Going on vacation with your kids is an unforgettable experience that will always have a special place in your heart. The flight to your vacation may not, however. It’s hard enough to watch over kids when you’re in familiar territory. A stressful flight where you’re on edge and agitated is the worst possible environment to have to take care of your kids and stop them from causing problems. Luckily, there are lots of things that can help you keep your kids close and enjoy a stress-free flight with your partner. Here are some of the most practical examples.
Have an extra seat ready
Children should always have their own seat on a flight. Airlines allow parents to take their kids without one if they’re under two years old, but that shouldn’t stop you from considering one. Having an extra seat is very much worth the money. Even if your baby is well-behaved, you can expect it to be a very uncomfortable flight if they don’t have their own seat.
Carrying your baby can significantly impact your comfort. As we all know, aeroplane seats aren’t the most comfortable or spacious seating options. They’re usually crammed too tight for anyone to actually enjoy their flight. Add a baby to the equation and you have a recipe for a very, very long flight. Even a couple of hours are going to seem like a nightmare with a child in your lap the whole time.
If you find yourself on a flight without booking an extra seat, you could always ask if the plane has a spare one that has gone unused. It’s a very unlikely scenario, but you’re going to be grateful if they actually do find one. Be sure that if you bring a child without booking the seat, you’re probably not going to make this mistake twice.
Carefully time your flight
You should think twice before deciding when to book tickets for your flight. A specific time might seem like a brilliant idea until you actually step on the plane. A 6 AM departure seems very attractive when you’re going on vacation. You’re going to maximize the time spent somewhere else and you don’t have to worry about missing a single crucial hour. However, the plan could backfire before you even reach your destination.
Imagine the stress of getting everyone to the airport before the plane leaves. It’s hard enough getting your baby to cooperate in the middle of the day. When you wake it up early and take it to a new and stressful environment, there will inevitably be some level of annoyance.
Another thing to consider is whether or not it’s the peak time for the airport. If you’re travelling exactly when everyone else is, you’re going to go through some very big and loud crowds. Not to mention, the chances of finding a spare seat or several connected seats for your family are going to be slim. Going on off-days is a much better option, as it reduces the chances of any disturbances for you and your child. Pick an evening route for your flight. Your child will be getting ready to take a nap and getting a nice and comfortable seat is going to help get it snoozing in no time.
Remember that it’s all about location
They say that the journey is more important than the destination. Nowhere is this more apparent than a flight with your family. How you spend the flight can have a big influence on your entire trip. If your seats aren’t in an optimal location, you could end up with more problems than you can count.
Aisle seats are always preferable when you’re travelling with a child. No matter their age, you will want to be able to get up out of your seat as soon as possible when disaster strikes. Babies will often have accidents and make messes and you’ll have to take care of them in the bathroom. If your child suddenly starts vomiting, it would help if you weren’t caught in the middle seat of an aeroplane row. It could be uncomfortable for both you and the passengers around you. Reacting fast and going to the bathroom is crucial. If you have an aisle seat, this is made much easier.
However, even if you’re placed next to the aisle, it’s not going to help much if you’re too far away from the bathroom. It’s just going to make the trip less packed with people, but a mess can still occur. Because of this, you’re going to have to aim to be closer to the bathroom. Look at the seating plan for the plane and ask the airport for tickets to a closer seat.
The ideal spot to be would be the bulkhead. It’s close to everything you might need, and it has a little more legroom for everyone. Ask the flight attendants if you could have the spot if it happens to be free. Alternatively, just book the seats in advance, although it might cost you a few dollars more.
Find fun ways to make transit go faster
When you’re outside of the plane, you should take this opportunity to have some fun with your kids. Encourage them to run around the area you’re in. If there are any stairs or escalators, the kids probably won’t get enough of them. If you’re lucky, they’ll just have fun speeding through the transit area at full speed.
This helps tire them out before you board the plane. If they burn out all their energy before hopping on the plane, you’ll have a much easier time dealing with the kids. If you’re particularly lucky, the airport will have a play area for kids. Here, they can jump and play around to their heart’s content. Plus, it makes your job a lot easier when watching over them. They’re unlikely to leave the play area, as it has all the fun things that they need.
Take turns watching the kids
If you and your better half are both on the flight, you should do your best to split the work fifty-fifty. It’s hard enough taking care of the kids at home, but it’s an even harder task when you’re under-slept and thousands of meters in the air. Because of this, you have to minimize the negative impact of having to take care of the kids. If it’s going to be a long flight, it’s best if you work in shifts.
This isn’t too difficult to pull off. As long as you can find comfortable ways to rest while your partner takes care of the child, you’re going to have a much nicer flight. While they’re watching over your little bundle of joy, you could be half-way to dreamland with a comfortable neck massager around your neck. Take your earplugs, put on an audiobook, and you’ll drift into sleep quickly and without issues. After you’ve slept a couple of hours, you’ll be alert and ready to take over the parenting responsibilities on the plane.
While it’s your turn, make sure you respect the shift time. This also goes for overexerting yourself. It won’t help if you decide to spend extra hours with your child just to spare your partner the trouble. Your rest is as beneficial for the child as it is for you. You need to be relaxed and awake while taking care of them, and that requires a bit of rest to maintain.
If you manage to coordinate yourselves properly, you’ll find that the flight will become much more tolerable and enjoyable. Plus, you’ll also be a lot more refreshed and ready to tackle getting off of the plane and getting to your vacation arrangements.
Avoid the temptation of alcohol
Flights are an ideal opportunity for some light and casual drinking. If your kids are fast asleep and you believe you’re in the clear, it can be tempting to have a glass of wine or two. A bit of alcohol can calm your nerves and relax you before the journey gets too stressful. Plus, who doesn’t want to relax while high up in the sky with a drink in their hand? Parents is the correct answer.
You need to keep your stamina throughout the flight. If it’s soon going to be your turn for watching the child, you should be sober and completely attentive. Meanwhile, make sure you’re not caught up in any in-flight cinema. Watching a good movie is fine, but you have other things to worry about. You shouldn’t let distractions get the best of you.
A long flight with your spouse and kids doesn’t have to be a terrifying and stressful experience. You can just as easily make it a lighthearted trip with minimal issues. The trick is to find a balance between relaxing and taking care of your kids. If you’re still stumped about how to do this, you could take a look at some of these tips and take them to heart. It’s going to make your trip a lot easier.