1. Book the Early Flights
Booking the earliest flights might sound like a real doozy, but considering these are the flights least likely to get canceled or delayed, makes that 4am wake up call well worth the trip. Plus, my kids are usually more mellow early in the morning than they are midafternoon, so these early flights have always worked out perfectly for us. We get to our destination just in time for them to start getting into their chaotic youth mode.
2. Do not rely on the plane’s Wi-Fi.
Make sure to have all your shows, movies, and games already downloaded the night before your flight. You can go into Netflix, or any streaming service to download episodes and movies onto our phone so you don’t have to have any internet connection to watch them. I always download several movies and episodes of tv shows for my kids to make it there and back home.
3. Plan ahead for best seating
Reserve your seats when you book your flights or take advantage of early family boarding to make sure your family gets to sit together. You can also head to the ticket agent at the gate and ask them to help your family get seats close to each other. Other passengers might not be nice and switch seats with you on fully booked flights, so planning ahead and getting your family together on flights usually makes for smoother travels.
4. Pack the Essentials, but Pack Light
A backpack is the perfect travel bag for parents who need their hands as free as possible. A big mistake when traveling with kids is packing too much. Half of the items won’t get used and your toddler will be bored with any toy you bring in about 15 min tops. This list may be different for everyone, but I think all parents need the following for flights with kids:
- Wet wipes (and diapers, if still needed)
- Lollipops or pacifier for take off and landing
- Favorite snacks but nothing stinky or sticky
- Sweet treat or favorite candy for longer flights that need a little more something
- Water (bought after security)
- Headphones for ipads
- Pad of paper and pen. There’s so many possibilities with these simple items like tic-tac-toe, hangman, doodling, practicing math problems, etc
- Children’s Tylenol and nasal spray
- Kid’s favorite stuffed animal (if they have one) that can double as a little pillow
- Extra set of clothes
5. Prepare Yourself Mentally
Just know that you won’t ever be relaxed and probably won’t get a wink of sleep while flying with kids, but there’s so many ways to reduce the stress and one is to be prepared. There will always be issues and annoyed passengers but take this time to just focus on you and your kids. If you need to be a one man show for their entertainment for a couple hours, so be it. The flight will be over before you know it and you’ll be onto your great destination.