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The thought of travelling with kids is not something that fills most parents with joy.

It’s often stressful for both parents and children, as well as those around you, but with Christmas holidays on the approach it’s often obligatory for many families flying domestically or internationally. One of the best ways to make the trip as pain-free as possible though, is to have a whole host of activities lined up to avoid the dreaded boredom and trouble-making setting in!

Explore the plane

This is a great one for kids of all ages, especially if they’re new to flying, as it’ll keep them entertained and stimulated as you point out the quirks of their new environment. Chat to an air steward or two, as they’re normally more than happy to take a couple of minutes to entertain children. On some flights, you can still even go in the cockpit, which kids always love.

Download good screen-time

We know it’s not ideal to have your kids in front of a screen for hours on end, so why not download a collection of games on your phone or iPad that your kids can use during the flight. We’re not talking about general video games here, which parents may deem as ‘bad’ screen-time, but instead harnessing this heightened engagement for good.  There are heaps of spelling and reading apps available. You could also try an education-based game like Matific Galaxy to keep the kids entertained and their brain ticking over the holidays. Matific is great because it uses genuine gamification. The program can be fully downloaded onto whatever device you’re using (it’s available on the app store, Google play store, and as a desktop app), so you won’t need WIFI to use all the features.

Let them take their favourite book

Now is not the time to encourage them to pick up something difficult and new which they get frustrated and bored with easily. Let them re-hash an old book that they know and love. Even if it’s a picture book, Where’s Wally or a colouring book – anything to keep them entertained for multiple hours will do the trick.

Comfy clothing is a must

There’s nothing worse than dressing your child in impractical clothing and then having to deal with a frustrated child on a long plane ride. Instead, opt for putting them in soft and roomy layers that you can take on and off as the plane’s air conditioning demands – even some snuggly pyjamas could be a great option! It’s worth taking a pillow or kid-friendly travel cushion too, so they can snuggle up and (here’s hoping) perhaps even drift off.

Snacks!

Any parent will tell you that snacks are key to travelling with children. Our advice though – make sure not all of them are sugary, because there’s nothing worse than the sugar high (and then inevitable crash) when you’re stuck in a confined space. But whatever you take, make sure you take far more than you think you need – there is no limit to how many snacks your kids can consume on a plane. Additionally, you never know what the plane food will offer up, so its good to know you can have nutritional control over the snacks you bring for your little one/s on board.

What are your top tips for travelling with kids? Share them in the comments below.

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  • Always tricky. Hopefully they are ready for a nap when they get on the plane. Otherwise lots of toys!

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  • Bear in mind that on a lot of flights snacks must be commercially sealed when taken on a plane. In many cases all opened food or in some cases all food left behind when getting off a plane

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  • I dislike flying especially thinking about doing it with my son, but these tips are sure to come in handy! I think for sure comfortable clothing and lots of snacks are a must, as well as having something to suck on during take off and landing

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  • Some great ideas here, have never liked flying with young ones.

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  • All good tips to keep in mind!

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  • I don’t have young ones to travel with, but still good information to know.

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  • Snacks are a must on the plane DVD players to watch their favourite movie and iPad to play their games

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  • I saw someone recommend taking window stick ons for the kids to play with (no mess, light and easy to carry), I’ve also heard balloons but not sure that would be great if they popped but definitely small and light. Other tip is hide a favourite toy for a few weeks before so it’s like new on the plane.

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  • So drugging them is out right?

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  • Being organised and planning for a plane trip is the key to happy plane travel. These tips apply to adults and children alike.


    • Favourite books and colouring books and pencils are a hit with everyone.

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  • We traveled last winter to the Netherlands via China, then to Africa, back to the Netherlands via Dubai, then to Northern Ireland, then back via the Netherlands back to Australia. All together we were around 80hours in the plane, yes 80 hours !! With 4 kids, from which one has Down syndrome with gut problems (she had 12x diarrhea during one of the flights !!) and one with a Reactive Attachment Disorder. It was not easy. Especially not the waiting times where we had to go from the one gate to the other, dragging suitcases and kids along.
    My tips: When possible reduce the amount of flights (better pay a bit more), bring your buggy till the last moment you step in till the first moment you step out. And do not hesitate to use Phenergan in this case.

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  • I’m just avoiding this altogether until she’s a bit older

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  • I use all four of these when I can. Makes flying alot easier.

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