Travelling with family can be one of the most beautiful moments of your life—once you get there, that is. The travelling, or more specifically, the flying process is less than ideal if you have younger kids, but there are ways to make it less painful.
This post is part of our flying with kids series
Flying comes with its fair share of obstacles that anyone in their right mind would not appreciate, and that is even more so with young ones. We compiled a list of things to make your family flight smooth sailing to ensure that you’re not exhausted or overwhelmed even before you reach your destination.
Choose a Midday Flight
Scheduling your flight so that it coincides with your usual routine is important for young kids. If you can avoid unusually early or late flights, try to do so because your child’s circadian rhythm is even more important to their well-being than ours is to us as full-grown adults.
Additionally, their body knows it, and they won’t be enthused if they have to get up at 5 am to make their flight (which could make for unhappy circumstances).
Depending on where you’re going, this could feel like a day lost on your vacation time, but it is generally a smarter decision than navigating inconvenient flight times and having to reap the consequences during and after your transit.
The only time we’d recommend against this strategy is when you are undertaking epic long-haul flights with kids. In these situations, you may be better timing your arrival for day times to help with the jet lag. This may mean early waking or overnight flying is required – painful upfront but will help with your child’s time zone adjustment at the other end.
Keep Your Documents Together in One Place
Managing young kids, luggage, and your respective documents can be overwhelming when you fly. In order to make that process more cohesive, consider getting a plastic slip or an accordion folder of everyone’s boarding passes, passports, IDs, or even your emotional support dog letter if you’re bringing a pet along.
Nothing is scarier than either forgetting paperwork before you arrive at the airport or disembarking and thinking you may have left something behind in said airport. Be sure to keep everything together, and this is especially important if you have young ones who may misplace or forget their belongings.
Bring Toys, Electronics, and Ways to Stay Entertained
The magic trick of achieving a seamless flight is by providing an efficient distraction. Once you’ve distracted your kids, you’ve nearly made it to the finish line. Depending on the age of your child as well as any parental rules you have in place, your options could vary significantly.
The most ideal distraction for your child is very likely going to be in-flight entertainment or a tablet, but if they are too young or simply uninterested, consider small handheld games, puzzles and colouring books. And of course snacks! Where would we be without snacks? Bring enough in spill-proof containers to last the full length of your journey door-to-door.
You can find our complete guide to the best toys for every age group here
Do bear in mind that electronics larger than a laptop need to be inspected at TSA if you choose to keep them on you, and you may need to abide by additional rules regarding electronics once you’ve boarded.
There are ways to best ready yourself for flying that will make the journey significantly easier on you and your family. It’s certainly nothing to be concerned about, but regardless, it never hurts to be prepared.
Whether you’re guaranteeing a midday flight, taking deliberate care of your necessary documents, and/or packing a plethora of toys and snacks for your children to keep them occupied, you can ensure a smooth passage.
Your vacation should start as early as possible, and that means relaxing even before you get to your destination. Similarly, just as you should be able to unwind, so should your kids. It is vital to shower their youth with memories of joy, love, and the significance of quality family time.