‘Enjoy the journey not just the destination’ is an inspiring life metaphor that helps us remember that its what we enjoy along the way that counts. However, when it comes to the physical act of travelling, especially with kids, this can be far from true.
Every family looks forward to holidays and even more so if it means your little ones get to experience flying! Flying with kids is a daunting prospect but speak to any well-travelled Mum and they will be able to give you a quick-fire list of hacks to make your life easier and your families journey more pleasant.
-Image Source: Instagram @mumwithwings
Even for parents who have travelled frequently before children, it can be a whole new ball game once you take you first trip with your child. To mellow out this learning curve we spoke Mum of 2 Jade who know plenty about flying with children. Aside from having taken her own kids on countless flights, Jade is cabin crew for Qantas so has really seen it all. We caught up with this Mum With Wings to get her top 10 tips to do before flying with kids:
“The key is to think ahead and be prepared, you know best the needs of your children. There is only so much the crew can do once in the air. What you do before the flight is the game changer.
Here are my top 10 tips of things to do before you travel with children – from my family to yours:”
- CHILD’S PASSPORT AND VISAS: Organise your child’s passport and visas (if required) well in advance, i.e. months. Most governments are very particular and strict with their specifications, including on photos. For Australian readers, I recommend a professional photographer or camera shop over Australia Post Office’s. In short, the cost of using professionals is often less than having to re-submit applications.
- FIRST AID KIT: I always stock up pre-travel on trusted first aid products like children’s pain and fever relief (e.g. Panodol & Nuerofen), anti-histamine (e.g. Clarintyne), antiseptic & anesthetic cream (e.g. Savlon) hydration supplements (e.g. Hydralite) and plasters & bandages. Hand Sanitizer is something I always travel with. There are chemists at most airports, but I suggest you stock up well in advance of your trip.
- SEATING REQUESTS: For those with infants, request a baby bassinet if they meet the specifications. For those with young children, I recommend an aisle seat in close proximity to a toilet with baby change facilities. You can request seats from booking your ticket and potentially as late as the boarding gate, but not once in the air.
- FOOD ON BOARD: If you would like a child’s meal you need to order this in advance of travel and confirm at check-in, as all catering is done on the ground. Once in the air, the flight attendants will do all they can to improvise for any non pre-ordered requests, but you will need to manage your expectations. I recommend packing snacks that you know your child will like, e.g. infant food packages, for the airport and during the flight, as it can be a long time between services once on board.
- CARPARKING: Think about where you will park your car. There are a lot of specials around at the moment and I advise shopping around and checking out reviews.
- LAGS: Liquid and Gel regulations are something that parent’s travelling with infants are exempt from, as long as the amounts are proportionate to the duration of the flight, with a little extra in case of delays. I strongly recommend reading up about these regulations for those airports you will be visiting to avoid any undue worries when passing through security checks. You can find everything you need here https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about-us/what-we-do/travelsecure/travellers-with-specific-needs
- ENTERTAINMENT: We are very lucky that these days we have access to iPads/ tablets, but remember to charge and load it up before you travel with your children’s favourite shows, games and books. I still pack activities like stickers and colouring books, which are handy when electronic devices cannot be used during the flight, e.g. taxiing.
- PREP YOUR CHILDREN: Explain to your children what is about to happen and the processes at the airport. I find when children know what is about to happen they will be relaxed and not afraid of any checks.
- HYDRATE and REST: If children are hydrated and well rested before travel they will be more comfortable once in the air.
- CABIN BAGGAGE: Think about packing well in advance, especially cabin baggage. One tip I always recommend is preparing some freezer bags with nappies and wipes to keep in the seat pocket and a wrap. This means every time your child needs changing you don’t need to get your bag down from the overhead locker.
“Travelling with your family is an amazing thing to do and I want everyone to experience it. If you do these 10 things I mentioned before flying with children you will be prepared and organised for a great flight with your family. Safe travels.”
About the Author:
Jade is the Mum With Wings. A mother of 2 from Mornington Peninsula, Victoria who has been an international flight attendant for over ** years. Even outside of work this busy Mum loves to travel and when she had children that passion did not get pushed aside. Now Jade shares her own experiences as a travelling mother in an effort to inspire and help other families to get out there and travel as much as she does. Find out more: http://www.mumwithwings.com.au/