Top Air Travel Tips When Travelling With Children

For some, the holiday starts at the airport, but for many of us, i.e. those travelling with children, the thought of juggling the airport chaos and a long plane journey are a real dread!
Well, dread not. By reading this article you can get some helpful tips and advice from a real mum, who travels with real toddlers!

1.Early Flight
So, first things first. When you are booking your holiday, ask if you can have a choice of flight times. In my experience its far better to travel on the earliest flight possible. Why? Well, first off you can simply lift your children straight out of bed, straight into the car. Chances are they will remain asleep until you need to get them out again. Once youve checked in you can get them changed out of their PJs and into some comfortable travelling clothes. They will be a bit sleepy so happy to stay in their pushchairs for a while. Theres also time for them to burn off a bit of energy in the departure lounge after check-in.
Once youve boarded the plane the chances are its about time for them to have their early morning nap as theyve been awake for a couple of hours (remember, check in times are advised between 2 and 3 hours before flight departure).
And most importantly, Ive found that the first flight of the day has far less chance of being delayed than one that leaves during the day, so far less time hanging about the airport, trying to occupy little ones!

If you have got an early morning flight its worth bearing in mind that many of the shops, restaurants and cafes in the airport dont open until a little bit later. And usually youll find the one that is open has a queue that trails back for miles! Therefore its essential to pack a good selection of snacks for your little ones. Even if youre travelling in the middle of the day you might not be able to find anything suitable for your children. And if they are getting restless in the queue to check-in then we all know that a little snack does wonders to keep little ones quiet for 5 minutes!
And dont forget, the chances are you wont have an in-flight meal so be sure to keep some snacks by for the journey too.
Remember also that it might be a long time until you get to your hotel, or somewhere you can purchase food at the other end of your journey, especially if you have a lengthy transfer time.

3.Take Off and Landing
Whether youre travelling with babies, toddlers or small children this advice is the same. On take off and landing get them to have a drink. For babies give them their milk. For older children, try a carton of juice. The sucking will make their ears pop and should avoid any unnecessary ear discomfort. Remember, a child cant hold their nose and blow through their ears like an adult can! When travelling with children, airport security will allow you to take on provisions, like bottled milk and sealed cartons of drink, onto a plane.

4.In-flight Entertainment
With airlines making drastic cuts, childrens in-flight entertainment is a thing of the past, so be sure to pack plenty to do for your little ones on the plane. Childrens magazines are a great idea they contain a mix of stories, colouring pages and stickers. Whats more, many are actually quite educational, weigh nothing and are minimal cost too!
Another good idea when travelling with children is put some presents in your hand luggage. A simple sticker book, a travel game for example. It all adds to their excitement and helps keep them entertained. If you dont want to risk wrapping things up, create a little aeroplane party bag just like youd expect to get at a childrens party. Fill a little bag with lots of fun bits and bobs. The kids will love it and again, a small notepad, a pencil inside will keep them amused for a good while!

5.Travel Games
Theres a huge choice of travel games on the market now; for all ages. Check out your local toy shop, online or even supermarket. Guess Who? and Snap will keep children (and adults) amused! And because they are small they really dont take up much room in your hand luggage.

6.iPods & MP3 Players
Did you know you can load films on to your iPod take your childrens favourite DVDs and by loading them onto your PC you can then transfer them onto your iPod. But dont forget to take some headphones with you too! For smaller children look into buying the headphones that have the frame that goes over the head, rather than the small ear pieces as they dont fit!
This is also a good idea of an evening your children can relax with some quiet time and a movie whilst the adults are enjoying a relaxing meal out and a glass of wine!

7.Change Bags & Medicines
Dont just think about a change of clothes or nappies in your hand luggage. Dont forget a pack of wipes not exclusively for babys bottoms; these handy wipes are a travel necessity, whatever the age! Also dont forget to pack your childrens medicine, prescription or otherwise, in your hand luggage too!

If your child has a comforter, whether thats a favourite toy or blanket, dont forget to pack it in your hand luggage! If they get distressed on the plane their comforter will help calm them down. Also bear in mind it can get cold on a plane so its worth packing a small, soft blanket to aid them to sleep. You can ask the cabin crew for blankets but I find that a familiar blanket, with familiar smells on it helps no end!