Are you terrified?
Well you should be…
(no, not the dreaded mother in law’s birthday party)
…of the thought of your child causing world-crushing rebellion on your flight to your lovely holiday!
Which is why I will provide you with some valuable tips on how to keep your flight smooth
You can wear that ‘S’ on your chest,
and let your partner admire while you save the day.
So you can fly like Superman!
Let’s get the party started!:
Disabilities and Special Needs
WINGS FOR ALL
Wings For All is a well respected programme for any child with special needs or disability where the act of boarding a plane is rehearsed with professional pilots and flight attendants. This programme is designed to give the children experience boarding a plane to help unnerve them during the real event. This should help many parents who can’t take their child on a plane. The programme is currently based in the US. However, Manchester Airport in the UK currently lead the way for these types of programmes.
If you have a disabled child that requires a wheelchair, it is best to sit them on the aisle seat for ease of access. This will allow them to easily access the toilet and easily get on and off of the plane.
If your child has a hard time sitting up, ask your airline beforehand if they provide shoulder straps. They are not required by law so it is likely they don’t have them. In this case, you can purchase your own.
If your child requires a wheelchair, you can only bring your own up until the gate. From there on, the airline will provide an aisle chair. However, some airlines only have these on request, so be sure to call the airline beforehand.
A child with Autism for example isn’t immediately obvious. Be sure to let the airline know several times in several different ways to ensure the message is delivered as messages can be lost. Also, airlines want all passengers to have a reasonably enjoyable flight, so it is in everyone’s best interest!
Again, pretty simple. But, I have seen so many parents dress their child in little jeans and flat trainers. Your child is no different to you and will get uncomfortable in jeans. So, to save the whining, dress them in light trousers, shorts or tracksuit bottoms that are easily removed. So, once you get to that 30 degree heat, you can dress them in some shorts right away.
EASILY REMOVABLE SHOES
This tip will come in handy during security checks. Being able to get through security quickly will be of value as children can get bored very easily and can cause a lot of stress. Some ways to find easily removable shoes are to find velcro or slip-on shoes. My best advice would be velcro trainers as these will be comfortable to walk in and easily removed.
Games & Apps
.322222222My favourite thing ever as a child? Coming home after school to that new, fresh smelling pack of Match Attax! Buy some trading cards and swap some with your child. You can even use a fresh new pack as a bribe for them to behave well!
TOCA LIFE: CITY/FARM GAME
What a great way for your child to learn about how farms work! They can do everything from milking the cows to sitting and having a picnic!
BUDDHA FOR KIDS GAME
What could be better than the “mini characters” of Quelle Histoire to let our children discover world history?
Designed for 6 year olds and above, “Buddha for kids” will allow them to discover the life of Siddhartha, the young prince who became Buddha. This game works even better if you’re visiting China!
JETPACK JOYRIDE GAME
A quick and easy arcade game where you have to avoid obstacles and collect coins. Addictive, fun and competitive!…Enough to keep your kids quiet for a short while!
TRAVEL SCRABBLE BOARD GAME
Educates the kids? Check. Easy to carry? Check. Easy to play without losing bits? Check. Fun? Well, perhaps for those that can read.
Aeroplanes are dirty, and this has even been admitted by air stewards! Bring sanitizer products such as antibacterial wipes to ensure your child’s surroundings are clean and safe. This can prevent any illnesses while on holiday and make your time away a lot easier for yourself.
Medicine is arguably the most important thing to take with you on holiday, and is equally easily to forget. Ensure to bring an off-the-shelf painkiller such as, calpol. You will also need medicine for mosquito bites and remember there are hand luggage restrictions for medicines and liquids. You’re allowed to carry essential medicines of more than 100ml in your hand luggage, including liquid dietary foodstuffs and inhalers. You’ll need supporting documentation from a relevant medical professional (for example a letter from your doctor or a copy of your prescription). The same applies for gel packs.
ALLERGY UK TRANSLATION CARDS
A set of three plastic cards are provided, each about the size of a credit card. The cards feature an allergy alert message, an emergency message and a message for use in restaurants to ensure that your food order is free from the particular allergen that causes your reaction. The cards are printed in English on one side and the language of the country you are visiting on the reverse side. Cards for over 70 different allergens are available in 36 languages:
Balinese, Bengali, Bulgarian, Cambodian (Khmer), Chinese (Simplified), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Flemish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Indonesian, Japanese, Lao, Malay, Maltese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Slovene, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tamil, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese.
SEE DOCTOR BEFORE TRAVEL
This may seem obvious but this is often brushed aside. Seeing a doctor is essential before travel (around 2 months before) as travelling abroad exposes you and your children to different diseases and environments. Check online to see if a vaccination is recommended for the country you’re visiting and research into what diseases are being spread there currently.
BRING PLENTY OF DRINKS
Of course, you cannot take drinks through security. However, be sure to purchase plenty of water from the duty-free as you need to keep your child hydrated… especially on a plane with that hard-to-breathe recycled air!
MOSQUITO REPELLENT PATCHES
If you are visiting any hot contry, you need to be well prepared. As well as vaccinations and medicines, you need to bring along these patches to repel mosquitos away in the first place!
PORTABLE CHILDPROOFING KIT
You can’t plan for emergencies, unfortunately. So, your best option is to bring this child proof first aid kit so your child can stay safe and fix any disasters quick and easy! The kit is also child proof so it is safe around children. What more could you ask for?!
Travelling when your child is still learning how to use the potty can be quite tormenting… and a hassle. Be sure to pack enough nappies to last 24 hours as your flight could be delayed. If your child is still learning to use the potty but isn’t quite there yet, then there is no need to bring a potty with you. Check out the next tip to supplement this one!
WRITE PHONE NUMBERS ON THEM
It happens so often that a child is lost and is found my stranger, and this stranger is wasting their own time running around trying to find their parent. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if a phone number is written on the child?! This saves a lot of time and hassle, and may mean the difference between missing your flight and catching your flight on time!
CHECK ALL OF YOUR PASSPORTS
Children’s passports only last 5 years… so check them! The worst situation that could happen is for you to arrive at the airport and your child’s passport has run out! An avoidable situation with a very inconvenient outcome! It can be a lengthy process waiting for a new passport to be delivered, so ensure you get this done 3 months before you book.
INVOLVE YOUR KIDS IN THE PLANNING
Get your child involved with the day to day planning before your holiday! This should help them feel more involved and can teach them about how to plan and schedule. If your child hasn’t been on a flight before, it may help them prepare for what’s to come! This should help make them more comfortable on the day and allow for a more quiet, easy journey.
SCHEDULE MORE TIME FOR EACH ACTIVITY
Try to schedule more time for each activity and try to reduce the number of activities in each day. The more time you have for each activity, the less stress for you and your family. The results? A happier holiday!
CHECK HOTEL FOR FAMILY DEALS
Many international hotels have family deals, discounts and complimentary children’s meals. Most hotels provide breakfast anyway and you don’t really want to be spending too much money on food when your child eats little more than a slice of bread and butter!
CHECK QUALITY OF THE KIDS CLUB
If you are not supervising your kids, you want to ensure whoever is has good facilities and activities in place. There is nothing worse for a child than missing their parents. So, ensure the kids club is a good standard and is more than just sitting kids in front of a TV!
CHECK TO SEE IF YOU NEED A VISA
If you’re going to a destination that requires a visa, ensure you check if the same rule applies to children. Often, their fee is the same as yours and you need to collect them in person. You can apply in writing to save time.
ENSURE YOU HAVE ALL THE CORRECT DOCUMENTS
Especially if you have an adopted child, you will need to have adoption papers for your child present. If you are the only parent travelling with your child, regardless of your marital status, you may be asked to present proof of consent from the alternate parent. This is more likely to happen in countries where child trafficking occurs regularly.
CREATIVE HOLIDAY RELATED PROJECTS
To prepare your child for what is to come, it may be a good idea to organise some holiday-related projects for your child and for you to do as a family. An example may be a poster with the history of the country you are visiting. A more prepared child will be less likely to misbehave when the real event occurs.
SEND BUGGIES VIA DELIVERY SERVICE
If you have a buggie and it is essential to bring it with you, you can send it via a delivery service. Also, instead of you over packing and bringing too much luggage, send these via a delivery service too!
DESIGNATE MEETING POINTS
Always, wherever you go, ensure you have a designated meeting point. Your child may not be able to find the point, but if they are found they can tell whoever found them where they are supposed to meet you. Children are smarter than you think!
MEET AND ASSIST
As part of a pre-booked and paid for a Meet & Assist service, passengers traveling with kids will have the option of having a pushchair included in their service. This service is only available as part of the purchased Meet and Assist service and should be requested at the time of booking. This will support you in getting to the boarding gate quickly, easily and stress-free!
CHECK LATEST HANDHELD LUGGAGE RESTRICTIONS
All items of luggage larger than the cabin baggage size (maximum length 56cm, width of 45cm and depth of 25cm, including wheels, handles and external pockets) must be checked in to be placed in the aircraft hold. These are allowed as a second item of cabin baggage if they do not fit into the cabin bag. This is an example of just one restriction, so to save time and hassle, be sure to check the latest handheld luggage restrictions ruled by your airline!
Like a Christmas Stocking… but for your flight! Your child is likely to be as excited for your holiday as they are Christmas, so be sure to keep them entertained with a plane bag that has a few gifts or activities inside. This should keep a smile on your child’s face the whole journey!
Yeah, you probably shouldn’t lie to your kids, but… sometimes you have got to be selfish! Simply tell them regularly about the Aeroplane Police and that if you misbehave, they capture you and put you in jail. Tell them this before your flight and I’m sure it should work well!
FLY AT NIGHT TIME
Sounds pretty obvious, right? If you fly at night or early hours of the morning, your child will most likely fall asleep and not make a sound! Alright for some, eh? Now you can look forward to an easy, hassle-free flight! If you have been delayed, get £540 today!
If you are travelling on a long-haul flight, it may be a good idea to pay for a transit flight where you have a stop. This way, it gives your kids to have a run around before the second half of your flight. This should save a lot of winging! And better yet, transit flights are cheaper!
PLAN AN ACTIVITY FOR EVERY 15 MINUTES
For every 15 minutes of the flight, have a different activity planned. Taking off and landing can be something simple like looking out the window and counting the houses or cars. Some other ideas could be making a drawing, taking photos, playing Travel Scrabble or reading a book.
EXTRA CLOTHING & A PLASTIC BAG
Your worst nightmare would be if your child wets themselves or soils their clothing when you don’t have a replacement! Bring some extra clothes for yourself, too. The plastic bag can be used to place dirty clothing inside.
ENSURE YOUR HOTEL IS ACCESSIBLE
What a lovely hotel you booked! It didn’t happen to show that 200ft steep hill you have to walk up every time you leave the hotel to get to the beach did it? In 30 degree heat, it is far too much for yourself and your children to be having trouble accessing your hotel, so find as many reviews and information on your hotel as possible.
CHECK THE CULTURE OF YOUR DESTINATION
If you have a baby, you may still be breast feeding. There are many countries that have strict rules on showing skin in public. So, if you are going to one of them countries, it is probably best to not breastfeed in public… Research is essential for success in anything you do so get lookin’!
Time consuming, I know. But, a practise run can give your child experience and feeling of what the actual day will feel like, so it isn’t a shock to them when it occurs. This will mentally prepare them and avoid any traumas.
IS LOW COST WORTH IT?
Save some money? Yep. Got much leg room? Nope, no biggy. Got a screaming child? Yep, I should have paid the extra £100. Low-budget airlines are not convenient for young children. They tend to be very hot and stuffy and cramped… the perfect scenario for a screaming child! A more expensive airline will have a better AC and air recycling system, more space and are more reliable. This can make the difference between a crying child and a happy child.
WRITE DOWN ALL POTENTIAL PROBLEMS WITH SOLUTIONS
Doing this will not only avoid problems, but if any problems do occur during your journey, you can adapt to the situation quickly and go the right way about resolving the problem. In turn, you can have a relaxing journey to your lovely holiday with no stress!
EXPLAIN THE JOURNEY PROCESS TO YOUR KIDS
This is a good way to mentally prepare your children for a long day of travelling. Explain to them the schedule and what they can do at the airport and on the flight. Let them know it may be a long day but they can get a reward if they behave well. Try to make the reward exciting. For instance, you can say you will take them to a waterpark the following day. This should give your children an incentive to behave well.
SCAN YOUR PASSPORTS AND EMAIL THEM TO YOURSELF
Along with any other important documents — e.g. green card, birth certificate, the visa pages of your passport. If you ever lose your passports abroad, this will save you a ton of time and hassle when you have to replace them. This way, you can relax that little bit more and enjoy the holiday you’ve needed!
COUNT THE NUMBER OF BAGS YOU ALL HAVE IN TOTAL
This makes checking in your bags and ensuring nothing has been lost very quick and easy. If you have a number in your head of how many bags there are, then you can always know if anything is missing throughout your journey.
This allows you and your family to stay out of other people’s way when boarding. Most airports allow families with young children to board early so that other people can board quickly. So, utilise this!
ONE PARENT FOR EACH RESPONSIBILITY
Delegating responsibilities between parents makes the work load that much easier, and reduces stress incredibly!
ONLINE STORAGE FOR PHOTOS
Instead of splurging out on a batch of SD cards, go with the cheaper, more up-to-date method of using online storage. Not only will it be cheaper, but it is also easier to then upload the photos to your computer.
SD CARDS STORED WITH FILMS
What more could a child want?! A whole stock of films that they can take anywhere with them is a dream! Just bring a small tablet that has an SD card slot and you’re well on your way!
Giving a child a suitable camera for their age encourages them to be more creative and observant. Your child will concentrate more and in-turn have less to moan about! This is such a great idea because they won’t get bored, they can use it the whole holiday and you may be surprised at the results! To make it even more fun, if you have more than one child, set them a challenge of taking the best photo… you never know, they may develop a new hobby! This should give you some time to enjoy your surroundings and let go of your worries!
CARRY-ON CHANGING BAG
Take a carry-on changing bag that is a carry cot, changing station and bag all in one! This makes it quick and easy to change your child’s nappy anywhere you are… whether you are in the heights of the endless sky or in the depths of the hottest dessert! There will be no more hassle trying to find your supplies, no more losing supplies and you can now easily carry everything you need!
Scared of losing your child? No problem! Just attach a child locater on their belt before you leave the house and if you lose them, press the panic button which will sound an alarm on your child’s locator, so you can quickly locate them.
Ever been on a flight and you can’t stretch, you’re tossing and turning and just can’t wait to get the hell off the plane? We all have… and here is how this product can help. The Gizmo is a portable ‘Hammock’ that you can clip on to the chair in front of you. This allows your child to lie down however they like or even just sit more comfortably. And the best part about it? YOU can use it too! It is designed for the comfort of all ages! Of course, if you are reading this you are likely to be too large to lie down, but you can sit a lot more comfortably.
Steri-Bottle is a great way to feed your child… straight out of the box! You can cut out all the unnecessary time wasted on bottle preparation so your journey is made easier! You can purchase the Steri-Bottles in different sized packs to suit your needs and circumstances.
Cliché I know. But, for a reason… it works! Further down the article I have advised some apps and games to download suited to your children to keep them entertained. Be sure to have a child-friendly, sturdy case as these new iPads are extremely light and flimsy!
Do your kids regularly moan about walking? Avoid that this summer using the Trunki. The Trunki is a small hand luggage case that you can take on the plane. It allows your child to sit on it which can keep them happy while walking through the airport! Hey, it might be worth giving it a go yourself too, seems fun to me! ***Your choice, of course.
Remember the Trunki I was talking about? Well this is just as great! This product is literally a hand luggage sized suitcase with a seat. Simples! This will allow your time in the airport to be easy and peaceful. Makes me wonder… why can’t us adults have products like these!
YONDI NECK PILLOW
Yondi make Neck Pillows very fun and exciting! They are designed in small sizes for children with cool themes! This should keep your child comfortable and entertained the whole flight!
MY STORYTIME PILLOW BY ELO
Does your child want you to read them a story but you’re so tired you just want to nod off? Well let a pillow do it for them! and everyone loves stories right? This product forces children to lay down to listen to stories, causing them to nod off! So now kids have an incentive to want to lie down and sleep!
CLIP-ON BUGGY SUNSHADE
When walking around a hot country, a parasol will not be enough. Clip a sunshade on to your buggy in less than 7 seconds and your child will be cooler and more comfortable!
This is a reusable drinks cover that makes it impossible to spill your drink! At an extremely low price, this product is AMAZING and of great value! This should avoid any accidents on your flight to keep your stress levels at an all time low!
SQUIRT – BABY FOOD DISPENSING SPOON
You can avoid any spillages with this product that you gently squeeze to squirt either baby food or a drink in to your child’s mouth. This product makes it very easy to feed and avoids a lot of stress!
IDENTITY VELCRO WRISTBANDS
It is very easy for your child to run off and get lost at a busy airport. To save time and maximise safety, attach this velcro identity wristband so you can be contacted quickly, so you can still board your flight on time!
SKYBABY FOLD UP LAP MATTRESS
This portable lap mattress can be rolled up and placed in your hand luggage. It is very comfortable and will allow your child to sleep happily ever after on your boring flight!
ROLL-UP DRAWING MATT
Does your child love to draw? Of course! Does your child often make a mess? Of course! This roll up drawing mat allows your child to draw as much as they like without making a mess on the plane. The best part is that it rolls up and is easily carried.
A DIAPER BAG AND BACKPACK THAT WILL ALSO CHARGE YOUR WIRELESS DEVICES
A rucksack that acts as a diaper bag and keeps your bottles insulated! a product that is very useful for travelling with young children.
BABY BOTTLE ADAPTER
This baby bottle adapter allows you to convert almost any bottle top into a baby bottle top, allowing you to feed your baby bottled water quickly and easily.
PORTABLE SNACK BOX
One of the best, and old school ways of silencing your child is through snacks and, you most probably need a lot of snacks. So, purchase this snack box so you can bring enough snacks with no hassle!
PORTABLE TRAVEL CRIB
If you’re on the beach, it can be extremely hard to escape the sun. This can be dangerous for your baby. So, bring along this portable travel crib so your child can stay safe, healthy and happy!
Bring this SnoozeShade which you can attach to your buggie in 8 seconds! This will give your baby a nice, cool sleep while you find that perfect holiday gift for the mother! A fridge magnet may not cut it this year…