Travelling as a family for the first time can be daunting. You’ll pack the obvious things (clothes, swimming gear) and put essentials in your handbag (medications, sunscreen, toiletries and the like) but what extras should you pack in your hand luggage to help the flight go as smoothly as possible?
Make use of the kids’ hand luggage allowance
You don’t need to try to squash everything into your own hand luggage – in most cases, the kids will have a hand luggage allowance too. Let them have a say as to what goes into their bags, selecting books, toys and other favourites they might like access to during the flight.
If you’re put off by the thought of having to carry their bags around, consider a Trunki, the ride along kid’s suitcase, for each child. These are sized to qualify as hand luggage, and the kids can take charge of their own bags during your journey around the airport.
Tech to entertain
Long waits in the airport lounge, and then hours spent trying to persuade them sit sensibly during the flight – it’s a lot to ask of an energy-filled tot, so it’s best to be prepared by taking along tablets or gaming devises loaded with a few games or movies to keep them entertained. And don’t forget the headphones so you don’t annoy your fellow passengers!
Of course, once you’re onboard, good flight operators will offer in-flight entertainment. KLM, for example, offers a dedicated kid’s channel and games accessible at every seat – so that should also help while away the hours on your long haul flights.
Warm or cool clothes in hand luggage
If you’re travelling from a cold country to a hot one, or vice versa, remember to have a suitable change of clothes for each of you within easy reach in your hand luggage or at the top of your suitcase. You don’t want to be travelling to your hotel in 40 degree heat in a polo neck, nor walking back to your car with the kids in shorts during a sudden snow flurry
Bedtime comforts for long flights
Many children will struggle to sleep on a long flight, no matter how exhausted they feel. Consider packing a few bedtime comforts in their hand luggage, such as a favourite teddy, blanket or even their PJs – whatever it takes to help them settle is worth it, as once they’re asleep, you’ll be able to get some shuteye too!
And one other thing…
Consider flying from your local airport
If you’re UK-based, chances are you’re considering departing from one of the London airports, which may not be the nearest to you, meaning you’ll start your journey with a long drive, train ride or overnight airport hotel stay, and it could work out to be more time consuming and costly.
KLM UK flies from a wide range of regional airports across the UK, including Norwich, Cardiff, Glasgow, Newcastle and Birmingham to all sorts of ideal holiday destinations via the KLM hub at Schiphol, Amsterdam. You’ll be well looked after every step of the way. And it’s brilliant for young children as it means less to shell out on trains/cabs and pre-flight hotels, less to pack and of course, less time between leaving home and hitting the beach.
So what are your top tips for flying with children? Let me know in the comments!