*If you’re flying with a baby: try to get a bulkhead seat if you can and make sure you book a skycot; if you can, request the bulkhead seats in the middle so that light streaming in from the plane windows doesn’t keep your baby awake. Make sure you have lots of soft (not noisy!) toys, for example a fabric shape sorter. And plan to give a bottle on take off/landing to help your baby’s ear pressure.
*Make friends with the crew, take lots of nappies, walk up and down the aisles at frequent intervals and try not to get too stressed if your baby won’t settle – I know it can be difficult when you feel as though other passengers are glaring at you, but all you can do is your best.
*You can never have enough pens, pads, colouring books, story books, wipes and tissues when you’re travelling with toddlers and pre-schoolers. And a towel is always useful, too.
*For shorter journeys, make up a surprise goody bag filled with fun stuff to keep your child entertained, and give it to them when you get in the car/on board the train/plane/ferry.
*Try not to feel pressured into spending heaps of money when you’re on holiday if you’re on a tight budget. Your kids are happy to be away with you so simple pleasures will work wonders.
*You can never pack too many t-shirts for kids. And travel wash is always useful.
*Make sure you have enough medication, creams and other essentials, and if you’re going abroad, check with your GP whether your child needs any vaccinations well in advance of your departure date.
*Kids often don’t like airplane food – even the ‘kids’ meals’. It’s a good idea to buy them a sandwich/snack before you board, particularly if you’re flying long-haul.
*Get comprehensive travel insurance.
*Encourage them to go to sleep when you’re on a different time zone, but don’t worry too much about sticking to a routine – you can all go with the flow, you’re on holiday!
written by Liz Jarvis