at least once a year since I left, though recently (mainly due to the sheer cost) its been more like 18 months or so…
K by the time she turned 1 had been to SA twice, Sweden and Croatia. J at the same age had only just got his passport. The difference multiple children makes. But we’ve still travelled. I’ve also done a fair few flights to SA with multiple children on my own. A few challenging moments- but that’s for another time. I might just add that I have never flown an international flight in any class other than cattle- even when I was pregnant !
This blog is for my pointers. The 5 things that I do to make flying easier, when flying with younger children.
- Give each child a piece of hand luggage that is theirs. Yes this means that there is more for you to carry, but they like it. They feel grown up. We’ve used pull along suitcases which they’ve loved from the moment they can walk, but friends love the Trunkis and when the littlies get tired- you can pull them along.
- Put a new item into the luggage. I usually go for a new colouring book or water magic book or magi sketch. A quiet activity. The novelty factor also plays a huge part in this.
- Put in the favourite cuddly toy. Enough said
- Ensure you have food or snacks. Mine generally don’t like aeroplane food- even the children’s meals, so for us its a no brainer. And if you have a baby- do take food for him/her. A stewardess once said to me how amazed she was at the number of parents who thought the airline would provide food for their baby. Occasionally they do- but I wouldn’t count on it.
- Have a change of clothes for your child. Not sure what age I’d recommend you do this until. E has had a couple of incidents- the most notable was when at 9 months she spilt A’s coffee all over herself, at Heathrow before we had even left. She wasn’t hurt, but I paid £20 for a Harrods cardi to wear with her nappy, as that was the only baby item I could find in Duty Free!
Personally I prefer long haul to medium haul. I find 3-6 hour flights the worst as generally they are during the day, the children are awake, there’s no guarantee of in flight entertainment and there is only so long that a toddler will sit still in a chair and colour- even for a girl!
I also try, wherever possible to co-ordinate the flight with nap/ sleeping times. As that can’t be guaranteed I didn’t put it into the list, but that is something else that I endevour to do whenever I book.
These are generally my coping strategy when we fly. Now that my girls are getting older, they are using the in-flight entertainment more and are easier to cope with at airports when waiting in long queues at security. But I still plan and prepare for all 3 using these pointers, so I can arrive at our destination relatively unstressed!
What do you do to make your flight with kids easier?