You may be looking forward to some time away to recuperate and enjoy quality time with your family. However, it’s likely you’re opening yourself up for a stressful ordeal, at least in the run up to arrival at the airport and during flight. It’s likely your children will try to test you with their hunger, tantrums and fear of flying to name but a few. All emotions on the spectrum they can experience in full in the space of 0.5 seconds. Understandably, then, it can be daunting. But with our tips and tricks, you can avoid a turbulent journey.
Find Out About Your Airline
Luggage limits are nearly always shaped up to be an unplanned expense if you don’t properly check and weigh your suitcase before getting to the airport. It’s always important, therefore, to know exactly the amount you can have before rocking up with one more suitcase than you should. The same goes for when you’re travelling with young children.
Most airlines allow you to bring prams, travel cots and other necessities free of charge on top of your luggage. But don’t go bringing the whole nursery, check the requirements. EasyJet allows you to bring 2 extra items, including either a pushchair, car seat, travel cot or booster seat. British Airways exclusively allows only 1 pushchair and 1 car seat, as well as a 1 holdall. Ensure you also familiarise yourself with any size allowances, so that your extra items meet requirements.
Dressing For the Airport & Flight
Always consider what you are going to wear to the airport. It’s all well and good being excited for your holiday in the sun, but denim shorts and strappy tops are not going to be comfortable when still in the chilly UK, legs sticking to the seats on the plane. As a parent, it’s also key to consider these choices with your children. If you happen to be arriving late to your destination, remember that the temperatures could be considerably cooler than the daily highs.
If you’re travelling with your baby and breastfeeding, consider your personal comfort when feeding your child in the airport and during the flight and dress for your peace of mind.
Giving yourself enough time to organise things like packing is key to avoiding a meltdown at the last minute. Involve your child with their suitcase to get them excited at the prospect of going on holiday and even flying.
Other things to book in advance are things like your car parking space for whilst you’re away and contemplate lounges at the airport. Book through Parking At Airports to get the best rates on different parking services at airports across the globe, including long and short stay, meet and greet and VIP. Get up to 72% off bookings and be rest assured of both your cars safety and that you won’t have a screaming child in the car whilst you try to find a space close enough to the airport your child won’t complain.
Lounges also might be for you. If the idea of letting your child loose in a giant airport is just too much for your already frazzled brain to handle, lounges give them a small space to run riot in. You can also avoid the high expenditure rates of £52pp roaming around the airport with all-inclusive food and drink.
Food & Drink
When it comes to food and drink, make sure you’re stocked up. Of course you must consider the fact you can’t take in anything over 100ml beyond security, so ensure you keep to the limits, or don’t waste your time making up packed lunches and instead buy what you need on the other side. If you’re travelling with your baby and feeding them formula milk, it might be more ideal to pre-order in advance and pick up in a branch situated inside the airport. You then won’t need to worry about pertaining to the limits or ensuring you have enough to keep your baby satisfied.
Keeping your children preoccupied on the flight is probably your biggest concern. No one wants a full-blown tantrum squeezed into a row of three seats with nowhere to hide. Or to hear “Are we nearly there yet?” and “I’m bored!” over and over again. No need to break the bank, simply buy some new cheap and cheerful toys and ensure they’ve never played with them before to keep their interest high.
Although we appreciate parents like to limit screen time, flights definitely call for special occasions. Load the iPad up with films and TV shows you know they love and at least a good couple of hours during flight will fly by and maybe even send them off to sleep.
Your Hand Luggage
If you’re planning to take your own hand luggage for your own bits and bobs, as well as other parent essentials, pack it all into a backpack. This will distribute the weight evenly on your shoulders and ensure you have both hands free for children going rogue.
Ensure your hand luggage has essentials like a change of clothes for you and your child in case of accidents, wet wipes and medicine in case a temperature suddenly arises. You can also squeeze in those all-important toys, snacks and drinks, as well as your flight documentation, of course.
Really, it’s as simple as that. Of course, there are some things you just can’t cater for and being a parent most certainly isn’t easy. Our best piece of advice? No matter what, try and remain as calm as possible. Your child can sense your unease, so just try and enjoy yourselves and look forward to what will be a lovely time spent away with your family. And if they do decide to make your life harder by throwing up, or announce to the plane they’ve done a number two, you can always bring it back up later in life and embarrass them.