By Jeremy Rochow
Published: Saturday, August 5, 2023
Travelling can be a fun and exciting time, but occasionally there are stressful moments.
For parents, these challenging situations can be further magnified. Combine a delayed or cancelled flight with tears, tantrums and tired toddlers, and parents might be wondering why they’re going on holiday in the first place.
But have no fear. These five travel tips for the journey to your destination will make for a much smoother ride.
1. Keep them entertained
On long-haul flights, you’ll want to keep your young ones entertained, so they don’t get bored and start asking you “are we there yet?” every five minutes. Sure, you can stick a tablet in front of them, but what about when they run out of Bluey episodes to watch, or the battery goes flat? You’ll need to bring other activities as well.
When deciding on travel activities for the plane, think about the following features.
- Can it be used independently? If you constantly have to interact or operate the toy, it’s going to wear thin. Think of activities for the kids that’ll give you a bit of a break.
- Is the toy loud? Is the toy going to interrupt nearby passengers? Maybe leave it at home if it’s loud and annoying.
- How compact and light is the toy? Toys which can easily be folded away are better in a tight space and means you won’t be carrying around too much heavy luggage.
- Will the toy make a mess? Leave that goo or slime at home. Instead, look for mess-free crayon mats.
2. Keep them fed
Snacks for the flight will keep your children happy and satisfied. If you’re on a full-service flight, they’ll offer meals for children, but on a no-frills airline, you’re on your own. Make sure you pack plenty of snacks for the kids so they don’t go hungry. Don’t just bring lollies and chips though. Pack wholesome snacks like muesli bars, homemade muffins, trail mix and rice cakes.
3. Burn off some energy
Do you have a stopover? Let the kids stretch their legs and enjoy some freedom if you have time.
While some airports consist of no more than a couple of shops and some seats, others can be a cornucopia of fun.
Singapore’s Changi Airport has everything from a giant slide and playground to a butterfly garden and an indoor recreational park. It doesn’t matter whether your stopover is a couple of hours or an entire day, you won’t be bored here.
Heading to Europe and stopping at Hamad International Airport in Doha, there are five play areas that include climbing frames, mini rides, televisions and computers.
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4. Pack a travel stroller
Have you ever seen parents handing their large, awkward prams to baggage handlers at the departure gate? The baggage handler will then lug the pram down the stairs and put it in the luggage hold. Then, when the flight lands the parents wait patiently at the gate for it to be returned.
This whole process can now be avoided, with several stroller companies producing lightweight prams that can fold into a backpack and even be taken on the flight as carry-on. A quick Google search for ‘Travel strollers backpacks’ will return several well-known brands that produce the pram.
5. Comfortable kiddies
At times, planes can be cramped, a tad smelly, and uncomfortable. To keep your little flyer happy, you’ll want to make sure they’re comfy and relaxed.
That’s where the ride-on, carry-on, sleep-on suitcase comes in. There are several brands to choose from, but these suitcases are much more than a place to pack your children’s toys. In the airport, they have a little seat that the kids can sit on and wheels to help you tow them. But it’s on the plane where this invention steals the show.
Depending on the type of suitcase, they fold out or inflate to turn the plane seat into a small bed for the children, allowing them to stretch their legs. Who said you need business or first class to be comfortable?
Note, some airlines have restrictions on using the suitcases. Qantas and Jetstar have banned them altogether, while Singapore Airlines will only allow one per row. It’s best to check with the airline you’re flying with before you leave.