Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Airport Travel Tips for Families - Planning a Family Holiday Without the Hassles!


*This post is brought to you in collaboration with World Baggage.

I can think of only few things more exciting in life, than to travel somewhere new. The anticipation and experience of a family vacation, to a new and undiscovered destination (or an old favourite) is truly fantastic. For kids as well, the thrilling and intoxicating excitement of plane travel, is immense!

While us adults of the family have clocked-up loads of international air travel in our pre-parenting days, we've really only ventured close to home as a family for obvious reasons. Sticking with domestic locations is both convenient and cost-friendly when you've a large brood to tow along.

One of the biggest differences about travel by air with kids is, well, everything! From the expense, planning, buying, groundwork and documentation, to the packing and arranging of the plethora of finer and important details; these are just some of the mountainous areas of work to be undertaken before you even walk out your door. It can certainly leave you with a sense of is it all worth it? But of course, we all know it is!

Here are some of the tips we implement when planning any air travel with our children.

Prepare your kids in advance. As soon as you have settled on a destination, include your kids in the excitement. Show them the hotel online or in brochures. (Mine like to choose their beds from the pictures, months in advance!) Tell them about the flights, how long they will take and when it's all set to happen.

Once you've booked your holiday, inform the kids' school teachers so that they know to provide them with any school work if applicable. Remember the cheapest time to go on vacation is during school terms. Not all schools are happy with this fact, but as we all know, saving money wins when it comes to vacations!

Enlist the help of a travel agent to organise your travel documents, passports if required, and transfers. You can do this yourself online of course, but it's always worth getting a quote on anything you intend from an expert too, just to be sure you are getting a great deal. It's also quite a timesaver.

Book your travel as far in advance as you can manage. This enables you to find the best price at the time you prefer. It can also assist you to score your preferred booking time and seats together on any planes to your destinations. You might like to wait for advertised airline sales to secure the best deal if you have the luxury of a lot of time ahead. This can save you even more on your holiday in the long run.

Make sure you familiarise yourself with your chosen airline's packing requirements for both on-board and undercarriage cloaking. Going over-limit can cost you an absolute packet in airport charges, plus too much luggage going anywhere is never advisable, as no doubt, you will return home with at least 50 percent more! There's nothing quite like the joy of shopping when travelling and kids are really wonderful at persuasion when it comes to buying souvenirs. Even clothing!

Keeping this in mind, it's wise for families to pack at least three daytime outfits each, (think: one on, one off, one in the wash), plus two sets of sleepwear. This won't overburden your suitcases and make for a manageable quantity of stuff to lug about. It's also a good idea to pack an extra bag or smaller suitcase within a larger case for your extras you anticipate carrying home.

Thankfully, there is a solution if you do go overboard with your holiday buying and airline luggage allowance. World Baggage is a baggage courier company that will ship your excess baggage home for much less than what the airlines charge and from anywhere in the world including domestically in Australia. That's certainly peace of mind if you love shopping! You can get a quote, book your schedule and pay; all online. You can even track your bags the entire way home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In the days prior to your journey, have the kids pack a small carry-on filled with toys and games that they will enjoy on the plane to keep them out of your hair. Make sure you inspect their chosen gear to ensure there are no play weapons too, as these may be confiscated by security! Pack pencils, paper, travel games, colouring books and novels. Make things more interesting for them by buying a few extras pre-holiday so that there's some surprise factor involved. Now is the perfect time to purchase your kids some small exciting item they've been craving like mad!

Make sure that you are very familiar with airport distance and travel and check-in times. Your airline may request arrivals two hours prior to departing. As a general rule with kids, throw an extra hour on for caution and make it three hours ahead. Kids are masters of faffing at the best of times and on the big day, no matter how organised you think you are, someone will invariably lose a shoe, require first aid or discover a hole in their bag - you name it! Be prepared for everything and anything.

Arriving early at the airport also gives you the freedom to dine there which kids love! Use it as a bribe for continued excellent behaviour before boarding your plane. There will be few complaints if little tummies are well-stocked before plane travel and it may even send some of them off to sleep. Massive bonus!

Dress the entire family comfortably for plane travel. Loose clothing, comfortable shoes and pants will reduce the stress kids feel sitting for hours on a plane. This will also assist if anyone is singled out for an airport security scan and pat-down.

Don't forget to pack sealed, store-bought packaged snacks (avoid fruits for quarantine reasons, even domestically) and make sure you have a pack of trusty lollipops and nibbles to control errant children in the worst of times.

For more specific tips for flying with babies and toddlers see this post, or for a comprehensive A-Z of packing guide for families, check this one out. For family road-trip tips see here. For gorgeous travel gear designed just for kids, you can't go past these beautiful kids' suitcases and bags by children's designers Gooie.

Good luck planning your journey!

How do you manage air travel with kids?
Have I missed something? What would you include?

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 



32 comments:

  1. We haven't braved flying yet but some great tips there as usual! NZ is small enough we can survive driving everywhere for now :) #TeamIBOT

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  2. Awesome tips here. I first flew with my daughter when she was 3 months old, and by the time she was two, she'd been on two domestic plane holidays and two international ones! I wouldn't necessarily recommend that! But it was very interesting to note the different strictness from airport to airport regarding baby food and milk (my daughter was formula fed) and also just how fast milk can go off in a warm plane environment. Something to watch out for. The bassinet seats were an absolute godsend, as even when she was too big to stay there for long periods, it gave us a very handy place to keep various baby paraphernalia, not to mention extra leg room. One last tip: ALWAYS keep your carry on bags closed if they're in reach - my daughter spilled a container of liquid baby food and it went everywhere, including all through the bag - the mess was unbelievable. And the attendants did very little to help.

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    1. Emily some great points! Especially the one about keeping your bags closed! These things have happened to me on so many flights whether with kids or without - usually someone else's child will manage that. I had a kid spill a full glass of cola down my leg on a long-haul flight once and it was so unpleasant. His father was dead-embarrassed, poor guy!

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  3. I can't see us going on a family holiday that doesn't involved driving and the camper trailer anytime soon, but if we do, I'll have to borrow your tips. :)

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    1. Sadly, at present we're the same - only I can't even see trailers involved either! Nothing on the horizon at this point in time though we'd LOVE to.

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  4. Awesome tips , thank you for a wonderful post I needed this

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    1. Glad you like them! Thanks for stopping by. :D

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  5. I haven't been on a plane since Mr 6 was only 5 months old but we have been on buses and trains a few times. The tips you've listed are pretty similar. Another tip I would give is if you are taking electronics, make sure they are charged and buy yourself a portable charger. Our portable charger saved us on a recent train ride that was initially only supposed to be 6.5 hours but blew out to 10 hours after we had to take a diesel train instead of the tilt train.

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    1. Great point Tegan and I guess so many travel tips where family is involved are applicable no matter what form of transport is involved.

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  6. We survived a 15 hour flight to the US and back last year. It wasn't fun but we survived. We did a lot of preparation with them and took along their own carry on backpacks with lots of activities so they were entertained while waiting for the flight and while on the flight. But however you prepare, 15 hours is a LONG time for any mode of travel!!!

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    1. I can only imagine those flights with kids and to be h0nest, I barely survived these without kids! The longest we've flown was to Shanghai with a 6 month old. It wasn't too bad actually. Our baby girl had lots of attention and the staff were only too willing to assist. Older children would be far more work however.

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  7. Fantastic suggestions! I have flown with my two kids quite a few times and hoping for our first overseas trip at the end of the year. I only do carry on luggage and now they are 6 and 8 they carry it themselves. Saves quite a bit of time and hassle.

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    1. Oh there's nothing better than when the kids are old enough to cart their own stuff and entertain themselves. Have a great trip at the end of the year! You have plenty of time to prepare!

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  8. WHERE WERE YOU TWO MONTHS AGO, WHEN I NEEDED YOU? This is brilliant. I'd use it, if I were ever going to travel with my children ever again. (I'm not.)

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    1. LOL! Oh but you must - if only because you will have a dreadful time and so much funny stuff to write about! Please book yourself a holiday today so that I can have a belly-laugh!

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  9. Great tips for those travelling with their kids for the first time. My daughter was 8 months on her first international trip and my son 5 months. Travel with kids is my favourite.

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    1. So sweet and that must have been a handful? The excitement of kids when they're travelling is infectious. It is fun (especially when they're not whinging!).

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  10. My kids have been both amazing and incredibly trying at times in airports and on planes. My daughter was a dream baby on the way to tahiti at 9 months old...until the flight to Bora Bora. All the honeymooners were mortified!

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    1. Hahah! No doubt there were no babies conceived during your stay for all those newly-weds! I'll bet they were mentally judging you. Hopefully by now many of them understand what you were going through! :D

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  11. I've never heard of world baggage! Love this idea rather than hauling so much extra luggage home.

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    1. It sounds great doesn't it! I would have loved a service such as this when we married in Las Vegas. I took a wedding dress and everything on honeymoon! So much luggage and fiddling about.

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  12. Great tips! We travel a fair, but just with one - can't imagine it with 6! Definitely adding the extra time, and food is a never fail all they way through. Good point about it putting them to sleep, too!

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    1. Yes, food is such a fantastic bribe. We're never without food close-by to control the six of our no matter where we go!

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  13. Always take water and snacks. Sometimes the airline runs out or there are delays. And we've even been at Brisbane Airport and their chosen food outlet has been closed or has run out of the food they liked. And I second the charger thing. I also have those little powerboard charger things for the kids now and we charge everything up whenever there is a power point.

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  14. We're off to the UK in May so will be bookmarking this post for then! I'm dreading the 24 hour flight with 2 preschoolers...
    #TeamMM

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  15. I am really not a huge fan of airport and aeroplane travel with kids, you are so right - the excitement for them IS intoxicating!! Great tips xx

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  16. I have been quite good whenever I have travelled with the family. I have had quite a few blow outs when I have been travelling by myself though. :D

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  17. Great tips. We did mainly UK last year with two abroad trips, but both organised by brands in the main. These are so helpful. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

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