Travelling with Toddlers: Guide to flying with kids
Travelling with children can be a lot like herding cats and flying with a toddler, or worse, more than one of them, can be the stuff of nightmares. Toddlers on planes are usually busy throwing tantrums while you are still trying to fasten their seat belt. But what about just getting through the check-in? Or the airport security; even walking to the airport gate can be grueling for those with young kids.
For lots of parents, travelling with kids can be the most dreaded part of any family holiday. But it doesn't have to be! Though we can’t guarantee your trip will always go smoothly, here are our tips for travelling with toddlers, infants and older kids, in the air.
Firstly, give yourself enough time to get to, and through, the airport
Seems an obvious tip but a lot of us are optimistic with our time when travelling to and through the airport. Traffic jams and bad weather will slow us down so be prepared for delays. If your getting a taxi make sure you have requested a child carrier/seat or bring one with you.
- Airports are always busy day and night and check-in times and security, though they vary, will usually take a lot of time, especially with little ones in tow. Give yourself enough time at the airport to get through these hurdles comfortably but also enough time for your toddler, who will tend to enjoy wandering around looking at everything, delaying you further.
- Rushing small kids through the airport because you are late for a flight will only cause you grief and a potential wobbler. Check-in online and secure your seat before you go as it will save you precious minutes and save potential tantrum time. Don’t forget your essentials like printing your boarding ticket and having it on you!
- If you have a stroller, you can generally wheel the stroller right to your gate, leave it with airport staff, and retrieve it after your flight. Some airlines let you bring your stroller on board if there is space. Some airlines charge for infant seats and carriers, while others do not. Generally it is best to leave your car seat at home. Check with your airline.
Going Through Security
Going through airport -security can be hellish in any scenario. When you are with your toddler or child, explain to them what will happen: taking off jackets, shoes, toys etc, before you go through, so they are prepared. Plus:
- If there is a family lane, use it. These will usually have extra agents on to deal with kids.
- Infants in a non-metallic sling are allowed through without taking them off.
- After the madness of security, and relative calm before you find your gate, make sure the infants, toddler or children have time now to have a snack, use the loo and play around, as this will be there last chance before you enter your plane.
- Getting to your gate with some time to spare for last minute essentials (toilets, locating lost toys/children) will make things easier for you when you board your flight.
Hunger, tiredness and boredom are usually the triggers for toddler ( or any kids) to go berserk on board your flight. By making sure you have full provisions including snacks, entertainment, and sleepy time arrangements, you will avoid any fellow passenger ‘evil eyes’ on board your flight.
- Bring lots of snacks, low sugary treats to bribe with and comfort items, (favorite toy, blanket) to keep them happy.
- Bringing coloring books, sticker books, small travel games, or tablets will buy you some peace time.
- If your flights delayed, ask steward staff can your child take a walk up and down the gangway while you wait.
- Give them a camera or camera phone and get them to take photos or go through old photos and talk about them to keep them occupied.
- Break out the secret travel stash of toys and their favorite snacks, If they are bored and about to go boom, save yourself some extra toys and snacks for this critical time!
Let’s face it, babies will cry, toddlers will throw things and sometimes your flight will be an adventure all on its own. Try not to get too stressed-out with your kids at these times as most people around you know what it’s like to travel with kids. Happy flying!
Have you any tips for flying with toddlers? Please give us your suggestions.