Travelling with kids can be tricky, but a little bit of preparation and tips from those who’ve already taken the adventure can make it a whole lot easier.
Of course, each child is different, each stage of childhood needs different things, and needs are dependant on the length of the flight. But here are some basic travel tips that can help make the journey a little bit smoother.
UNDER 2 YEARS
Babies and little children can find long haul trips exhausting, but a few comforts can help make the trip much more enjoyable. Snacks from home, a familiar toy, and a snuggly blanket can make the journey a little more relaxed. Take off and landing can cause ear issues for young children, often drinking from a bottle (or breastfeeding) can help relieve the pressure. A bag for each child is not always practical, but a zip lock back or packing cube for each child can make it quick and easy to find items. Some antiseptic wipes, tissues, nappies, baby wipes and a deep breath can help you manage a little easier. Check with your airline what extras you can take and at when point you need to check in your stroller.
2 – 4 YEARS
At this age children can start to carry their own bags, but they aren’t too good at carrying them all the time. You do not want to end up with four bags to carry or a lost snuggly toy, which can lead to a very anxious holiday. Inflight entertainment at this age can be a god send, if you intend to travel frequently think about investing in some noise cancelling headphones for your children. Drowning out the cabin noise and allowing the children to focus on a movie can lead to a rested child. A pack of stickers, a book and a small blanket can keep your child entertained for a minute during the trip. Don’t be afraid to walk the cabin aisles, just make yourself known to cabin staff. Be prepared to become a pillow yourself, with little sleep of your own at least the little ones will be rested on arrival.
A fun age to get kids involved in planning and journaling their holiday. There are some great Lonely Planet journals for kids with places to draw and use stickers. They can pick some places to visit and stick in ticket stubs and postcard memories. A well packed bag, along with inflight entertainment, can keep kids busy for the entire flight. It’s tempting to pack a pencil case full of pencils and craft items, but crawling on the cabin floor looking for the right shade of blue is not how you want to spend your flight.
This can be a great age for travelling internationally, a camera of their own and responsibility for sections of the journey can make for a fun experience. A great age to make lifelong memories and establish a love of travel. Children can start becoming responsible for their own bags, an itinerary and map can be a great way to feel a part of the journey. Snacks are always a good option at any age, and some chewy lollies in case of cabin pressure changes, noise-cancelling headphones and Inflight entertainment will help keep are we there yet to a minimum.
12 YEARS PLUS
Things can get more expensive and more difficult to book when your child turns 12. Airlines start to charge full fare flights and many hotels start to count the child as an adult, which can make booking a single room more difficult. But your child tends to be much more self-sufficient, can help with their own bags and can enjoy being part of the planning process. At this age taking the lead, finding locations, following maps and planning the day can be an empowering adventure.
As a parent, just remember travelling can be overwhelming for even a seasoned traveller. Try and give kids some down time and keep to some sleep routine for the younger children to minimise all out breakdowns.