Family Flying: Your Survival Tips Uncovered

You've booked the holiday of a lifetime, but that's just half of the journey (pardon the pun). After all, you've got to get to the airport, get on the plane

You’ve booked the holiday of a lifetime, but that’s just half of the journey (pardon the pun). After all, you’ve got to get to the airport, get on the plane, survive the trip in the air, before finally arriving at your destination. Suffice to say, with the kids in tow, this is quite the experience.

Unfortunately, flying is always going to have some elements of stress (whether you’re alone or flying as a large family group). Particularly nowadays, where you need to overthink everything from having travel insurance that covers coronavirus issues to ‘what list’ your destination is on, things have stepped up a notch. However, by the end of today’s article, we’re hopeful that you can at least manage your stress levels and get down to enjoying your getaway.

Try and be flexible with your departure

Granted, hefty prices usually dictate both where and when we fly nowadays. However, if you can, try and have a bit of flexibility on the ‘when’ factor.

Sure, the first flight out at 6 am might be the cheapest, but is it worth tired kids? Let’s not forget that this isn’t the time that you will have to wake up – you’re going to get nigh-on zero hours of sleep!

Another important point here is that it’s not just the kids to think about. You won’t be at your adult best and when it comes to dealing with exhausted children, you need to be on top form to deal with the flight ahead!

As such, even if it’s a small increase in price, try and think about the bigger picture as you plan your plane journeys.

Get the kids excited

To help the kids prepare for the trip ahead – let them know that they are going on an adventure. You don’t have to have everything ready, but just letting them know that they will be flying soon is motivating enough for most young children. If it helps, get a toy plane and play with them when they are younger so it isn’t such a big deal when it comes to getting on board an actual plane.

In our eyes, excitement equals distractions and the more distracted they are (within reason of course), the easier your trip.

You will need supplies for the above

Of course, while you can try your upmost prior to the trip, you’ll also need a bag of supplies while you’re up in the air. We’re not talking about the so-called standard supplies, either. The first few minutes of a flight might be fun for the kids, but after takeoff, everything suddenly becomes a little boring.

It’s here where you need your bag of goodies. We will leave you to decide how to play this; some of you will turn to books, others to toys, and others to iPads. It’s whatever works for your family – but you will need something.

What about the edible supplies?

Following on from the previous point, toys are all well and good, but we all get hungry while up in the air. Even a 3-hour flight feels like an eternity for little ones, and there’s no doubt that stomachs will start to rumble. With tiredness already on the cards, the last thing you need to deal with is a “hangry” breakdown!

Bearing this in mind, make sure that your goodie bag is stocked up with snacks. Sure, you might have to be a little careful on what you can and can’t take on the plane, but make sure that you are not going to rely on any form of plane food. As we all know, as much as some kids might initially view it as a novelty, it’s really not that tasty!

Pick and choose your airport battles

As we all know, the no-frills way of flying has certainly come into its own over the last couple of decades.

It’s meant that unless travelers pay for all of the add-ons, they’re going to be faced with various forms of frustration.

For example, let’s take airport parking. Once upon a time, it was all on-site, with a short stroll to the terminal building. Now, unless you pay the top charges, you’ll be waiting around for a shuttle bus to take you there from several miles out.

This is the prime time to ask yourself if it makes sense to pay these charges or deal with tired children from the start. As the heading suggests, it’s all about picking your battles. Some of you might save on parking but instead pay for more baggage to fit more toys. Think about what is important for your family and go from there – cutting costs isn’t always wise when you’re also trying to cut stress.

How about giving them their own luggage?

Hold your horses, we’re by no means suggesting that they should be lugging around your 30kg suitcase.

Instead, it’s all about giving some ‘responsibility, but also thinking a little outside the box.

Over the years we’ve seen all sorts of weird and wonderful kids suitcase ideas. Some double-down into a seat that allows them to be pulled around the airport and suffice to say, this turns into quite the fun experience!

Again, as we’ve alluded to several times today, this is all about thinking about the bigger picture.

Sleep is not going to be an option

Finally, we’re going to issue one last comment that hopefully won’t discourage you from making your travel plans in the first place!

Unfortunately, kids rarely sleep on flights. Sure, as adults, this tends to be a given (particularly, if you are making the most of the drinks trolley).

Kids are made differently though – and there’s far too much going on. Don’t have any expectations on them (or you for that matter) getting any sort of shut-eye. It’s not going to happen and instead, you need to focus on planning activities, relying on your goodie bag, and doing everything else that we have outlined above. Trust us, when you land, it’s all worth it.


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