Want to take your small children travelling? It's probably easier than you think

I've always loved travelling, and having children hasn't really calmed my itchy feet. We've taken both the children to Europe, but this year we decided to take the plunge and go Transatlantic with two kids under three. I know what you are thinking! But no I'm not mad! This year we took the kids (aged 1 and 2) on a long haul flight. It was the first long haul flight for both of them - We were flying to visit friends in Canada which meant the 10 hour flight time was non negotiable.BUT it was okay! We put some forward planning in and it paid off. So fear not fellow travel lusting parents I have some top tips for you!

flying with small children and babies
A guide to enjoy flying with kids
  • Don't spend money on reserving seats- every airline treats families travelling as priority customers you will be sat together any way
  • Don't buy a seat for your infant- all seats cost in effect the same price whether purchased for an infant, child or and adult you will save lots of money for the inconvenience of having a child on your lap- chances are the stewards will arrange for an extra seat anyway.
    Should I buy a seat in flight for one year old
    Do you need to buy a seat for a 1 year old- no
  • Spend that money instead on an in airport hotel- we chose Bloc at Gatwick. It's actually inside the hotel. We had a late dinner in the airport pub and explored the airport. We finally got the kids to bed about 11pm and woke them up 5 hours later to grab breakfast, watch tv and shower
  • staying in an in airport hotel with kids
    investing in an in airport hotel is money well spent
    Get to the check in gate early- check as much as possible including the pushchair. Let the kids walk or carry them in a sling.
  • Pack your carry on light- all you need is a change of clothes for everyone, nappies, headphones, snacks for the kids, headphones and your electronic devices and documents. Everything else will weigh you down and make it harder to get on and off the plane
  • Do pack a bag each for the kids with colouring, books and tiny toys- make sure it's a bag they can manoeuvre. Our baby had a back pack our son a lightening McQueen carry on.
  • After check in find the play area- let the kids run wild and chat about how exciting holiday will be.
    how to keep your kids calm on a long haul flight
    wearing the kids out before a long haul flight
  • encourage potty breaks in the airport
  • grab a coffee and a snack somewhere - Show the kids where you are travelling to. 
  • Finally leave for you gate about two hours before the flight -with small kids you will get to board an hour early. Use the other hour to enjoy how awesome flying somewhere is. The airport is a really exciting place for a toddler there's airplanes taking off, baggage carts and travelators to explore.
  • Finally once you've boarded just enjoy the experience- the kids will be really tired from a short night sleep and a morning packed full of exploring the airport. Switch on the devices and give them plenty of hugs during take off.
We loved our trip this summer so much we are going back- the plan was really successful so we will do the same next time too.

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