Whether it’s their first flight or not, flying is both an exciting and nerve-racking experience for most kids. But we all know the typical “Are we there yet?” and “My ears hurt” will start the minute the plane leaves the ground. So, here are some of our favourite tips to hopefully get yours through your next family vacation.

1. Take advantage of early boarding

Airlines will usually allow passengers travelling with small children or passengers needing extra assistance to board first, don’t be too shy to take advantage of their kind offer. Having the chance to store your overhead luggage and get settled before the aisles get crammed full of people is a luxury, why not take advantage?. Bring activities/Pack sticker activity books

Top Tips for Flying with Kids -

2. Have a “sanity seat”

What is a “sanity seat” you may ask? One person is stuck with the kids, while the other enjoys their time in a child-free paradise in another part of the plane. Form a tag team so when things start to go wrong for one person, you can switch seats so everybody shares in the misery. Teamwork is key!

3. Little white lie

We are all very familiar with the persistent “Are we there yet?” questions from kids, and you’re only inviting them to whine more if you let them know how long there really is left to go. So, when your child becomes irritable and asks the dreaded question, always lie to make it seem like the landing is more imminent. A little white lie to keep your sanity seems fair. Try something like “Only about 20 minutes until we land – just hang in there”, but make sure the interactive map feature on their TV’s is disabled or else you might get caught out.

4. BYO snacks

We all know too well how picky kids can be when it comes to food, and trust me, plane food isn’t going to be any different. Pack some zip-lock bags with sweet and savoury snacks for the flight to keep the mess level to a minimum. Things like crackers, nuts, popcorn, are all good savoury snacks to keep their tummies full, or some sliced up apple or grapes for something a bit sweeter. But keep a secret stash of some little “naughty” sweet treats too; that will keep the kids on their best behaviour.

5. Use bottles or dummies for babies

Give babies a dummy or bottle to suck on during take-off and landing to help with ear pressure. Other options for kids might be chewing gum or chewy lollies such as Minties or Starburst that will help them to pop their ears.

6. Fly direct

Travelling with kids is stressful enough as is without adding the time pressure of making it to the connecting flight. Juggling tired and irritated kids and all their onboard entertainment as you dash from one terminal to the other is not what you want to remember about your family holiday. Flying direct or organising for a good few hours between connecting flights will save you unnecessary stress.

7. New toys for the plane

In the lead up to a trip away, purchase a few new activities and toys that the kids are excited about, but best make sure they’re activities/toys that don’t involve too much noise. Wrap them up and keep them in a bag altogether and hand them out one by one throughout the flight to keep them entertained. Don’t give them out too quick, once the excitement wears off and they get bored, you’ll be stuck finding new, creative ways to entertain them.

8. Fly at night/Dress them in PJs

Sleeping on a plane is hard enough for us adults as it is, and when you’re travelling with kids, the battle for sleep only increases. On longer journey’s, opt for flights at the ‘normal’ time your kids would be going to sleep. Dress them in their PJ’s or clothes that are comfy to sleep in; this may make it easier for them to drop off to sleep once they’re on the plane. However, this could also backfire if you’re kids get so excited about travelling they no longer feel tired; so choose wisely.

9. Pack your ‘inner’ suitcase

Travelling via plane takes its toll on us all; lack of sleep, time pressures, those “I forgot something” moments, and flying with kids could very well turn you insane if you don’t take the time to look after yourself. Before departing, take some time to gather your inner mental and emotional stamina to keep yourself calm and patience for the journey ahead. To make your trip an enjoyable one, keep it a “judgement-free zone”. Don’t assume that all other passengers are thinking the worst; chances are, many of them have been, or are mums, dads, grandparents, and they’ve all had their time in your shoes.