Traveling with kids is a wild ride! Set your trip and family up for success by following these tips from me — a mama who has travelled the world with (and without) kiddos.
Food for Your Flight
I like to pack a meal (sandwiches, fruit, and chips) for my family to eat on the airplane because airport food is expensive. You can take food through airport security, but not drinks or liquid foods if they are more than three ounces. My experience has been you can also take your own food or food that you buy in the airport on an airplane in a separate disposable bag from your carry on or personal item without a problem.
International flights typically serve meals, but it’s nice to treat that meal as a bonus snack for kids because it may not come at the best time for your child or they may not prefer what is served. To help families many airlines allow you to select a children’s meal online or over the phone for your child instead of the traditional adult meal options.
>> RELATED READ :: Tips for Flying with Kids :: Part 1 <<
. . . and Snacks, Obviously
To avoid kids ears bothering them during the accent and decent of a flight, I usually give my kids a baggie of gummies or another chewy food to eat during at least takeoff. Dried mango is also great if it’s something your kids like because it is very chewy and takes a while to eat. Older kids often enjoy having gum during flights to help their ears. When our kids were babies, I would try to time their eating schedule so that I nursed them during take off and landing.
I also pack other snacks for other times my kids may need them, such as apple sauce pouches, crackers, dried fruit, and suckers to keep kids busy if need be.
Another fun food item for younger kids can be a homemade cereal necklace for them to eat (and possibly even for them to make). You can bring some type of string/yarn and circular cereal with a hole in the middle for them to put the string through. It’s a great busy activity, and they can snack on cereal as they work.
To go along with these snacks, it’s great to have some baby wipes and a small plastic bag to keep up with your family’s trash more easily.
Entertaining Items for Kids
I’ve found a lot of kids enjoy putting sticky window clings or suction toys on airplane windows. Puffy replaceable sticker books can be very fun to play with, as are the little coloring books that come with a clear marker that makes colors appear magically on the pages of the book as your child draws on them. Pipe cleaners are cheap and create a ton of things to do — make bracelets, shapes, animals, links, whatever!
>> RELATED READ :: Travel Toys :: For Trips on Planes, Trains, and Automobiles <<
A simple new toy can provide some great entertainment as well.
Be careful to avoid small toys, toys that easily roll around or loud toys. Sometimes with little kids I bring toys that I can connect to my chair or backpack so no toys get thrown and lost forever.
Bringing comfortable headphones to plug into your devices is a great choice. There is an adapter for multiple headphones if you have multiple kids that need to share a device. Some international flights offer screens for entertainment, but some planes are doing away with these and sometimes there can be technical difficulties with these screens as well.
The safest bet is to bring a device for your child that you’ve downloaded some shows and games on. It’s helpful to also bring a back up battery or your power cables to be able to charge devices during flights.
Help Them Sleep
Let your older kids know what time they will need to turn off devices and try to start resting, so they know what to expect. Maybe set a time when they will only be allowed to read with a reading light if they don’t feel they can sleep yet.
Have kids go to the bathroom and brush their teeth to help signal to them it’s time for bed. If you normally read a certain book before bed considering reading that book on the flight.
It may be worth packing a pillow and blanket your child likes to help them better relax during a flight. An eye mask may also help some kids because there are a lot of random lights and distractions on airplanes. There is even an eye mask that covers ears and you can play soft music or a sound machine on it through Bluetooth.
Buckle your kids up, even if it’s really loosely, so that you won’t need to wake them to buckle if the seatbelt sign comes on.
If your kids need a certain item to sleep with it’s probably worth bringing it.
If Your Kid Is Losing It
Stay as peaceful as you can; our kids feed off our energy.
Get up and walk down the aisle to change scenery. Even go inside that tiny bathroom and let your kid look in the mirror and wash their hands if they like doing so. If you’re on a large international type plane there is typically a “galley” area where you can stand a bit and your kid can move around. If you can, go hang out there as often as your kid needs to. Use an airline blanket for them to sit on if he or she needs to sit on the ground.
Sometimes you can change a situation by pulling out an emergency special candy or an emergency new toy.
And no matter how hard a flight with a child may be, remember, it will end. Thankfully, you’ll probably never see most those people ever again!