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TIPS FOR

FLYING WITH KIDS

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Kids make great travel company and should make your vacation memorable. They have so much fun and you can enjoy your kids and see them have fun. Flying however can challenge many adults so you can imagine the issues of flying with kids.

The first rule is pack as lightly as you can. You sometimes hear the advice that "you should pack everything that you need then take half of that". Kids can require things that adults - car seats, bottles, extra food etc.

 

WHAT TO PACK - Depending on the age of your kids you will need food, milk, toys, diapers, bibs, cleaning cloth. A plastic divider to hold a certain amount of milk powder would come in handy.  A harness will be extremely useful to keep your kid from wandering off. If they are big enough have them carry their own bag. Besides lightening the load it will help keep them busy.

 

 

FOOD ISSUES - Don't go overboard with trying to eat healthy. Your kid wont get fat or unhealthy on a 12 hour flight by eating a little junk food. Bring along treats and food so that there is always something to stuff in his/her mouth. Pretzels might be a good choice. If you are traveling with another adult you might want to ask the stewardess to give you meals separately so you can take turns taking care of the kid and keeping them entertained. Make sure you have kid size utensils as the airline might not have kid size ones and bring a bib. A child drinking cup might come in handy also.

 

EARS - Since I learned to scuba dive I have never had a problem with ear pressure when landing. I just do as divers to-  pinch your nose and blow. And do it often. Works every time. Kids may not understand why their ears are hurting on landing and you often hear babies crying on landing in airplanes for this reason. Older kids can chew gum to help. You want to keep the child talking as much as possible although you might be restricted because of safety issues on landing. Keep the talking and entertained as much as possible to alleviate the problem as much as you can. Its one of the downsides to flying but luckily it wont last long.

 

DO YOU NEED TO INFORM THE AIRLINE OF SPECIAL NEEDS - You may need to give advance notice to order special meals. Sometimes the airline might supply you with a cot but you might need to pre order it before the day of the flight. Check to see the airlines policy.

 

 

 

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AT THE AIRPORT - Arrive early. There are always unexpected delays when kids are involved. Especially if you are traveling alone internationally (Particularly in Canada or the United States) you might want a legal document proving that there is no problem with bringing your kid across boarders (ie: Immigration might wonder if you are divorced and bringing your kid across the boarder illegally). The airline should give you a good seat for kids - sometimes the airplane design has more space in a front row for example or they can block seats for families. Usually travelers with kids can get on the flight early. You might want to wait until close to the last to get off. Don't  forget to use the kids harness. If you will be in the airport for a long time know where the kid friendly bathrooms are at (Hong Kong airport for example is hard to change diapers in the bathrooms unless you go to the kiddy stalls which are very scarce). If you are in a huge airports like Hong Kong that is so spread out you might want to slowly work your way to the departure gate as soon as possible.

ENTERTAINMENT - Have you ever went to a childcare centre and noted their itinerary of what they do with the kids all day? If so you will notice that they have all sorts of different things planned so that kids don't do one thing for to long. They will spend 20 minutes playing with some toys, 20 minutes outside in the sand box, then singing for a while, 20 minutes with different toys, a food break, maybe then read a book etc. They are always doing something different and changes whenever their attention span runs out. Learn from the experts. They know what they are doing. Vary your kids entertainment.  If you are on a airline like Singapore Air, BA or Air New Zealand you will probably have a good private TV screen that has movies and games that (depending on your kids age) should keep them occupied for a while (If you are on KLM you are probably on your own). Use the entertainment system. When that gets boring read a book. Play with a stuffed animal, play with some toys, use the entertainment system again etc. Try and keep the kids awake as long as possible before the flight and make sure they are well fed before the flight. Get them some physical activity before you leave home. They might spend half the flight asleep. Maybe that way you could get some sleep on the flight also.

WHAT TO WEAR -  Don't try and impress your fellow passengers with dressing up. You are not at a job interview. Dress for comfort. A lot of zippered pockets is always good. Put distinctive clothing on your child in case they get lost in the airport and you have to get security to help you find them. Kids have an habit of spilling things so have a change of clothes handy. Take into consideration where you are going as the weather or social norms may be significantly different from where you are leaving from and airports may not be a convenient place to change.

CHOOSE YOUR AIRLINE - Some airlines are more kid friendly than others. Check if the airline has kids meals. Some airlines like Turkish Air and air New Zealand are great with kids, give you a full meal for the kids, toys and try and help you with good seats and entertainment. One particular airline to avoid is KLM. The attendants will tell you anything just to get you to move on, the entertainment system sucks, the airline stewards are unfriendly and they lose your luggage half the time (That's my experience anyway - twice in four flights - half the time) and they are liable to be out of your preferred food. Once on a four leg trip they were out of my preferred food three times (And its not just meat over chicken,  they once told me that they only had the vegetarian dish left which was the most god-awful airline crap that you have ever seen that you would have an upset dog if you offered it to him). Actually I am not sure why anybody would want to fly with KLM - with kids or alone. It might be a good airline for aviation history buffs who wants to know what air travel was like 40 years ago (After all - we would all like to go to ancient Rome and Egypt for a week to see what history was really like) but otherwise you should be able to find a better airline than KLM to fly with.


AND REMEMBER, WHEN TRAVELING  BOOK YOUR BEST HOTEL DEAL WITH THE WANDERING NOMAD TRAVEL CENTER

If you have your own must see travel destination and would like to file a report to be listed here send along with photos to thestampnomad@gmail.com