Guest post contributed by Ollie Birk
It’s finally here! The last episode of the 3 part series.
Here’s the deal: I will be going over some precautions for you to consider before your journey…so you’ll be ready to fly away months before you leave!
Travelling when your child is still learning how to use the potty can be quite tormenting… and a hassle. Be sure to pack enough nappies to last 24 hours as your flight could be delayed. If your child is still learning to use the potty but isn’t quite there yet, then there is no need to bring a potty with you. Check out the next tip to supplement this one!
WRITE PHONE NUMBERS ON THEM
It happens so often that a child is lost and is found my stranger, and this stranger is wasting their own time running around trying to find their parent. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if a phone number is written on the child?! This saves a lot of time and hassle, and may mean the difference between missing your flight and catching your flight on time!
CHECK ALL OF YOUR PASSPORTS
Children’s passports only last 5 years… so check them! The worst situation that could happen is for you to arrive at the airport and your child’s passport has run out! An avoidable situation with a very inconvenient outcome! It can be a lengthy process waiting for a new passport to be delivered, so ensure you get this done 3 months before you book.
INVOLVE YOUR KIDS IN THE PLANNING
Get your child involved with the day to day planning before your holiday! This should help them feel more involved and can teach them about how to plan and schedule. If your child hasn’t been on a flight before, it may help them prepare for what’s to come! This should help make them more comfortable on the day and allow for a more quiet, easy journey.
SCHEDULE MORE TIME FOR EACH ACTIVITY
Try to schedule more time for each activity and try to reduce the number of activities in each day. The more time you have for each activity, the less stress for you and your family. The results? A happier holiday!
CHECK HOTEL FOR FAMILY DEALS
Many international hotels have family deals, discounts, and complimentary children’s meals. Most hotels provide breakfast anyway and you don’t really want to be spending too much money on food when your child eats little more than a slice of bread and butter!
CHECK THE QUALITY OF THE KIDS CLUB
If you are not supervising your kids, you want to ensure whoever is has good facilities and activities in place. There is nothing worse for a child than missing their parents. So, ensure the kids club is a good standard and is more than just sitting kids in front of a TV!
If you’re going to a destination that requires a visa, ensure you check if the same rule applies to children. Often, their fee is the same as yours and you need to collect them in person. You can apply in writing to save time.
ENSURE YOU HAVE ALL THE CORRECT DOCUMENTS
Especially if you have an adopted child, you will need to have adoption papers for your child present. If you are the only parent traveling with your child, regardless of your marital status, you may be asked to present proof of consent from the alternate parent. This is more likely to happen in countries where child trafficking occurs regularly.
CREATIVE HOLIDAY RELATED PROJECTS
To prepare your child for what is to come, it may be a good idea to organize some holiday-related projects for your child and for you to do as a family. An example may be a poster with the history of the country you are visiting. A more prepared child will be less likely to misbehave when the real event occurs.
SEND BUGGIES/STROLLERS VIA DELIVERY SERVICE
If you have a buggie and it is essential to bring it with you, you can send it via a delivery service. Also, instead of you over packing and bringing too much luggage, send these via a delivery service too!
DESIGNATE MEETING POINTS
Always, wherever you go, ensure you have a designated meeting point. Your child may not be able to find the point, but if they are found they can tell whoever found them where they are supposed to meet you. Children are smarter than you think!
MEET AND ASSIST
As part of a pre-booked and paid for a Meet & Assist service, passengers traveling with small children will have the option of having a pushchair included in their service. This service is only available as part of the purchased Meet and Assist service and should be requested at the time of booking. This will support you in getting to the boarding gate quickly, easily and stress-free!
CHECK LATEST HANDHELD LUGGAGE RESTRICTIONS
All items of luggage larger than the cabin baggage size (maximum length 56cm, the width of 45cm and depth of 25cm, including wheels, handles, and external pockets) must be checked in to be placed in the aircraft hold. These are allowed as a second item of cabin baggage if they do not fit into the cabin bag. This is an example of just one restriction, so to save time and hassle, be sure to check the latest handheld luggage restrictions ruled by your airline!
Like a Christmas Stocking… but for your flight! Your child is likely to be as excited for your holiday as they are Christmas, so be sure to keep them entertained with a plane bag that has a few gifts or activities inside. This should keep a smile on your child’s face the whole journey!
Yeah, you probably shouldn’t lie to your kids, but… sometimes you have got to be selfish! Simply tell them regularly about the Aeroplane Police and that if you misbehave, they capture you and put you in jail. Tell them this before your flight and I’m sure it should work well!
FLY AT NIGHT TIME
Sounds pretty obvious, right? If you fly at night or early hours of the morning, your child will most likely fall asleep and not make a sound! Alright for some, eh? Now you can look forward to an easy, hassle-free flight!
If you are traveling on a long-haul flight, it may be a good idea to pay for a transit flight where you have a stop. This way, it gives your kids to have a run around before the second half of your flight. This should save a lot of winging! And better yet, transit flights are cheaper!
PLAN AN ACTIVITY FOR EVERY 15 MINUTES
For every 15 minutes of the flight, have a different activity planned. Taking off and landing can be something simple like looking out the window and counting the houses or cars. Some other ideas could be making a drawing, taking photos, playing Travel Scrabble or reading a book.
EXTRA CLOTHING & A PLASTIC BAG
Your worst nightmare would be if your child wets themselves or soils their clothing when you don’t have a replacement! Bring some extra clothes for yourself, too. The plastic bag can be used to place dirty clothing inside.
ENSURE YOUR HOTEL IS ACCESSIBLE
What a lovely hotel you booked! It didn’t happen to show that 200ft steep hill you have to walk up every time you leave the hotel to get to the beach did it? In 30 degree heat, it is far too much for yourself and your children to be having trouble accessing your hotel, so find as many reviews and information on your hotel as possible.
CHECK THE CULTURE OF YOUR DESTINATION
If you have a baby, you may still be breast feeding. There are many countries that have strict rules on showing skin in public. So, if you are going to one of those countries, it is probably best to not breastfeed in public… Research is essential for success in anything you do so get lookin’!
Time-consuming, I know. But, a practice run can give your child experience and feeling of what the actual day will feel like, so it isn’t a shock to them when it occurs. This will mentally prepare them and avoid any traumas.
IS LOW COST WORTH IT?
Save some money? Yep. Got much leg room? Nope, no biggy. Got a screaming child? Yep, I should have paid the extra £100. Low-budget airlines are not convenient for young children. They tend to be very hot and stuffy and cramped… the perfect scenario for a screaming child! A more expensive airline will have a better AC and air recycling system, more space and are more reliable. This can make the difference between a crying child and a happy child.
Here are some tips to get the cheapest tickets.
WRITE DOWN ALL POTENTIAL PROBLEMS WITH SOLUTIONS
Doing this will not only avoid problems but if any problems do occur during your journey, you can adapt to the situation quickly and go the right way about resolving the problem. In turn, you can have a relaxing journey to your lovely holiday with no stress!
EXPLAIN THE JOURNEY PROCESS TO YOUR KIDS
This is a good way to mentally prepare your children for a long day of traveling. Explain to them the schedule and what they can do at the airport and on the flight. Let them know it may be a long day but they can get a reward if they behave well. Try to make the reward exciting. For instance, you can say you will take them to a waterpark the following day. This should give your children an incentive to behave well.
SCAN YOUR PASSPORTS AND EMAIL THEM TO YOURSELF
Along with any other important documents — e.g. green card, birth certificate, the visa pages of your passport. If you ever lose your passports abroad, this will save you a ton of time and hassle when you have to replace them. This way, you can relax that little bit more and enjoy the holiday you’ve needed!
COUNT THE NUMBER OF BAGS YOU ALL HAVE IN TOTAL
This makes checking in your bags and ensuring nothing has been lost very quick and easy. If you have a number in your head of how many bags there are, then you can always know if anything is missing throughout your journey.
This allows you and your family to stay out of other people’s way when boarding. Most airports allow families with young children to board early so that other people can board quickly. So, utilize this!
ONE PARENT FOR EACH RESPONSIBILITY
Delegating responsibilities between parents makes the workload that much easier, and reduces stress incredibly!
ONLINE STORAGE FOR PHOTOS
Instead of splurging out on a batch of SD cards, go with the cheaper, more up-to-date method of using online storage. Not only will it be cheaper, but it is also easier to then upload the photos to your computer.
SD CARDS STORED WITH FILMS
What more could a child want?! A whole stock of films that they can take anywhere with them is a dream! Just bring a small tablet that has an SD card slot and you’re well on your way!