With all of the extra hassle around flying these days, most of us find it challenge enough to get from point A to faraway point B with sanity intact- let alone with little ones along for the ride! Here are 5 tips to keep in mind to help minimize stress on your family when traveling for the long-haul with kids:
Dealing with Seats Though the cost of airline tickets skyrockets when you bring the kids along, many airlines do offer international children’s fares at 75% of the adult price (for children 2-12.) Children under 2 typically cost 10% of an adult fare internationally if they’re sharing a seat with mom or dad (domestic is generally free.) For the under 2’s, you can opt for a bassinet in the front row of seats, or hold your little one for the duration of the flight.
Come Prepared with Supplies Whether you’re traveling with infants, young children or antsy pre-teens, traveling with the right supplies is a lifesaver. For babies, plenty of nappies, wipes, bottles, formula, snacks and toys are a must- and overpack if you must, as it’s better to have too much than to run out. Don’t forget a change of clothes in case of spills. For older kids, snacks and entertainment (books, portable video games, iPod, etc) will keep them happy and hopefully put off the persistent “are we there yet?!” syndrome!
Minimize Bags This may seem to contradict the last tip, but if you pack one carryon wisely you won’t need to haul around many more bags. The less bags you carry, the less chance you have of becoming frazzled, losing things and being tired at your destination. Try a large backpack for carryon items, and a fold-up stroller if you have a little one. Empty collapsible shopping bags are great to bring along for last-minute purchases. Kids can bring along a small backpack filled with snacks and entertainment.
Run ‘em Out The more wiggles you get out of your kid before boarding the plane, the more peaceful your flight with them will be! Hire a sitter to take them to the playground while you’re packing your bags, then at the airport you can even fit in some last minute energy-release in an empty gate area. You might get some dirty looks but it’s worth it to keep them from wiggling around on board!
Work With Jet Lag For long international trips, expect a few sleepless nights are you and the kids adjust to the new time zone. If your child sleeps well at home though, they’ll probably adjust quicker than you think- try soothing them into the new sleep schedule with a light snack, song, snuggle, or whatever works! If they really can’t sleep at night, take turns with your partner so one of you gets some rest.