“I don’t need to go” can quickly swing to the other end of the scale when it comes to childrens’ bladders – even the older ones. So make sure they go to the toilet immediately before getting on the plane/boat/train. Don’t give them too many fluids either or they’ll be up and down to the toilet all the way to your destination – extremely annoying for the person in the aisle seat! This is sensible advice for adults too. Drinking five pints of lager before getting on the plane is dangerous, especially if you’re held up during taxiing!
If at all possible, choose flights at the ‘normal’ time your kids are meant to be falling asleep. If they’re shattered and it’s bedtime back home you might just find they’ll drop off. However, this could backfire if they’re so excited that they don’t want to sleep – tired and bratty is never a great start to a holiday.
Baby milk is something that always throws up questions. What can you take? Will you have to taste it at security? How much are you allowed and will it be enough? To avoid these questions did you know you could pre-order your milk from Boots and collect from a store in the airports departures? Find out here which airports are available. Alternatively check out Skyscanner’s guide to hand luggage restrictions do you don’t get caught out.
Skyscanner PR Manager and mother-of-two Mary Porter has loads of tips on flying with toddlers. Our favourite is: “warn young children of the ‘Aeroplane Police’ who are looking out for badly behaved children. I am not suggesting you scare them out of their wits (and admittedly we never did explain what the Aeroplane Police actually do when they catch a naughty child). However, it proved hugely effective in stopping my toddler climbing over seats, playing with the fold down table, kicking the seat in front and all the other things that passengers around you really love.”
If you are flying with the family, or holidaying with your extended kin (sharing a villa with your sister and her five kids perhaps?) you’ll be struggling to all sit together if you leave it late to check in. So do this online as soon as check-in it opens. Unless you don’t want to sit anywhere near your sister’s five kids, that is.
Assume your baby is flying free under 2? Double check. Oksana found she was expected to pay far more than she had imagined on one recent flight: “you may be surprised that some airlines force you to pay up to 75% for a ticket without a seat. This happened with me and my one-and-a-half year old son. In this case you don’t save money! Buy a normal ticket. At least you will get extra space – that is really valuable.”
Katie from mummydaddyandmemakesthree.co.uk says: “pack them a plane bag – We have three young children and my girls have amassed many flights between them at a young age. We always pack a plane bag for them, we don’t let them see if before we get on the flight and in it are cheap pocket money toys to keep them entertained. Things you can buy in supermarkets and that only cost a couple of pounds each, like crayons, colouring books, little sets of Lego they can build and of course sweets in case all else fails! They love it and get excited to open them as soon as we are up in the air.”
Ok, so this one won’t work for everyone, but some parents have found that holding their baby above their head makes them stop crying. No scientific reason we can think of for this one working but hey, if it does the trick… Not one to do on takeoff though!
Gretta from Mumsdotravel.com says: “my kids are teenagers now, but my top tip for flying with younger children is to have a backpack as hand luggage so that you have both hands free. That makes it easier for you to carry your child, or hold their hand, or push a buggy, or show your passports or whatever else you need to do at the airport.”
A game can keep kids occupied and make the journey fly by – but you don’t want to be carrying lots of equipment to make it work. So keep it simple. Easy games like I-Spy are the best. Get ideas for more simple, cost-free, games you can play with the kids on your next journey.