Traveling with kids can be a little more complicated than traveling alone, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. I believe that traveling with kids, from newborn to teen, is more beneficial than traveling alone because you get to see the world from different perspectives. Long flights with kids can be the most difficult part of travel so check out these trips for long flights with kids and start planning your next vacation.
Tips for Long Flights with Kids
Choose Your Seats In Advance
It makes a difference where you sit on the plane when traveling with kids, especially for long flights. Think about things like how far you are from the bathroom, are you seated together with your family, and is anyone blocking you from the isle?
Max and I recently did a 16-hour flight to Dubai and we chose to sit near the window and the middle seat. That way, when Max fell asleep, I knew that no one was going to need to get by and wake him up.
It’s a personal preference, but planning in advance helps.
Ask For Help
This is a big one! There is no shame in asking for help when you need it. If you’re carrying your kid down the isle, it’s pretty difficult to put your bag in the overhead bin. Ask for a hand. It’s ok to accept help.
Add Entertainment to Your Devices
Airline Wi-Fi is not always reliable or available so we like to be ready with downloaded games, movies, and educational apps. I like to put a lot of Max’s favorites on my phone as well just in case his iPad runs out of battery or we have other issues. It’s a good back-up.
It’s helpful to have a personal device for your child during travel. Fire Kids’ Tablets are not very costly, but come in handy for long flights, especially when you like to use your device for other activities or personal viewing.
Don’t forget to have your devices fully charged. There’s nothing worse than starting a long flight with no power outlets and no entertainment.
Invest in Child Headphones
I’d highly suggest packing a comfortable pair of wireless, kid-sized headphones so your child can enjoy all the entertainment without disrupting other passengers.
Our favorites are the Untangled Pro Bluetooth Kids Headphones from LilGadgets. They do an amazing job of canceling out the surrounding noises while still being super soft and comfortable for extended use. They are wireless so you don’t need to worry about your kid getting tangled up or unplugging every time your child wants to move around in the seat. The Untangled Pro also includes the LilGadgets SharePort so can kids share in the fun. That makes it way easier for me to listen in and participate in games as well.
Anyone heading out on a long flight with kids should invest in headphones.
I find it best to keep the same nighttime and naptime routine that we do at home.
Also, I try to get them to the airport well-rested to make the boarding process as easy as possible.
When kids skip their nap or sleep time, that’s when they are most likely to have meltdowns.
Pack Enough Food to Get Through Delays
Remember to bring enough baby formula, baby food, and snacks for the length of your trip. Yes, most destinations have baby food and formula available, but what if they don’t have the products and brands your baby likes? It’s important not only to bring enough formula or food for the length of the trip but prepare for delays as well. You never know when the time between meals will get extended. It could be a delayed flight, unexpected traffic getting to your hotel, or a tour that takes a bit longer than you thought it would.
It’s not just babies that might require certain foods. Max is obsessed with Cheerios and cereal bars. I always make sure to pack plenty regardless of where we are traveling. If he doesn’t like the food on the plane or when we arrive at a destination, I know I have something for him to eat.
Pack Extra Clothes for Both of You
When you’re traveling with kids, always make sure you have an extra outfit packed and accessible, not just for your kid, but for yourself. Spit ups, accidents, and spills happen, regardless of the age.
On a previous flight, when Athena was still in diapers, her wet diaper leaked through her pants and onto mine as well. In the preparation of it all, I forget to pack anything extra for me to wear so I had to smell like I peed myself for five more hours before arriving at our final destination. Be prepared!
It’s great if you can get your child into a clean diaper and new outfit. But the rest of that flight will be unpleasant for you if you have a soaked pair of pants or a dirty shirt.
I pack a change of clothes in a Ziploc bag. Then, if there is an accident, I can take out the Ziploc, change him, and put the dirty clothes straight in the Ziploc and seal.
It’s always good to be prepared, but it’s important to go with the right attitude. I go into every flight knowing that it could be a rough day, but it will pass. I make plans for what we’ll do if the kids don’t sleep and then I’m super happy if they do. I always remember that traveling with my kids comes with so many rewards that even the longest flights are worth it.