Friday, 20 October 2017

10 + things to pack for a long haul flight with children

Flying long haul with young children? It's not something that many people relish. As survivors of several long flights with little ones, I thought I'd share some things to pack that make the whole experience that bit easier. This list is intended for those with children that are past the nappies and bottles stage, but not yet able to occupy themselves independently for a whole flight.

Ten plus things to pack for a long haul flight with small children

A rucksack. We've experimented with numerous carrying options, and have had most success with a small zip up rucksack for each child. They fit easily under the seat in front allowing easy access, and a child can carry it safely around the airport.

Teddy or comforter. Far too valuable to be placed in the hold luggage, and very useful if you are hoping that your child will sleep on the plane.

Sleepwear and a spare top. I always pack sleepwear for the children in hand luggage. It means that if we arrive at night time, whether planned or unplanned, I can get the children ready for bed straightaway without having to hunt through suitcases. A spare top is always useful for any accidents, or if your luggage goes astray.

A water bottle. We take empty bottles that we can fill up once we have passed security. Just be careful when you open them for the first time on the plane as sometimes the pressure build up can cause them to leak.

Plenty of snacks. Ideal snacks don't take up much space, won't melt, are durable, won't leak, don't mind being squashed, and are filling. I like to take chewy bars, breadsticks, raisins, Cheerios and so on, and I also make up their usual packed lunch with sandwiches and so on that they can eat along with their first meal (ours are never keen on the airline food). Lollipops are also good, and children can suck on them during take off and landing if they are having trouble with their ears.

Tablets and headphones. On an long haul flight you'll likely have some kind of in-flight entertainment, and it's worth first steering children towards that, so that you can save your batteries. But it's also good to have something on hand that you know will entertain your children, so load it up with some of their favourite films and television programmes.

A notepad and pens. I'm a bit wary of taking too many pens and pencils on a plane, as they inevitably end up dropped on the floor and are difficult to retrieve. But plenty of plain paper is a must - you can encourage the children to write a holiday diary, or else there are lots of pen and paper games that you can play together. You can also add a few colouring or activity books, I have a selection that only come out for holidays. I'll also sometimes treat the children to a magazine of their choice at the airport, bonus if you can find one with a free toy!

Card games. We have a few favourite card games that we take away with us, Dobble and Top Trumps are excellent, or else just a simple pack of playing cards. These are better for older children that have the dexterity to keep hold of the cards without spilling them everywhere.

A travel pillow or cushion. Airlines will often provide these, along with a blanket, but they aren't always very comfortable. For our latest trip we've bought some neck pillows for the children that will support their heads and keep them snug.

Baby wipes and tissues. It's much easier to mop up your own spillages than to have to wait for a busy crew member to bring you some napkins! You probably won't need to cart about a whole pack of baby wipes, but it's handy to decant a few into a plastic bag just in case.

Plastic carrier bags. Always useful, for collecting rubbish, storing dirty clothes, or just corralling things together if you run out of space.

Books. When children are on to chapter books you can save a lot of space, as one book will entertain them for longer than a toddler's picture book. They are also good for waiting around at the airport for a short period, when you don't want to be unloading tablets and headphones.

What else would you pack? Add your suggestions into the comments below!

Image credit Beasty via Unsplash.

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