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Five tips for making family flying easier

The family holiday is that one time of the year when all of you can head off to some distant, exotic place and marvel at its beauty. You could be experiencing a wonderful attraction or famous landmark for the first time together, before heading back to your gorgeous hotel to relax and fill your tummies. But, in order to get to this foreign destination, you have to get through the airport and onto the plane, something a lot of families dread.

But help is at hand! Have a read through our tips and tricks and see how you can make flying with your family easier:

Prep, prep and more prep!

It’s a logical thing to do, but being prepared for the airport and airplane is essential. It means that when you get there, there are going to be less things you have to worry about on the day. This can start from when you first book the flights. Make sure you have everything catered to you ready for when you arrive. Travelling with a baby? Make sure you can have a carrycot or child seat ready for when you board the plane. Worried you won’t be able to fit the buggy into your luggage allowance? Check with your airline what special baggage options they have for families. 

Don’t forget you can also print your boarding passes before you fly with most airlines. This could be the difference between you making your flight and missing it, or it could give you that little bit extra time to be able to get through the airport calmly without having to rush. Maybe get a small folder or wallet to hold all of your travel documents in one place so you don’t have to keep searching through all your bags and pockets when you arrive at the airport.

Small distractions

This might be the first flight your family have made together, and there’s no way of knowing if your child is going to be a nervous flyer. They may take to it like a duck to water, or they may end up crying the entire journey. You should make a plan in case your child ends up with the latter of those reactions. One quick and easy option is to bring along some electronic items for them to play with while you’re flying, for example an iPad or a Nintendo DS. 

If they’re a bit young to be playing with those, or you want to give the electronics a break this holiday and consider some fun alternatives. Marvel at the distractive powers of a colouring book, or a pack of cards for the older kids. But, if you really want to distract them without running the risk of them throwing around the crayons, bring them some interactive books. Where’s Wally or puzzle books are a great swap with minimal extras needed. 

An early visit from Santa

This one will probably be your child’s favourite option! Just before you go on holiday, get them to choose one (or more) new toys. Then don’t let them play with them…

...don’t worry, it’s not that cruel!

Wait until you are at the airport to give them to your child. They’ll then have the fun of unwrapping it at the airport, and playing with it on the plane. A slightly more expensive distraction technique, but one that is sure not to fail!

Preparing your child for the airport

If it’s your child’s first trip to the airport, remember they can be big, scary, noisy places, and some children can find it a very overwhelming experience. This means there could be a lot of crying, screaming, and standing in the same spot refusing to move, which could mean you miss your flight!

About a week before your trip, sit down with your children and explain what the airport is, and what it will be like. They will feel much better knowing what they are heading into and won’t freeze up. Have young children? Why not role play going through the airport, so that when they get there, they aren’t asking tons of questions like “why do I need to take my shoes off” and “what’s the archway that beeps?”

The best travel times

The last thing you want on a plane is your child being hyper and not able to run around. It’s not only hard to watch, but it can be very disruptive to other passengers if your child is shouting because they’ve got a lot of energy and nowhere to go with it. Try picking times that you know they won’t be so hyper, like the early morning. Hopefully it will be a time where they can easily get back to sleep once they’ve settled in; early morning, late at night or when they usually have a nap at home. 

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