Oh, it is so worth it.
Are you the type of parents who can't resist the feeling of the sun on your back as you relax by the pool in some far flung resort? Or since becoming parents have you been afraid to go within 5 miles of the airport?
Travelling with children, especially young children, can be very demanding. However, if you plan carefully and prepare in advance it can be a fantastic fun adventure where the rewards far outweigh any travelling concerns.
Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Flight Time
As there is at least 90 minutes in the airport before departure, or 190 minutes if you are travelling with your mother, a three-four hour flight time may be the limit for younger children. If you are considering a longer flight try and fit departure/arrival times around your children’s sleep pattern. You might save money by taking an early flight but waking kids up at 4am for a red-eye shuttle with a 2 hours stop-over is not going to make for a pleasant day. Check out if your airport has a Fast Track service; for a small fee you can skip the queues and have a more relaxing start to your journey.
2. Play areas
Most aiports have good play areas where the kids can feel comfortable and let of some steam. Don’t rush to the top of the queue when your flight is called but rather wait until the very end. You could tip off the stewards to call you at the very last moment. No matter how excited your kids are, they will not really enjoy being trapped in a confined space so delay as long as possible.
3. Charge Up
Make sure any digital devices are fully charged and don’t waste any battery in the waiting area. Save it all for the plane.
4. Take Off /Landing
Children can find takeoff and landing uncomfortable, especially with the pressure build up in their ears. Bring bottles, lollypops or chewy jellies or boiled sweets as sucking and swallowing can help clear their ears.
5. Games / Distraction
Plan some games in advance. Buy some cheap toys before travelling that you can give out when they start getting bored. Wrap up some colouring books and pens. The excitement of opening a present and then doing some drawing will pass another 30 minutes.
6. Be prepared
You are settled in your seats, junior has played some games and now feels a little sleepy. But, he can never go asleep without this teddy. The teddy that is unfortunately still tucked up in his bedroom! Plan for all eventualities and carry as much as you can with your on-board luggage. Also, don’t forget spare clothing and wipes.
Bring lots of snacks and water. Oh, and some treats too. They will help calm down an upset child. This is probably not good parenting when at home, but on a plane with a screaming child, anything goes!
8. Have fun
All of the passengers travelling on the plane were once young too so don’t get put off if your child does have a wobbly moment. Kids are so distracted by the fun and excitement on the airplane that the time does fly by.
You'll all be laughing and splashing in the pool before you can say, "Ladies and Gentlmen, this is your Captain speaking..."
Thanks to Ma1974 for the image - the original can be found here