(photo: John McArthur, Unsplash)

'Tis the season for family gatherings, gift-giving, and of course, traveling. As the holidays quickly approach, many of us are in the process of finalizing our travel plans. For many, this means making plans to travel long distance with children...young children. If this sounds like you, do not fret. There are a couple of hacks you can take with you on this trip to make the process go as smoothly as possible. Here are some tips for surviving long-haul flights with your children.

Arrange Flight Times Around Your Children's Bedtime.

Try to get a flight around the time your children would typically be in bed asleep at home. It may help them to sleep a good portion of the flight. Of course, excitement is always a factor, but with a bit of soothing music streaming from a pair of comfy headphones, they can sleep in no time. This will work even better if you can plan your arrival time around their sleep schedule as well.

Look For Flights With Layovers.

Sometimes the kiddos just need to stretch out and run off some energy. Those long flights can be quite a challenge for fidgety little ones. If at all possible, include a layover or two in your travel plans so the kids can move around a bit. This is also helpful so children can take potty breaks before boarding the plane.

Stay Hydrated, But Don't Over Do It.

Speaking of potty breaks, try to avoid letting the kids drink a lot during the trip. It can be rather annoying to have to get up over and over again to make your way to the toilet.

Have Letters/Cards to Hand Out to Passengers.

If you have a child who is usually on the cranky side, come prepared. When their crying and whining starts to get to other passengers, you can make the situation a little less frustrating. Have cute little apology cards and a treat, ready to hand out to passengers who, at this point, might be growing cranky themselves.

 (Hanson Lu, Unsplash)

Dress Comfortably.

It is a good idea for the entire family to dress in comfy clothes that they can stretch and move around in. It is also helpful to have something you feel comfortable sleeping in. 

Bring Along Individual Care Packs.

Make sure everyone has their own little backpack filled with necessities, a few toys, and entertaining gadgets like a tablet, coloring book, and crayons. Don't forget to include the snacks and a change of clothes! If you are traveling with an infant, make sure their diaper bag is packed with all the essentials and meet TSA regulations.

Check In Early!

It is highly likely that you will want to sit next to your child during your flight. However, this isn't a guarantee when you purchase your tickets. Your best bet is to check-in as early as possible to request seats that are together since you are flying with children. 

Carry a Sleep Pack.

Have an eye mask, blanket, pillow, and maybe even a stuffed animal ready to go for when it is time to nap. The more comfortable everyone is, the more likely they will be to actually sleep. 

The Handy Dandy Tablet.

Tablets and other travel-sized electronic devices are a total lifesaver when it comes to traveling with children. Kids can stay busy for quite a while playing games and watching videos on the tablet. With so many fun apps to choose from, there is hours worth of entertainment available to children during the trip.

(Suhyeon Choi, Unsplash)

Snacks, Snacks, and More Snacks!

You can't forget the snacks! Perhaps the quickest way to calm an upset child is with a tasty snack. Besides, we're all about keeping everyone comfortable during the flight. Your child will have no problem waiting for their next meal if they have something to munch on in the meantime.

Role Play.

Spice up the plane ride with a bit of role-playing. Let your child pretend to be the pilot, you can be the airplane police, and someone can be the snake on the plane. Whatever you choose, just have fun with it. This is an awesome way to kill some time and make the flight more enjoyable. 

Storytime.

Take turns telling stories. You can get as creative as you like with storytime. If you prefer, you can even read from your favorite storybook. This is an especially great idea if your child is used to getting a story at bedtime. This helps them to stay with the routine.

 (Rawpixel, Unsplash)

Have a Drawing Contest.

Try out the 3 Marker Challenge, Draw portraits of family members, or recreate the image of your current setting.

Have Fun!

Most importantly, try to make the flight fun! As the saying goes, "Time flies when you're having fun."

It is indeed possible to survive a long-haul flight with your children. Using these tips, you can make your upcoming travels more enjoyable, and stress-free for the entire family.

Author: Briana Marie
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