Travelling is back! And that means travelling with little ones is, too.
Travelling by plane with toddlers can be exhausting. All that waiting, walking, and queueing at the airport, while managing energetic, emotionally charged little people, all in preparation to sit in an enclosed space with hundreds of strangers for hours on end. No one wants to be on a plane with a crying baby, least of all the parents who brought them on board!
While this may put some young parents’ travel plans on hold for a few years, some may not want to miss out on the magic of travelling to a foreign country! Above all, seeing your young ones experience the sights, smells, and sounds of a whole new culture is an experience that’s worth every minute.
Here’s a handy guide to travelling with kids:
Ahead of the flight: what to prepare
Book an early morning departure
Early mornings at the airport tend to be smoother—the airport is quieter, the flights less crowded, and everyone is a lot less rowdy—most of all the kids.
Little ones below a certain height may not need a ticket to get on board, but they’ll need to be held or minded by you for the whole flight, rather than having their own seat. So, although it isn’t absolutely necessary, booking a seat for them often helps—especially because you’ll get a section of the row all to yourselves! (Check with the airline if you’re not sure.)
Plan your airport itinerary ahead of time
Schedule your day of departure well to avoid unnecessary scrambling. If it’s an airport you’re not familiar with, do some research to make sure you can get around easily. Planning ahead will give you the peace of mind you need, so you can focus on the children.
A rule of thumb is to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before take-off, so you can comfortably check-in and get to the boarding gate on time. Factor in travelling to the airport as well as getting ready so that you know what time you should wake up the kids. Ensure there is ample buffer time in between points too.
Prepare a flight pack of snacks, activities, and sleep aids
This flight pack will be your magical treasure chest of goodies! Put together a little backpack to keep them occupied and make the experience as frictionless as possible. We like to use the acronym SAS—snacks, activities, and sleep aids!
Believe us when we say the best flights are those with looooads of yummy snacks. As long as their tummies are satisfied, the kids will be a lot less grouchy. Bananas, biscuits, rice chips, sliced grapes, dried fruit chips and raisins are great choices!
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Keep them occupied! 3D puzzles are a great way to keep little hands busy, while puzzle and colouring books offer great variety that can eat up a couple of hours of flying time. Bring along a few pocket-sized board games or card games so that you can kill some time with them, too!
Apart from inflatable neck pillows for kids, why not bring along a plush toy as their new travel companion, or any other favourite toys and security blankets for extra comfort?
Other useful tools to consider:
While a travel stroller may be bulky, it’s a good option to contain and move the kids with ease. A sling or baby carrier is also a great alternative for little ones who still need to be held in arms. For those who aren’t potty-trained yet, a wet bag for diapers is godsend.
At the airport
Be patient. As long as you stick to your plan, you can focus on getting everyone on board without a hitch. In the event of long queues, feel free to take out some snacks for the kids to nibble on. The boarding gate is a great place to play a game with them because you’ll have time to kill, too!
Dress comfortably, with easy-to-wear sneakers so you can manoeuvre with ease. For the kids, avoid laced shoes, or any that are hard to take off—this saves hassle during airport security checks.
In the event of a delay:
It may feel like your plans have all gone up in smoke and your whole world is crashing down. What are we going to do for the next few hours? Will we have enough snacks and activities to keep the kids occupied?
Don’t fret! First, look for somewhere to sit down and have something to eat. Do your best to keep the goodies and games for the plane—that’s when you’ll need all your best ammo. If your flight offers you food and drink vouchers for the delay, make the most of them, too!
And, while you’re at it, feel free to let your little travelling companions explore! The departure side may have a trove of fun activities, especially if you’re at a haven like Changi Airport. Check out the runway viewing gallery too— watching the planes together is a wonderful way to spend time!
On the plane—the last stretch!
Once you’re aboard, don’t be afraid to ask the crew for help. If they see you’re with a toddler, they may offer a kiddie pack—it’ll kill at least half an hour.
They’ll also assist with warm drinks and provide additional snacks. They want everyone on board to have a smooth journey
You can also order a “toddler meal” in advance—it’s a requirement for almost every airline, but they might not have toddler-specific meals unless they’re ordered beforehand.
Now’s the time to bring out your flight pack! Don’t give your kids everything all at once—give them something new every hour or so to keep them occupied. Let them go for a (supervised) walk if they want to. Trying to contain them may be harder than letting them stretch their legs!
If they’re experiencing blocked ears, sucking on boiled sweets is a great way to relieve the pressure. For little ones who get motion sickness, candied
ginger is a brilliant remedy. Once again, feel free to ask the crew for assistance—they’ll know the best ways to get rid of any discomfort.
Touchdown, you’ve made it!
And so, with satisfied bellies and comfortable backsides, they’ll be out like a light—and so will you. Before you know it, you’ve landed! Follow these tricks and soon you’ll be able to deal with any mile-high issues from a mile away.
Check out all the great toddler travel lifesavers in this article—just waiting to be delivered to you before you take off! Make FairPrice your first destination ahead of any trip at FairPrice’s baby needs!