My name is Vicky and I blog at www.misstillyandme.co.uk with my 8-year-old daughter. She is an avid traveller and has become such a little expert at it, even though she is at such a young age. You can follow our travel stories on our family blog or on www.tillystravellingtelegram.co.uk. Today we are lucky to be guest posting on this blog and we wanted to share some tips on travelling on an aeroplane with kids. You can also find us on Instagram and Facebook
Always pre-book plane seats
Although this is an extra cost to the price of your holiday, it’s a way that most airlines balance out the cost of cheap airfares. Just because you might be travelling with your kids, it doesn’t entitle you to sit together if you haven’t pre-booked seats together. Nobody is going to pay between £5 and £25 for a pre-booked seat and move because you expect to sit together with your kids on the day of your flight. It’s not the way that most flights work these days. Some flights insist on you booking seats if you are travelling with kids under the age of 12. We have to book seats when we travel by Ryan Air. It costs £6 for both of us to it together and it is money well spent.
Think about which seats to book
If your child is in and out of the toilet a lot, like most kids then book a seat near the toilets. There is nothing worse than having to go up and down the aisle struggling between people coming at you and having to nip in between seats to let them pass you by. Then there is the food/duty-free/drink trolley – if your kid needs a wee and the trolley is in the way, then that’s an accident waiting to happen. Also, another tip to get a little bit of extra space if you have a really active child, then book the aisle seat and the window seat. If the plane isn’t that busy, you will find that nobody will book that middle seat. I have never had the nerve to do this because knowing my luck someone will sit in the middle seat, but it’s a travel hack that’s worth remembering. Also, many budget airlines load the plane from the back as well as the front of the plane, so we always book the back seat and we are first off the plane.
This could be your lifesaver if you are on a really long flight! My daughter has a kindle that we ensure is fully charged up before we fly (you can usually charge your phones and tablets whilst you wait for your plane). Take earphones for them or headphones because there is nothing worse than sitting near a kid watching something on their tablet when you want to sleep. Taking tech keeps them occupied so you can sleep too if you get the chance. Many planes also have WiFi these days so they can get online and play their games etc.
Although we don’t want to fill our kids with sweets on a flight, especially if they are prone to travel sickness. But sucking a sweet helps when you are taking off and climbing just after take off. The air pressure affects your ears and can be painful for the little ones. They suddenly can’t hear properly and it is a strange experience for them but sucking a sweet helps them. Also, do this when you feel yourself starting to land because again the difference in air pressure is painful for their ears. It doesn’t have to be a boiled sweet, sometimes we have jelly sweets to suck and other times lollipops. The kids think its a treat. Obviously, don’t fill them with sweets for the whole flight. If they don’t want sweets, get them to have a drink and the swallowing effect works in the same way. If you’re travelling with infants, give them a baby bottle.
Painkillers/ travel sickness tablets
The first time I ever travelled with my little girl, her ears popped and it caused her to cry with painful ears and I didn’t have any Calpol with me. Now I always carry it in the actual hand luggage that goes under the seat in front of me. Travel sickness tablets normally need to be taken about 6 hours before a flight but if you’re on a long flight, you might need to give some more on the plane.
Have a carrier bag handy.
This is great if your child suddenly feels travel sick, have you seen the size of the travel sickness bags that they give you on the plane? A carrier bag is so much bigger and stronger for sick kids, a carrier bag is also handy for popping your rubbish in that you accumulate on the plane.
Don’t bother with loads of toys
Your child is likely to sleep on the plane and if you take loads of toys, you will be picking them up all of the time because they fall off the tray and roll under the seat. It really is more hassle than its worth. Tilly takes one toy, either a stuffed toy or a doll and her kindle. That’s it. She doesn’t even take colouring in stuff because she never bothers with it on the plane. You don’t want to be carrying stuff that you don’t need.
Take snacks and drinks with you.
I always try and carry stuff like this in my hand luggage because the snack trolley might only go up and down the plane once. So you might as well grab some snacks and drinks at the airport or you could even buy snacks at the supermarket before you leave for your trip. Recently I paid £3 for a bottle of water on a flight so buying things on the plane can be extremely expensive too.
Have you got any tips for flying with children?