Being a mom of two, I know it isn’t easy traveling with kids on a plane; long lines at security checkpoints, delayed flights, and crowded planes, you get the gist, traveling with kids on a plane can be a challenge.
However, flying with children doesn’t have to be an ordeal and I hope these seven tips will show you how to turn your next plane trip into an easy and enjoyable experience for the entire family.
7 Tips For Traveling with Kids on a Plane
1. Avoid Flying Red-Eye
Red-eye flights are tough on everyone, but they’re especially difficult for kids. While an adult might be able to deal with being exhausted after an overnight flight, kids probably won’t do so well. I understand that sometimes, flying red-eyes can’t be avoided, especially when it’s an international flight. If that’s the case, try and make the kids as comfortable as possible by packing a few light blankets and travel pillows in your carry-on baggage. Encourage them to sleep, and don’t feed them sugary foods before traveling. If you get lucky and the plane isn’t full, ask the flight attendant if your kids can stretch out across a row of empty seats.
2. Book Early in Order to Get Seats Together
Don’t wait until the last minute to book your flight. Buying the plane tickets at least two months before you travel will increase the odds that your family will be able to sit together. Having a block of seats will give your family more space and flexibility. The kids will have room to stretch out across your lap and to stand up and move around if they get restless.
3. Make Sure Carry-On Bags Are Easy to Carry
To avoid the dreaded, “Mom, my luggage is too heavy, can you please help me” make sure that your kids’ carry-on bags are lightweight and easy to maneuver. If you’re not certain whether a bag will be suitable, take it on a test run before your trip. Pack the bag with the items that your child will be taking on the flight or items that have a similar weight. Go on a short walk with your child, and have her carry the bag. If she can manage the bag on a walk around the block, she will do fine on the trip.
4. Bring Lots of Snacks
Meals aren’t served on many domestic flights, and you might not be able to find the snacks you want at the airport. Pack healthy snacks that are easy to carry and won’t make a mess, such as string cheese, granola bars, trail-mix, dried fruit, beef jerky, or carrot sticks. Bring varieties and lots of it, just in case your flight gets delayed or cancelled and you’ve to spend the night at the airport. According to TSA, “All food must go through the X-ray machine. Food must be wrapped or in a container.” Learn more about what’s allowed by TSA – here
5. Pack Chewing Gum or Lollipop
In addition to your snacks, you should also include some lollipop or gum. We don’t allow the girls to chew gum but when we travel we make an exception. Chewing gum or lollipop can help to alleviate ear barotrauma (earaches) that children often experience on flights. These earaches are caused by pressure changes during takeoff and landing. If you’ve ever been on a plane with a wailing baby, you’ll understand why preventing earaches is important. Of course, you shouldn’t give gum to your infant or toddler, but older children will appreciate it.
6. Provide Plenty of Entertainment Options
Keeping your kids occupied is one of the keys to staving off boredom and crankiness. Pack a few new toys, books, or games, and surprise your children with them during the flight. If you’ve an iPad download a few of their favorite movies so the kids’ have something to keep them entertained. They can watch them on the plane or in the departure lounge while waiting for the flight. Card games and travel versions of board games are also fun activities that the entire family can share. If your flight gets delayed, playing games can turn a long wait into a good time. Oh yeah, don’t forget to bring headphones.
7. Take the Fear Out of Flying
If your kids have never been on an airplane before, they might be afraid to fly. Take some time before the trip to explain what will happen on the plane. Emphasize positive things, such as the cool views they’ll see out the window or the movie they’ll get to watch on board. During the flight, be sure to let your kids know what’s going on. They’re less likely to be terrified by that thudding sound during takeoff if they know that it’s just the airplane’s wheels retracting.
If you adopt these friendly tips, traveling with kids on a plane will become less of an hassle and dare I say, enjoyable.
Below are additional tips to make your travel with kids easier –
- 7 reasons a schedule doesn’t work when traveling with kids by November Sunflower
- 7 ways to make your road trip (with kids) less miserable by Another Day…Another Diaper…
- 7 Lists You’ll Need Before Traveling with Kids by Happy Healthy Hip Parenting
- 7 Tips For Traveling Internationally With Kids by Philzendia
- 7 snack hacks for traveling with kids by Family Review Guide
- 7 Tips for Taking Kids on a Cruise by Sunshine and Sippy Cups