Travelling with young children is intimidating – you can’t predict how they will behave, and you need to carry a ton of extra essentials both in your luggage and carry-on.

Nevertheless, travelling has proven to be good for children as it introduces them to new things, encourages them to be more adaptable, patient, social, and expressive, brings them closer to nature, teaches them about history, geography, and architecture, and provides a great bonding experience for the whole family.

Yet, while travelling can be tough with young kids, you can minimise the hassle and maximise the fun with these tips.

1. Pick the right flight and time

To ensure the best chance at avoiding delays at takeoff or landing, fly as early in the day as possible. The flights are also usually less crowded.

Another option is to plan your flight times around your child’s sleep schedule so that they’ll (hopefully) sleep on the plane. Try to also follow a consistent sleep routine in the week before your trip.

2. Arrange videos ahead of time

Ensure that you have plenty of videos ready for your little one. Plan for more than you think you are going to need since it is easy to underestimate how many will get you through even a short flight.

A great idea is to put down the tray table, put your sunglasses on it, and use them as a phone stand for watching movies on your phone or tablet. Use kid-sized headphones and a headphone-splitter for kids that are sharing a device.

3. Dress kids in layers

Dressing in layers is a great tip for both kids and adults, as the temperature on the plane can change drastically, so you never know when it’s going to be too hot or too cold.

As an added bonus, if your child messes on one shirt, it's easy to just take it off to reveal a clean one underneath. Avoid clothes with buttons, zippers, or laces to make it easier and quicker to change or get through airport screening.

4. Pack lollipops and other surprises

Be sure to include lollipops in your hand luggage as a special treat to keep your child happy – and as something to suck on to ease ear pressure on the plane.

Other little surprises will also help to keep your kid entertained. Try wrapping these, as kids love to unwrap things. You can also put small treats into a weekly pill box for them to open and discover.

5. Bring a wide variety of snacks

For many kids, food can provide entertainment too, so bring a wide variety of low-sugar, non-messy food and offer them to your child at strategic moments to avoid meltdowns.

Pretzels, crackers, nuts, cheese, and granola bars are good options. The more time a portion of food takes to eat, the better. Bring some water on board as well so you won’t need to wait for a flight attendant when you need it.

6. Seat kids away from the aisle

Seating your kid away from the aisle will help you to keep the child contained. While scheduled walks along the aisles are a good idea (timed to avoid the food service), you don’t want your little one running off unattended.

It can also be dangerous for the kid to be seated at the aisle when the food and beverage cart passes by – their little hands are in treacherous reach of hot coffee or water.

7. Beware of germs

It’s easy for kids to pick up bugs and get ill while travelling, so be sure to wipe down the tray table, armrests, window frames, and anything else within reach.

Above all else, never send your kids to the bathroom without shoes, as there may be much more than water on the floor.

8. Don’t forget any essentials

Make sure you have all the essentials to keep your child comfortable and to avoid tantrums. These include at least one comfort item (unless it’s a pacifier – then bring two or more, in case it gets flung down the aisle or on the floor).

Also ensure you’ve packed enough sanitiser, wipes, and diapers (one diaper per hour of travel is recommended) – as well as a plastic bag for any rubbish you accumulate.

9. Pre-book your post-flight transportation

Make sure to pre-book your taxi, rental car, or airport transfer with hoppa before your flight to minimise the stress of doing so at the crowded airport when you land.

Hoppa is the world’s top specialist in smooth, reliable transportation, comparing 1,000s of transport providers from around the world to get you where you need to go. Whether at home or abroad, with choices of taxis, car hire, and airport transfers, we search and compare the best deals so you arrive happy.

Do you have any suggestions for flying with children that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below!


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