Even the most placid child can get frustrated by the confined space of an aircraft; they just have too much energy and need to run around. Add to that the excitement of going on holiday plus the tiredness of getting up at an unsociable hour to get to the airport and you have a potential nightmare journey on your hands.
If you’re flying with a baby, young child or both this holiday, careful preparations can help to organise them and relieve the boredom of a long flight.
- For toddlers and younger children pack chewy sweets to help them cope with the ear pain of take-off and landing. Give very young children, or a baby, a dummy to suck on or bottle of liquid to sip to help alleviate the pain.
- Use a back pack for your cabin baggage, this frees up your hands and makes dealing with children at the airport much easier.
- Let your young child have their own hand luggage – it makes them feel ‘grown up’ and makes them a self-contained traveller. There are some great bags and cases available for small children, particularly the pull along trunk type which children can drag along behind them, or sit on and ride when they get tired.
- For toddlers, pack a capped beaker for drinks on the plane – it helps to avoid spills and can be slotted alongside them on their seat for easy access.
- Always carry a change of clothes for your baby or child in you cabin baggage.
- If travelling with a baby or small toddler, take a collapsible pushchair / stroller right up to the boarding gate to save you carrying them. It can then be placed in the hold and returned to you as you leave the aircraft.
- Pack some toys to keep your child amused on the plane: a cuddly toy, paper or colouring book and colouring pencils will help. Pencils are a safer and less messy alternative to felt tips which can mark the fabric of the plane. Even small toddlers, who are unable to write, appreciate the ability to scribble. An electronic game, portable DVD player or the like will help keep them amused. If you plan to take anything powered by batteries, make sure the batteries are fully charged before travel.
- If your child is not yet toilet trained, or you’re travelling with a baby, pack plenty of nappies and wet wipes for the journey and make sure you change your baby prior to the flight.
- Try to book a window seat for a young child, as children like watching what’s going on outside and will often be quite happy to just gaze out the window in mid flight.
- Keep children entertained when you get to the airport by taking them to the children’s area for a run about to let off steam before being cooped up on their flight. With any luck it will tire them out and they may sleep for part of the journey. Alternatively, take them to watch the planes land and takeoff – these things are fascinating for children and will keep them occupied for some time.
Although travelling with young children or a baby can seem daunting, being prepared, planning ahead and following the tips above should help make the journey less stressful leaving you relaxed enough to enjoy your holiday.