To have fun flying with kids it’s important to be prepared and as relaxed as possible. Every time we are about to board a plane, I am equally excited, terrified and nervous. I probably don’t need to explain why. We are all wondering about what to pack, how to survive the flight, what to do when waiting on a connecting flight, etc. I call it sweet torture, because despite the obstacles we are still doing it. But we do know what we are getting ourselves into.
So, let’s deal with how to survive the flight. According to my research and combined with experience let me tell you what I’ve learned:
1. Plan – the most important part of the flight starts way before. If you have kids and you decide to still travel then start planning around the time you conceive them:) No, I’m kidding. But be sure to know your details, the exact times, what the airlines companies have to offer, what are the possibilities on the airport, etc.
2. No expectations – set your expectations low and you will be surprised how smoothly everything goes. Seriously. Don’t imagine it will be hard, or easy. Just go with the flow and deal with whatever comes up.
3. Be rested and relaxed – I know this one is tough, because the days prior to any trip are usually the most stressful. But at least try to be relaxed. Kids pick up on any tension and that’s when it starts. If you act like it’s business as usually, chances are they’ll think so too. You are headed off on an adventure, let the plane ride just be a part of it. Let the routine be a little loose.
4. I can’t stress the relax part enough – at least give it a go.
5. Carry on bag – now this is might be the most important part. I’ve surfed the net to get to the bottom of this one and there are mixed opinions and advice. But this is what you should try to bring along. Still don’t worry too much, because a lot of airlines prepare special treats for little passengers as well.
- Take just a few toys that are easy to pack and that kids enjoy playing with. You will be tempted to go overboard, but don’t. From my experience one toy was usually enough and that was only when they wanted to sleep.
- Bring something that will keep them occupied for a few minutes – like coloring books and pencils.
- A book with some stories for the evenings.
- A tablet is always great with different apps and movies, though my kids found the in-flight selection more interesting.
- I used to bring some small puzzle pieces, but it never proved helpfull.
- Our smart phones also come in handy.
- And some food and drinks: here’s where I have to think long and hard. Absolutely no chocolate as Stela manages to have that chocolate on everything. I usually bring salty snacks and some cookies. But they do usually like the food on board, so we didn’t have any problems so far.
- Clothes – bring a change of clothes – something warm as it is always a bit cold on the plane and something if you will need to change them.
6. Take a walk – if they can’t stay seated, let them walk, it bothers no one and it keeps them occupied.
7. Make friends with other families with kids – we usually exchange toys, food and smiles.
8. Diversify – let the kids do a bit of coloring, then reading, then walking, eating…
9. Sleep – Trust me the kids will sleep. Speaking from experience, we usually didn’t need any thing, because they both fell asleep the minute the seat belt sign was off. And then we sleep as well. Or try to.
10. Laugh – bottom line – if it’s really, really terrible and you are embarrassed, tired, upset, sweaty and dirty take a good look at your partner and just laugh. It can only get better after that. And don’t be bothered by others. You are spending quality time with your kids, teaching them about the world and making them how incredible it is to travel.