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Family Travel Tips: Surviving a long-haul flight with children

by Alice Bayly

Product Director, Melissa and her two kids take off…

Travelling with children on a flight can be a bit of an adventure (to put it mildly) for the ill-prepared. At Experience Travel Group, we know a thing or two about travelling long-haul with children in tow. We’ve been there, done that and have some handy tips up our sleeve for other adventurous families. 

1. Take some snacks in case the in flight meal takes an age to arrive or is rejected by your children when it does… On night flights the breakfast is often served a few hours before landing, when children (and sometimes parents) are fast asleep. If this is the case it can be helpful to have some snacks and a drink ready for when they do wake up.

2. At airports abroad it can be worth checking whether there are more or less facilities, shops etc on the airside. Otherwise you can find yourself with hours to go before your flight, and nothing but a waiting room to entertain you because you’ve left all the shops behind…

3. A pack of cards (or other easily portable games like Uno and Dobble for younger children) can be useful to fill waiting time in airports, ditto paper and colouring pencils.

4. If you intend to take drinks onto the plane make sure you buy them after the security check as there is still a 100ml limit on the liquids you take through.

5. Be immune to the vagaries of in-flight entertainment: loud music, games, catch up TV and audio books onto the ipod/ipad, not forgetting the headphones. Noise cancelling ones can double as earplugs when it’s time to sleep…. Make sure all gadgets are fully charged and you take the charger with you so you can use them again on the return flight! A headphone splitter is also good investment so two children can share one device.

6. Stick a label with your name and mobile number on every item of value that you might accidentally leave on a plane or in the airport. That way you can prove it’s yours if it’s lucky enough to make it to lost property. Better still, before you disembark double check under the children’s seats, the seatback pocket, between the seats, under the seat in front – that way you might not leave your ipod behind (I speak from bitter experience…)

7. Take a variety of clothes on board: the temperature on aeroplanes can be unpredictable. For night flights onesies come into their own as comfy pjs for kids. Children can find it more difficult to cope with sudden changes of climate, especially when they are tired and fractious, so it’s also nice to have something cool and clean to change into before you disembark (or indeed something warm to put on when you land at Heathrow!)

Find out more about family holidays to Asia here.

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