Travelling with the kids this Festive Season? Take the stress out of it by following this advice

9 December 2011

My son is 17 and long past the age of being a trying traveller as little children often can be. Any parent knows that travelling with children can be extremely stressful. Many a frazzled parent has sworn never to repeat the experience and the looks you get from other travellers are enough to make you want to leave via the nearest exit.

But preparation is the key and here are some of my tips to help you -and your kids- survive.

  • Passport and visa requirements. Check with your Flight Centre consultant on your child’s passport and visa requirements
  • Frequent Flyer programmes. Enroll your child if possible – all those miles add up.
  • Airline special assistance. Check if your airline offers assistance to passengers travelling with children.
  • Seating and luggage. Check if your toddler’s stroller is allowed as carry-on luggage, and request a bulkhead seat where possible as this will give you more legroom.
  • Bassinets. If you have an infant, check if the airline provides bassinets. These are sometimes available on a first come first serve basis so don’t leave it until check-in.
  • Reassure your child that travelling is fun. Talk to them about exactly what’s going to happen in the days leading up to the flight. Make it sound like an adventure.
  • Children’s menu. Check that the airline has a child’s menu available and that they’re able to heat up formula for your baby.
  • Entertainment for the kids. A long haul flight becomes boring for an energetic small child. Most airlines provide goodie bags for the children but be sure to bring along your own stock of snacks, toys, puzzles, storybooks and games. Top tip: don’t use up all your aces in the first hour of the flight!
  • Spills will happen. Prepare for the inevitable chocolate pudding mess by packing an extra set of clothing for the kids. But be aware of the new airline regulations governing Liquids, Aerosols and Gels in your carry-on luggage - pack in some wet wipes to keep faces and hands clean
  • Take off and landing. If your child has a cold or an ear infection take advice from your doctor. During take off and landing give your child a lolly to suck or gum to chew (if they're old enough to chew gum), as this will relieve the pressure on their ears. Infants should be breast-fed or given a bottle to help them swallow.

Remember, if all else fails, try to relax and keep your sense of humour. You will be at your destination sooner than you think and then that all important family holiday can start.