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Tips for travelling with children

Level Contributor
3,025 posts
144 reviews
Tips for travelling with children

After reading the recent thread about a mother who drugged her children:


Perhaps it might be a good idea if this forum had a top questions practical thread about tips for air travel with children? People can share ideas, experiences etc without any negative comments? Lets be positive for a change and make travel for families better.

Perhaps anyone with kids and flight experience can start it off and one of the DE's or whoever can make it a top question if it kicks off?

Leeds, United...
Destination Expert
for Leeds, Bradford
Level Contributor
15,533 posts
235 reviews
1. Re: Tips for travelling with children

Good idea BH! I've added this as a link to the top questions so let's see all your tips!

London, United...
Level Contributor
26,091 posts
28 reviews
2. Re: Tips for travelling with children

Good idea.

My first one is explain the process to your child and make them part of it, if they are old enough to understand.

My second is for anything over short haul, buy the child their own seat, lap child will not work.

My third is come prepared to feed and entertain your child for the duration of the journey. Games, little snacks, toys etc.

London, United...
Level Contributor
627 posts
31 reviews
3. Re: Tips for travelling with children

My children are grown up now, daughter was a dream to travel with but son had/has ADD and I would dread taking him on a bus let alone a plane.....

We put off travelling by air until he was about 4 or 5, we made sure not to spend too much time in the airport so he wouldn't get bored. Luckily our first flight was short haul, LHR- Bergen -Stavanger on BA. I took a mountain of small things like crayons, colouring books, playing cards as he'd managed 'snap' and 'fish' by then.

Food was not a distraction as he was always too busy to eat ! We sat at the back and I had him by the window which proved to be a genius move he was fascinated by the views and was help along by my commentary.

We had to stop in Bergen, where we were given the option to disembark for a while. They had Lego to play with there so we survived without being a problem to others.

On the way back we couldn't do the window thing as it was too cloudy, but with a lot of attention he managed just fine...until we got the tube home when he was trying to reach the hand holds and swing on them ( lucky they don't have them on planes ! )

A lot of imagination and planning was put in, if your children have not got behavioural problems then you will be better off, but the advice is still the same - take plenty of things to keep them occupied, also for my daughter I took her snuglgly toy which she was very attached to, she loved the trays of food too - she though she was playing tea party !

Level Contributor
484 posts
8 reviews
4. Re: Tips for travelling with children

If you breastfeed your baby, take a large muslin or similar for cover. Also, explain at check in to see if there is a chance you can be seated next to an empty seat, not to put the baby in, but just so you feel more comfortable breastfeeding. I only flew a handful of times when my son was breastfeeding age but this worked at both lhr and abz, which I was so thankful for.

Edited: 8:01 am, April 09, 2013
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
32,247 posts
26 reviews
5. Re: Tips for travelling with children

I think parents have to be prepared to realize that just because it is a night flight doesn't mean THEY will sleep, their child calls the shots! Same with watching movies, relaxing etc. A parent is "on" while flying unless their child is sound asleep.

Level Contributor
3,409 posts
72 reviews
6. Re: Tips for travelling with children

My baby is now 8 months old and she has been flying at least once a month since she was 5 weeks old, here are my top tips.

Airlines allow families with children to board first - don't. I found that this just adds extra time when you have to sit on the plane and the children are confined. We always board towards the end now and find it much better.

Can't imagine the pain of flying long haul with a baby so completely agree with Froggy that buying an extra seat is a good investment but we manage fine on short haul flights with baby on knee. Remember that even if you get a bassinet, baby can't stay in it when the seat belt sign is on so if there is any turbulance, baby will be on your knee. We flew from London to Hong Kong in January and the seat belt sign was on for three hours mid flight (luckily we were in BC so baby and I could lie down together on the seat).

Take everything you think you will need with you, don't rely on the airline having things.

My baby was exclusively breast fed so we didn't need bottles and we never did purees but remember that if you are taking bottles or pureed baby food you will have to taste it at security. This means your bags will be pulled aside and this can add significant time to the time it takes to pass through security.

Nurse or feed young babies on take off and most importantly landing.

I generally find that check in staff and cabin crew are quite accomodating in moving passengers with infants to empty seats, or at least moving those sitting next to you. On a recent flight the FA asked the two gentlemen sitting next to me and my baby if they would like to move to some empty rows at the back, the chap in the middle moved straight away but the man in the middle said he was fine and just moved to the aisle. A few minutes latter he confided that he would rather sit next to a screaming baby than his 'nightmare' colleague (but she didn't scream).

I have not decided if it is better to get a window or aisle in EC yet. With an aisle seat it is easier to get up if the baby needs a bit of a walk to settle. However, if baby falls asleep and then the other passengers want to get out, you are disturbed. Window seats are also slightly more private for breast feeding. I tend to opt for window seats as I know my baby is pretty settled on flights.

Quebec City
Level Contributor
587 posts
42 reviews
7. Re: Tips for travelling with children

This is something a friend told me her parents did when she was young and they went on long road trips, that I find a fun idea (for older children) Her parents would "pay" her and her brothers an allowance of $1 per hour for every hour they behaved, were calm, etc. (They would round it up at the end of the journey, and this was in the '80s, so there might be a need for inflation) This became their pocket money to spend on souvenirs at their destination. It was also up to the children to manage their money, so if they spent it all on sweets the first day, they didn't get any more. I thought this was a good idea for older children, so I'm sharing. I can see this working on long-haul flights as well.

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Bargain Travel, Food and Travel
Level Contributor
21,723 posts
65 reviews
8. Re: Tips for travelling with children

I'm sure it has been suggested many times in numerous threads, but the children's favourite "security" item or toy - whether it's a teddy or blanket, is an absolute must. We found that aside from the comforting factor, it helps them rest as they a familiar with the feel and smell.

Level Contributor
8,300 posts
14 reviews
9. Re: Tips for travelling with children

We;ve always given our babies the correct dose of Tylenol before the flight and about 1/2 hour before landing. Not to knock them out, but if their little ears are going to hurt, better to have them already feeling a bit comfortable. My doctor suggests doing this before their shots and also for flights.

London, United...
Level Contributor
26,091 posts
28 reviews
10. Re: Tips for travelling with children

A lollipop to suck on for take off and landing to help with the ears, when the child is old enough.