If you’ve decided you really need a vacation but are worried about the stress of flying with a baby or small child then you might be tempted to put it off and wait until they’re older before you take the plunge. It doesn’t have to be like that though if you follow these handy hints from experienced travelers on how to fly without a care in the world when you’ve got little ones in tow:
So, you’ve spent months potty training and finally succeeded in keeping your young one’s dry. You might, therefore, feel like using pull-ups is a major step backwards. However, when it comes to flying, pull-ups can save the day. It’s not always easy or possible to get to the toilet during a flight and while us grown-ups can just about manage holding out, a toddler won’t be able to. Avoid the stress of quick bathroom dashes in a tight space and give yourself a break for one day.
#2 Take A Treat
Don’t use it as bribery but keep a little gift in your carry-on bag so you can surprise your child during the flight. Not only do kids love unwrapping new things but it might also be just enough to distract and entertain for the rest of the journey.
#3 Keep Calm
If you should be so unlucky as to encounter a passenger who has a problem with your children, then do your best to ignore them. As long as you are seen to be trying to control a tantrum, crying, shouting or any other possibly anti-social behaviour then the majority of passengers will feel for you. If it’s any consolation, most flight attendants think adults who complain about children are children themselves! Don’t engage, remain composed and be the better person. It’s not unknown for flights to be rerouted due to arguments that got physical so don’t go there.
#4 Pack Essentials
If you think your kids will hate airplane food then pack them something to eat. Their own drinks are a good idea too in case the flight attendant is busy and takes a while before reaching your seats. Don’t overpack, remember you need to carry all this stuff! Do bring enough to pacify like a comforter, some wipes, pull-ups and your phone or tablet pre-loaded with their favorite shows along with junior headphones.
#5 Take Your Time
Don’t rush and you’ll find life becomes a whole lot less stressful. When you have babies or toddlers, you just need to relax and accept that time needs to move a bit slower for you for a while. Give yourself loads of extra time at the airport and factor in the things like toilet stops, exploring and stopping to look at everything. Anything and everything can and does happen with kids so release your tight grip on control and let chaos reign! This way, you’re far more likely not to work yourself up.
#6 Make The Most Of Early Boarding
When you hear the early call for those with young children or needing assistance, don’t feel guilty or embarrassed but take it as your cue to have a slightly easier time boarding the plane. This is the only break you’ll get when traveling with children so relish every moment and get on that plane before everyone else. It will give you that much needed extra time to have your children settled before the crowds start boarding.
#7 Window Seat
Don’t choose aisle seats for little people, have them in the middle or by the window. That way, when the hostess trolley comes tearing down the aisle you don’t have to worry about little hands or fingers getting trapped. It will also help you to relax knowing that your kids can’t escape anywhere too!
#8 Wipe Everything
Planes and airports can be covered in all manner of bacteria and while it’s not helpful to totally freak over this, it would be wise to carry some anti-bacterial wipes in your bag. Wipe down the seat tray and armrests, don’t let your children go to the aircraft bathroom with nothing on their feet and try not to let them put anything in their mouths. These are simple yet effective ways of trying to stop any unnecessary contamination without looking like a control freak.
#9 Change Of Clothes
If you have room then pack for both you and your baby or toddler. You just never know what might occur and there’s nothing worse than sitting in damp, possibly stinky clothes for the next 5 hours of a flight. You won’t be very popular either. An extra set of clothes and some plastic bags for dirty clothes storage are essential.
#10 Air Pressure
Take-off and landing can feel quite unpleasant and it’s hard to explain this to very young children. Make sure you have them sipping lots of water so the swallowing motion can ease any discomfort. For older children, try letting them suck on some candy to help ease the pressure and take their mind of it.