- Allow A LOT of extra time when travelling to your holiday destination
Allow for a LOT more time that you would travelling without the kids when flying. We allow extra time for parking in long term parking, checking in car seats and prams into oversized luggage, numerous toilet breaks etc. Get to the airport AT LEAST 3 hours before your scheduled flight departure for international, 2 hours for domestic (Speaking from experience, we missed a cheap JetStar flight because we forgot about the extra time to check in our car seat, and then had to pay several hundred dollars to get on the next flight). If you are trying to get a bassinet seat you may want to arrive even earlier to ensure you are there when check in opens, as often airlines assign bassinet seats on first in basis.
- Take your own car to the airport
Drive to the airport yourself and park in long term parking, this is much easier than getting a ride, as you will have your car with car seats etc. waiting for you which is much less of a hassle. Book at least 36 hours in advance online to reduce the cost of long term parking.
- Bring UHT Milk Packs for Infants
If travelling with a baby who needs milk, bring small (200ml) UHT packs of milk on the flight, and everywhere you are travelling. We have found they are fine to drink at room temperature. We always carry some 200ml packs with us especially in countries when we are unsure of the safety of tap water etc.
- Get on the plane first
Airlines call family groups first and when travelling alone I like to leave getting on the flight till the last minute, but with kids it’s much easier to get on the plane first to unpack supplies you may need, settle the kids, luggage etc. without the plane being full of people.
- Get off the plane last
You will likely have several bags etc. for children, so waiting until most others are off the plane will give you time to check that you haven’t dropped anything important (e.g. your child’s favourite stuffed toy, we left one somewhere in Sri Lanka airport), and can comfortably carry your child, nappy bag, and travel documents without whacking anyone on your way off the plane. If you have given your pram/stroller at the door to the plane you can often get it straight away (although not when arriving into Melbourne, Australia), but you will usually need to wait till everyone is off the plane.
Bring LOTS of snacks –
Snacks will keep kids busy when they are not sleeping or doing some activities. Snack boxes of sultanas are good, kids tend to take quite a while getting them out of the box, crackers, dried fruit, cereal, mini muffins, celery and carrot sticks etc. Keep in mind that snacks need to be ok not being refrigerated and ideally not “smooshable”.
- Ask cabin crew for ice cubes in a cup
To keep kids busy for a while ask the cabin crew for a cup of ice cubes, kids will love picking them up in their fingers and sucking on them.
- Take a travel pram
Take a travel pram that will fold up and can either be put in the overhead compartment or can be left with at the door to the plane. Most airlines will let you get the pram at the door of the plane, and airlines are becoming more familiar with the very compact travel prams that can be folded placed in a bag and put in the overhead compartment. I personally recommend the ZOE https://www.zoestrollers.com/p/zoe-xlc it’s a lot cheaper than the Baby Zen or Mountain Buggy which are similar.
9. Take a kids travel activity kit
Take a kids travel activity kit such as the Travel Karma “art we there yet?” Kit which has individually packaged kits to keep the kids busy for hours. Your kids will enjoy the travel journey and you can have some stress-free time either creating and playing with the kids or taking a break and watching a movie!
10. Take lollies to suck on
For take-off and landing to avoid painful ears, bring something for the kids to suck on, such as gummy lollies, lollipops etc. With younger babies’ breast feed, them, give them a bottle or their drink bottle. Make sure you hide some for landing, I know my daughter would love to get her hands on all the lollies and her Daddy would probably cave! I have given milk or lollies above on many flights with 0-3-year old’s and have managed to avoid painful ears on each flight (crossing my finger, so far!).