Flying with children.
Don’t do it.
Actually flying with children doesn’t have to be the nightmare you might have envisaged. For my family it is a fact of life. My wife is a Kiwi and we try to fly to New Zealand every year for the girls to see their family over there. Galla turns three next month and already she’s got two trips to the other side of the world under her belt. Next month she’ll do her third longhaul trip and it will be Georgie’s first. So it’s going to be a new challenge for us all, travelling as a family of four.
Here are my tips and observations on flying with young children.
Luggage and Packing
Now most airlines do not have a luggage allowance for under-2s. HOWEVER, if you’re travelling with an infant you get a free allowance, usually two items, for a car seat/travel cot/stroller etc. Our first trip with Galla when she was 10 months old, we had a car seat and a large buggy in addition to our normal luggage allowance.
This time round we are planning on taking the same (albeit slightly smaller) buggy and a car seat for Georgie. As Galla is over 2 she has her own luggage allowance which is useful and she will have her Trunki. This will be the first time she’s had one so it will be interesting to see if we get some good use out of it.
In your carry-on luggage, always pack a change of clothes for yourself and your children. This is essential for children, we pack their PJ’s and Georgie’s ‘Gro-bag’ sleeping bag as well as a fresh set of clothes for disembarking. As ever, be prepared.
Nappies – once again, be prepared. I read somewhere to aim for one nappy per hour, hopefully you won’t use them all. Galla is close to being fully potty trained but we’ll still be taking her night-time pull-ups to avoid any accidents when she really has to go right now but can’t as the seatbelt sign is on or the loos are all occupied.
Don’t forget Calpol & Ibuprofen sachets, muslins and baby wipes!
Food on board
Baby food and milk is exempt from the 100ml rule, so you should be able to bring it with you through security. However if you don’t want the hassle of taking it all through then Boots the Chemist will allow you to pre-order baby milk and food for collection at their outlets “airside” (once you’ve passed through security).
We found this very useful for Galla on her first trip, we bought a number of 200ml cartons of ready made baby milk. This is useful as it saves trying to mix it on the flight. As well as a number of Ella’s pouches. We found the latter essential as the infant meals on most flights won’t be what you’re little one is used to.
Galla eats pretty well so she’ll be fine with the children’s meal onboard…just as long as there’s pasta.
All rules that you stick to at home go out the window when you’re flying. Don’t worry about the screen time, on our last trip Galla watched Frozen pretty much non-stop even without the sound. Talking of which it’s always useful to get some special noise limiting children’s headphones. We have these from Kids Gear which Galla enjoys using. Other essentials we always pack:
- Books – lots of them, fortunately kids books are pretty light.
- Sticker books – bring some new ones that your toddler hasn’t seen, it should keep them occupied for a good chunk of time.
- New soft toy for the baby (ideally not a noisy one!)
- iPad/tablet loaded with favourite films and games.
- dummies/pacifier if you still use them.
Getting some rest
Suffice to say getting rest is going to be limited when you’re travelling with little ones. Do NOT worry about keeping to their routine, there will be too much going on distracting them from sleeping. However as long as you get them in their PJs, read some bedtime stories and have a quiet time then there will be some time they will sleep, fingers crossed.
Getting over jetlag
Once you’re at your destination, get back into your normal routine as quickly as possible. Go to bed at your normal time and don’t be tempted to have naps when you wouldn’t normally.
It is surprising how quickly kids get used to new situations, Galla so far is always the first to get used to the new timezone (pretty impressive in NZ 12 hours ahead of us!).
In the end
A marathon running friend once told me. As long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other then with the inevitable passage of time, you will finish a marathon.
Not sure that’s the right analogy here but the gist is, however long your flight is, you will still get to your destination….eventually.
REMEMBER – it doesn’t have to be stressful, as long as you remember that with everything child related….just be prepared.