Travelling long haul with kids – the preparation

We’re heading off to a land of sunshine to celebrate a milestone birthday for my mum. The boys have been so excited as apparently they love sleeping in the plane (although I think they forget just how long the flight it).

Sunny Climes

We’ll have the 3 hour wait at Heathrow for check in etc, a 12 hour overnight long haul followed by a 2 hour stop over for the last 1 hour short hop to our first destination. Thankfully we won’t have to deal with time zone differences as we are going due South.

This is the plan so far :

  1. Phoned the airline and connected supportive husband’s ticket to ours as he is flying out at a later date to meet us. This means when we check-in for the rest of our holiday and return home, that he will be seated with us and not on the opposite side of the plane. Before you ask, this almost happened once when we didn’t realise you needed to connect all tickets flying together.
  2. Booked kiddies meals for the long hauls. You would think this happened automatically when you select the ‘child age’ option. But no…that seems to just be for information purposes only and they don’t do much with it.  I discovered this on one of the long hauls with the boys and thought the mum behind me was super organised to have their Cottage Pie cooked before she got on the flight. I then asked her the next morning how she arranged for her children to get their breakfast before everyone else when I was complimenting her on the being so organised with cooking their dinner before hand. She very kindly informed me that she wished that was the case, but that she had booked children’s meals. So I made the mental note for the next time and sure enough – it is the case!
  3. Booked seats near the bulkhead where possible or available. I am never sure about these seats as they are usually close to the toilets but it means I won’t have to worry about the people in front potentially having their seat kicked. Our boys don’t usually do that but I am not going to tempt fate.
  4. Travel insurance – double check it is in place for all members of the family. We usually have one of us going down with a bug we have either caught on the plane or change in weather etc.
  5. Have sachets of Calpol and Nurofen to hand and loads of sucking sweets too. Our boys suffer terribly with their ears and so taking some 30 mins prior to take off and at the start of descent helps.
  6. Loads of little puzzles, travel games and easy craft type things for them to do. You never know when the tv’s don’t work. I once had an entire row that didn’t work for the whole journey.
  7. Travel antibac and wet wipes. They come in handy.
  8. 1 change of clothes for each of us in case our luggage gets lost. I also tend to put cool clothing in for when we land as to go from 1-9 degrees to 30 degrees is something their little bodies suffer with and of course I swap it to warm clothing for when we come back.
  9. Water (yes from duty free) in case there is a delay on the plane for take off.
  10. Snacks like breadsticks or crackers. They don’t contain much sugar but help to pass the time. If the flight is around or after their usual dinner time, make sure you have either fed them a snack or a full meal prior to boarding.

I hope this helps and there are loads more on my to do list – those (apart from passports) are the important ones.