Escaping for the half-term holidays is a valuable break for parents and kids; but no one looks forward to that long flight standing in the way. Here are some tips to make the journey easier for everyone.
- Be prepared
Preparation is everything. Pack your hand luggage so you have everything you might need to hand throughout the flight, whether that’s food, drinks, toys or technology. The last thing you want is having to spend time rummaging through the overhead lockers, trying to find something whilst your child gets more and more impatient. Specially designed travelling bags with lots of compartments will make your life easier.
- Bring drinks for take-off and landing
Babies’ ears will suffer less during take-off and landing if they are drinking, whether that’s breastfeeding or by bottle. Older kids can try sucking sweets or chewing dried fruit to alleviate any discomfort.
- Pack headphones
You might be used to the sound of your child’s games or TV shows, but your fellow passengers aren’t likely to thank you for it. Make sure you have child-friendly headphones so your kids’ distractions aren’t irritating your neighbours.
- Avoid sugar
Although sugary snacks may seem like good bribes, you won’t think yourself so smart when your kids are bouncing around on the ensuing sugar rush. Try to keep them satisfied with savoury snacks or fruit, or at least try to hold off on the sweets until you near the end of the flight.
- Keep the seat belts on
This tip is for safety and for your own sanity. If your youngsters have just managed to fall asleep, you want to avoid waking them up when the seatbelt light comes on. Try and keep them fastened in – even if it’s just loosely – so they don’t need to wake up unnecessarily.
- Have a plan B
If that magazine you packed lasts just a couple of minutes before being thrown on the floor, make sure you have something else ready to go. This does mean you’ll have to have plenty of options in your Mary Poppins bag, but fortunately long-haul flights have a good selection of child-friendly TV shows and films; which should fill in the gaps.
- Be tech-savvy
Even if you’re the type of parent who hates to distract kids with phones and tablets, a long flight is the one time you should deviate from this rule. If you’re on a flight without TVs or the entertainment system is down, a tablet with pre-downloaded films is the ideal solution. Games apps are also great for passing the time.
- Collect ideas
Fellow parents are the best sources of advice for long flights, so ask your friends on the school run or at nursery what works for them. Many find sticker books to be perfect for flights and others swear by drawing tablets, with an attached stylus, as a solution to pencils and crayons being continuously dropped on the floor.
With these few helpful tips, hopefully your long-haul flight will run as smooth as possible; giving you the perfect start to the half term break.