Saving Your Sanity: Tips For Flying With Children

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travel with kids

Most parents would agree that traveling with young children is stressful. Children, as a rule, do not like to be enclosed in limited spaces for long periods of time. This, in addition to the other discomforts of air travel (such as airplane turbulence and ear-aches), tend to make them irritable passengers.

Helpful tips for planning airplane trips with children before the flight

Book reasonable flights

A long-haul flight is not a great idea for toddlers or younger children. Rather than booking a long direct flight, it is advisable to break the journey with connecting flights. Stopovers can be a great opportunity for parents to relax and the kids to stretch their legs and get excited about the airports and duty-free shopping.

Choose good seats

It is important to book the flight early so you can have a choice of great seats. Seats on the aisle rows are usually best for people traveling with children. Also, look out for seats with wider leg room and close proximity to the airplane restrooms.


If you’re parking at the airport, you can avoid expensive parking charges by reserving a parking spot close to the airport. This can ensure a smooth transition during departure and arrival. Got Parking is a great site where you can search, compare and reserve parking near the airport. You will also have 24/7 shuttle service and security cameras to keep things safe while you are away. 

Pack effectively

It’s usually helpful to make a list of items that should be present in the carry-on bag. By writing a list, you make sure that important things are not left behind. Important items within the carry on should include:

  • Food and snacks such as sandwiches, fruit, and crackers
  • Any prescription medication that your child needs
  • Diapers for younger children
  • Change of clothing
  • Toiletries
  • Favorite games, books, coloring books, and crayons
  • Favorite small toys and puzzles
  • Earplugs

On the day of the flight

  • Leave early enough

It is important to arrive at the airport early because of the waits at the security gates. For early morning flights, ensure that the kids go to bed early on the day before the flight so they can wake up refreshed and excited for the trip.

During the flight

There are several activities that can be planned to keep children occupied and entertained during the flight. Some popular activities include:

Magnetic games

These are affordable travel games made of magnetic game pieces that stick to the game board. With a variety of board games like chess, checkers, and bingo, kids can be kept occupied for hours.


Older kids can choose the books they want to bring along during the flight. For younger kids, reading a favorite book can keep them entertained and on their seats.

Coloring books and crayons

Coloring books and crayons are important items that can keep children entertained during air travel. Some airlines may also provide coloring books or crayons for their children passengers.


Surprise kids during the flight with a new toy or small stuffed animal. This small and inexpensive surprise can be delightful to children.

Playing Cards

Bring along a deck of cards and play fun family games such as Go Fish, Uno or Monopoly.

Guess Who

This fun guessing game can be accomplished with Post It notes. You can make everyone write the names of 3 people on different post-it notes. All the notes are then put into a hat and each person takes turns pasting the note on their forehead. The person wearing the note can then ask up to 20 guessing questions to find out the person written on their forehead.

Portable DVD player, favorite movies and video games

If iPads or other electronic devices are allowed during the flight, downloading your kid’s favorite video games will keep them entertained for hours on end. And, as always, they will love to watch their favorite movies on the DVD player.

In-flight entertainment

Most airplanes usually have in-flight entertainment for children. Check the kid’s section for their selection of kid-friendly movies, music and video games that can be enjoyed in the air.

Check with the airline

Always ensure to call the airline ahead for any special requests. For children with food allergies, it’s important to inform the airline so they can make special food provisions.

For parents planning airplane travel in the upcoming holiday period, a combination of these age-appropriate strategies can be used to make airplane travel a delightful experience for the entire family.


  1. It’s all about the entertainment. When my eldest was 7, I took her to Hungary. She was thrilled to watch the movie (Harry Potter? Jurassic Park? I don’t recall what it was.) in 5 different languages.


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