For most moms, the thought of flying with kids makes their hairs stand on end. Especially those with kids under the age of five. I mean they can barely keep still or stay in one room for longer than ten minutes, can you imagine what it’s like on a tightly packed airplane where your child is constricted to sitting on a small seat for hours on end?
I would know. I took Noah to London when he was a little shy of a year and boy did I pay for all my sins! Despite my doctor giving me a little something to knock him out for the flight, he was as bouncy as ping pong ball from the second we took off. And as privileged as we were to fly across the ocean to visit my brother and his family who were living there at the time, I made a silent pact with myself that I would never, under no circumstances, put myself (Or any other passengers!) through that again. My mom who was travelling with us at the time, proved to be a big support in the situation and quite honestly I’m not sure what I would have done without her.
But it would seem I’m about to break that pact because we have just begun planning our first overseas family holiday! We haven’t decided 100% on a destination as yet – I’m guessing we will go with something close like Mauritius – But even then, I’ve realised how important it’s going to be to plan for our flights. If I was panicking with one child, I fear I may just lose my mind with three. Three small children who need to be fed, entertained and settled for naps. Oh and taken to the toilet a kazillion times.
But then again I think with some good planning and with the help of companies like Travelstart, I may actually be pleasantly surprised that planning a trip with kids doesn’t need to be a soul destroying experience. With the right tools, planning and research, it may be possible to ensure our experience, from booking flights to take-off and landing, is smooth and as turbulence-free (Both from tantrums and air pressure) as possible.
This article from Travelstart gives me faith that all hope is not lost with our future travel plans. (Check out their cute infographic at the end of the post too!)
I would imagine, it would involve some of the same planning that goes into a long road trip : Parents need to think smart. The above articles highlights some amazing points which, have helped me change my mindset and adapt a better approach to planning our flights, no matter where we decode to go!
Here’s what I’ve learnt will stand us good stead:
- Find amazing Apps on your iPad (Ones that can be downloaded ahead of time) that are educational and fun.
- Get some interesting snacks that take a while to eat and aren’t sticky or in any type of liquid form. It might be a good idea to avoid sugary stuff if your kid is sensitive to what refer to as the Devil’s Poison. Snacks we love to give our kids : popcorn, pretzels, oatees (less sugar than other sweets and they are fun to eat), chocolate covered pretzel sticks, cut up fruit, Pringles crisps (I love these for travelling because they have an easy lid to seal up and come back to later), sugar free lollipops (these are great for take-off and landing to allow their ears to equalise with cabin pressure), peanuts and raisins and biltong. If your kids are anything like mine, as long as their mouths are busy and their tummies are full, they have very little to complain about.
- Find some easy board games and card games, but be careful of games with too many small parts that will be hard to find when they fall on the floor. Because they will fall on the floor.
- Remember to tell your kids to respect the other people in the cabin and use their quiet voices.
- Always keep wet wipes on hand and have them easily accessible in your front holder. Lets face it, kids are messy human beings and you are not going to want to get up to go to the toilet every five minutes.
- Get your older kids to carry their own hand luggage with all their own necessities for the flight. This should probably include : their snacks and water bottle, a change of clothing, a pack of wet wipes and one or two games. Card games are always a winner for older kids and colouring in/activity books are great for the smaller ones.
- Don’t be sacred to ask the air hostess for assistance or ring the bell. I know I don’t like putting people out but I’m pretty certain they really mean it when they say ” Don’t hesitate to let us know if you need anything!”.
- Keep a sense of humour – As hard as it is, try to grin and bare it and keep the mood light. The more the kids pick up on your frustration the moodier and restless they will become. Remind them, even if it’s a million times, that reaching their destination will make it all worth it!!
There’s this amazing video where partents are asked from their own personal experience what have worked form them. I found it so helpful!
Maybe if you don’t live in Cape Town and are reading this post, you are looking at cheap flights to enjoy a little time away in the beautiful Mother City. Why not see these cheap flights to Cape Town! Better yet, if you live in Jozi and are planning a visit, check out cheap flights from Johannesburg to Cape.
So I guess all that’s left for us to do is think where we feel like going?!!! Ha, I don’t feel like a brat at all! A beach holiday is definitely on the cards and we are pretty sure it’s going to be Mauritius. But maybe you have visited a coastal resort somewhere with kids and have a few other suggestions? PLEASE share below so we can look into it. I have a feeling there’s the perfect option out there for us that we just haven’t considered yet!
Please don’t be like my husband and suggest we leave the kids behind. Because after reading these helpful tips, my mind is firmly made up, and I’m feeling a whole lot better about it thanks to Travelstart.
*This article was written in collaboration with Travelstart. Travel made simple!