Cheers Sippin Gypsy Travelers! This post comes to you from my friend Kayla of Our Start with some great tips for helping you prepare for flying with kids. As a mom and lover of travel, I really appreciated her suggestions, and have used several myself when traveling with my boys! Enjoy!
How to Survive an International Flight with Kids
Travel has so many benefits. Traveling exposes people to new cultures and new ways of seeing the world. Kids benefit from travel just as much if not more than adults. While traveling is fun and exciting, getting there requires a lot of steps. Flying is efficient and quick. At the same time, international flights with kids pose certain challenges. An international flight may take hours or even days to complete if there's a long layover. Parents need to think about ways they can help their kids relax and even enjoy long international flights with their children. There are many ways to help kids cope with the stress of leaving home and heading to another country. Careful, detailed advanced preparation along with an understanding of each child's precise needs is the best way to have a happy family trip from the very first moment it begins.
Ready and Rested
All kids need sleep. In fact, they need more sleep than adults. Teens also tend to have a clock that makes them stay up later at night and makes it harder for them to get up in the morning. Several days before the flight, push kids to get to bed earlier. Having enough sleep is one of the best ways for kids to feel at their best before boarding, during the flight and afterwards. Sleep also enables kids to communicate better with parents and reduces their feelings of being out of sorts.
While luggage restrictions make it hard to bring what children want when they're traveling by plane, it's possible to be thoughtful and work with such restrictions to help kids items they want with them as they travel internationally. Kids can participate in the act of packing. Let them do the investigating before boarding. Many airlines have a detailed list of what is allowed and what is not. Let the child do much of the packing of their own bags so they'll like what they have with them as they travel.
Interest Kids in the Route
International travel by air is incredibly exciting. During the course of the route, travelers can cross many bodies of water and many different countries. Kids should take the time to learn about where they're going. Kids can explore the exact route they're going to take in great detail. For example, if they are flying over parts of Europe, before the trip is the time to study the cultures of places like France and The Netherlands. Parents can encourage kids to study the history, culture and languages of each place and then point it out as they travel.
Flights between borders can take a lot of time. Now is the time to encourage kids to find clothing that lets them sit comfortably and move about freely. Little kids should have clothing that a parent can take off with ease if it gets dirty. Layers such as a jacket and a short sleeved shirt allow the child to respond to changes in temperatures as they leave and the flight continues. Older kids should be encouraged to look for fabrics like cotton that breathe and allow them to remove any stains fast.
Parents should remember that even international flights may not always much to eat or may offer food that kids find unpalatable. Provide kids with a small treat budget of their own. Spending time in an airport before the plane leaves typically means spending time in an area with lots of eating choices. Many airports have dozens of food choices from simple snacks to complete meals. Give kids the option of spending a small sum of money on food they like to eat.
Take Turns Parenting
In the course of leaving for a trip, boarding a plane and staying in the air, parent may be with their kids for hours at a time. Parents should set aside a designed time for each parent to supervise their kids and pay attention to their needs. The other parent can be the person who handles other details at this time such as interacting with airline officials, checking in baggage and staying on top of all necessary arrangements at their intended destination. One parent will make sure each child is adjusting to the plane ride and be there to answer any questions the child might have. This allows each parent some adult time during the flight and time to deal with their own personal needs.
Corresponding With Friends
Today's kids are more in touch with their friends than ever before. Many have updated social media accounts they use to share their experiences with the world. An international trip offers a way for kids to talk about their lives with their friends. Encourage kids to keep a flight journal they can share with friends. Let them share their excitement with their peer group. Many kids also have friends who live overseas. Kids should be reminded of the possibility of finally meeting with a friend for the first time. A long flight is easier to endure when they know someone's waiting for them at the other end.
Kayla Clough is the email specialist here at OurStart. Kayla is a recent graduate of Eastern University in PA where she majored in Marketing and Human Resources. Kayla loves all things fashion, her golden retriever Max, and coffee. When she is not working, you can find her binge watching Sex in the City and baking her latest find on Pinterest.
Lover of travel to charming places dusted with unique flavor. Join me as I explore the world sip by sip. Cheers!