Holiday season is nearly upon us so I’ve put together a few tips for anyone travelling with kids on short haul flights. Some might be fairly obvious and some might be useful!
Likewise, if you have any tips to add leave them in the comments section below…
** Be prepared the day before you go. Cases fully packed and ready to load into the car. Try and get the kids to have their things ready too. Nothing like looking for a favourite toy as you’re running out the door.
** Get the kids to carry their own hand luggage if they’re old enough. A small backpack is fine. If whatever they want to bring doesn’t fit, it ain’t coming! Also, ensure you double check what they’ve packed. You don’t want any surprises going through security!
** Pack each child a picnic in their hand luggage for while you’re travelling. You’ll save a fortune. Airport and airplane food is horrendously expensive and usually not very good. Each of mine get a sandwich, crisps, fruit and a treat. We buy water once we’ve gone through to departures (€1 a bottle in Dublin airport which you just pop in an honesty box).
** Make sure any gadgets are fully charged before leaving the house, for a number of reasons. (1) You don’t need drama at 12,000 feet when an iPad dies and (2) You’re not allowed to bring ‘dead’ electronics through security…. who knew?? Don’t forget to pack the chargers too!!!
I packed a quadruple adapter in my checked luggage along with one foreign adapter plug, and we had a central charging point in our apartment rather than having things plugged in everywhere. Bearing in mind we had 3 phones and 2 other devices with us, it proved very handy.
** Have all the passports together and opened to the photo page to speed things up as you pass through the airport. Nothing as bad as fumbling for paperwork at a security desk.
** Look out for the family assistance lane when heading for departures. They do exactly what they say on the tin! However, you’re still subject to the emptying of pockets, removal of belts etc., so have this done before approaching security. It just speeds things up!
** Be aware that even children can be subject to random swab testing of hands. It’s no big deal and our little man was actually delighted to be stopped on our way out and again on our way home!
** Pre-book your seats on the plane if possible. It removes the stress of trying to battle for seats together onboard. We opted for 3 and 2 across the same row and were lucky that the 3rd seat on one side remained empty for the flight. An extra bit of space in cramped conditions is always a good thing!!
Parents should always opt for the aisle seats as it’s handy for getting in and out for the inevitable toilet runs and retrieval of stuff from overhead bins.
** Make sure you travel in warm clothes. Trackies with t-shirts, hoodies and trainers are perfect for kids. You can always stick a pair of shorts in their hand luggage for when you arrive. Get them to travel home in the same gear, planes can be cold and Dublin will be baltic!
** Have some lollipops or hard boiled sweets to hand (in your pocket, they’re no good in the overhead bin!) for take off and landing. Kids can often suffer from ear/face pain and these can help. A bottle for a baby will do the same trick!
** Try and remain calm yourself during take off and landing. Kids sense if you’re nervous, which I tend to be.
** Treat yourself to a G&T during the flight. There’s something very decadent about having a drinkie in the air! Go easy though, alcohol goes straight to the head at altitude!!
** On arrival, take your time disembarking especially if you have checked luggage. You’ll be hanging around at the luggage carousel anyway so no need to beat your way off the plane!
** Remember it’s your holiday too and try to devise strategies for some time out! I used to grab an hour or 2 to myself in the morning to sit on a lounger by the pool with my books while DH sorted the kids brekkies, togs and sun cream. (Result!! I HATE doing the sun cream!!) When they arrived to the pool DH would go for his run in the sun and I’d take over with the kids.
We also discovered that a siesta did our smallest lady the world of good. She slept in the afternoon and we reaped the benefits by being able to stay out a bit later in the evenings.
** Kids will always make friends no matter where they go. Don’t be afraid to chat to people. Most parents are only delighted to chat to other grown-ups by the pool, in restaurants, wherever! Amazing the info you can find out from other families. Where to eat, places to go, places to avoid and so on.
** And finally…. enjoy your holiday, make memories and don’t be afraid to wear a bikini!! Trust me, no one’s looking!