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Planning a family vacation that requires you to fly? Already dreading flying with your children? While flying with kids can be hard, it doesn’t have to be. With a little preparation and the right perspective, flying with kids in tow can be a smooth and enjoyable experience. Here are 7 amazingly simple tips to make flying on your next family vacation better than ever.
Tip #1: Pack kid-friendly snacks
Kids really struggle when they are hungry. And they tend to get hungry more often than adults do. So, when flying with children, always pack some kid-friendly snacks. Then, whenever your munchkins get hungry, you will be ready.
Buying snacks before arriving at the airport will be much cheaper than waiting until you get there. Keep them in your carry-on so your kids can snack on the plane or at the airport.
Just remember to pack more snacks than you think you will need for your flight in case you are delayed.
Tip #2: Bring favorite activities
Kids of all ages (and adults too) fly better when they are entertained. So, bring your kids’ favorite activities for the flight.
I recommend packing both high-tech and low-tech activities in your carry-on. This way, you can keep your kids entertained in the event they get bored with their screens or forgot to charge their devices before boarding.
And just like with your snacks, pack more activities than you think you will need in case you are delayed. Be sure to pack a variety of activities so they won’t get bored.
If you have young kids, pack a few surprises or new activities to keep their attention throughout the entire flight. Read my list of the best screen-free activities for flying with kids for some ideas of things to pack.
Tip #3: Remember the necessities
When packing things for your kids to do, don’t forget to bring along the necessities, like batteries and chargers. The last thing you want to happen is for the battery on your child’s favorite device to die right after take off.
And remember the child size headphones! They will save you and your fellow passengers from spending the entire flight listening to that annoying song your child loves so much!
Tip #4: Don’t forget a pillow and blanket
Many times, the air temperature in planes can be chilly. Packing a travel size pillow and blanket can help your kids get comfortable during the flight. And maybe, if you’re lucky, they will relax enough to sleep a little!
I keep a small baby blanket rolled up in my purse. This is perfect blanket for my son to use on the plane.
Tip #5: Dress for comfort
No one wants to sit next to a child who wiggles the entire flight. But this is what you are going to get if you dress your child in uncomfortable clothes for the trip. So, let them wear their favorite comfortable clothes for the flight.
If your children are small and you are flying at night, consider putting them in pajamas before boarding. Comfortable clothes can also help your kids relax and maybe sleep on the plane.
Tip #6: Don’t forget about the ears
The pressure buildup in ears that comes with take off and landing can range from annoying to painful for kids. To make your trip more pleasant for everyone, plan for this necessary evil.
If your kids are babies or toddlers, have them suck on a bottle or sippy cup during take off and landing. This will help relieve the pressure from building up in their ears.
For older children, give them gum or a chewy snack to help their ears.
Tip #7: Burn energy before boarding
It is difficult for most kids to sit still for long periods of time. The younger they are, the harder this is. Instead of fighting this basic fact of life, accept it and work around it. Burn off some of that energy before you board the plane to help them sit still during the flight.
There are lots of ways to let your kids burn off some energy while in the airport. You can take them for a walk through the airport. Alternatively, find an uncrowded corner and let them jump and wiggle. For babies, put a blanket on the floor and let them kick and roll around for a bit.
The more you can wear your kids out before getting on the plane, the better they will behave during the flight.
Flying with kids doesn’t have to be stressful. With a little advance planning and understanding of your children, you can have a smooth flight with even the smallest of kids. Pack snacks, plenty of activities, and a blanket to keep your little ones entertained and happy during the trip. Prepare for stopped up ears and excess energy.
These simple tips can take flying with kids from scary to splendid.
For more tips on traveling with kids, read my complete guide to happy travel with kids, common mistakes when flying with toddlers, how to prepare children for long flights, and how to reduce child anxiety when flying.