This was going to be 5 top tips on traveling with kids abroad, but it turned out I had a few more then that so even though it’s a Five on Friday it’s a 20 on Friday.
As a parent you know your child best you know what keeps them entertained and what sets them off. It’s this time to indulge them, with in reason of course. If they want to run around the plane clearly not a great idea but getting them out of their seat and walking around is a good idea.
Before flying: Things to check with your airline
Check with your airline for general information on suggested times to be at the airport. Currently it’s 3 hours ahead of time for flights abroad. I would suggest this anyway as it is one less thing to stress about.
Be aware of liquid limits. It is in my opinion to just not pack any liquid or lotions in your carry on. That includes make up things like mascara. If you can’t fly without lotion or hand sanitizers consider buying them once you get through security. I’d rather spend a little extra then have to surrender the item just to have re-buy them later. If you do take them in your carry on make sure they are with in the limits, which is only about 100 ml’s and they are already in clear plastic bags.
Check to see what you can take as a carry-on. Make sure your bags are the right sizes. Sometimes you are aloud to take one bag and one purse/bag/coat/laptop bag/diaper bag. This all depends on your airline. Double check if a buggy/stroller is considered a carry-on or extra luggage as well.
Traveling with under 5’s:
- Make sure you pack spare clothes and have a few plastic bags packed in your carry on for said dirty clothes.
- Don’t forget about you!! Make sure you pack a spare shirt or two in your carry on, for the unexpected “accidents.”
- Take an extra diaper/nappy or two; you know to be on the safe side.
- Wipes are also a must! They not only clean up bottoms but sticky fingers too!
- Toys are a tricky one, because no matter what you bring they will want that one toy you left behind. Try choosing their favorite 1 or 2 toys and a couple of activity things. Pinterest is a great place to find ideas for your child’s age. A lot of airplanes show kids movies these days if you are lucky enough to have a child who sits for cartoons!
- When going through security if there is a family line, use it. It’s just more forgiving when going through with children and buggies and numerous carry-ons.
- Make sure they have easy on and off shoes. They may be asked to take them off.
- Before boarding if your children have energy to spare let them let it out. With in reason and with regards to safety of course. It will be expected that they sit nicely for numerous hours depending on how long your flight, let them get it out.
Traveling with 5-10’s
- Similar to above pack a spare outfit and pajamas in their bags along with extra socks and underwear. If your bags go missing you at least don’t have to rush out to buy new things right away. I also suggest doing this for you as well.
- If your children read, pack a book that can be left behind if need be; same with coloring books and other activities.
- With this age group pack less then you think you’ll need. Once they get to their new location they won’t want to play with that bag of toys they thought they couldn't go with out.
- At this age you need to prep them for going through customs and make sure they know it isn't something to joke about.
- Dress them in comfy, but easy to change outfits. Socks are a must!
- Bring chewy sweets or gum for older kids and bottles for babies (or breast feed on take-off and landings) to help with ears popping. My girls are fine on take off, but really terrible on landings.
- Plane food isn't great - bring snacks and lunch type foods for your child. Avoid peanut butter for allergy reasons and any fruit brought on the plane must be consumed or left on plane. They will not allow you to bring fruit through customs.
- Cups with lids are a must, but pack them empty same with bottles. Even for your older child get them a sports water bottle or something.
- Embrace technology. Handheld gaming consoles and tablets are your friends.
- Get them a comfy pair of headphones for above technology and for in air movies.
- Encourage them to sleep, bring favorite blankets and/or stuffed animals if they need them to sleep and you have room in your carry on.
- Don’t let anyone else get to you. You are allowed to fly with your children. Children are people too and they can’t be locked away until adulthood.
If you have flown abroad with your children what are things you wish you knew ahead of time? What did you learn worked and didn't work? I would love to hear your tips and tricks!
notes: These tips are based on my experience traveling with my daughters. We have flown when they were 2 and 8 months, again when they were 6 and 4. Both times we had some up’s and down’s, but mostly it went smoothly because I prepared ahead of time. Please check with your airline for any further help!