8 ways to fly with kids without losing your sanity

Expat life
31 Jul 2023
8 mins read
Written by Riona lye

We all love our precious little bundles of joy. But when it comes to travelling with them, it’s enough to make your anxiety levels skyrocket. Every possible scenario of things going wrong plays out in your head as you pack up the diaper bag and head to the airport.


And let’s be honest, travelling with a crying, tantrum-throwing baby or toddler isn’t exactly a party. You’re left with judgmental stares from other passengers and a feeling of complete helplessness.


If you’re desperately searching for tips on how to survive travelling with toddlers, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got eight survival tips that will hopefully make that flight fly by quicker than your little one’s nap time.


Unblocked ears make happy kids

Parents, let’s be real here. Flying with kids is like playing Russian Roulette – you never know what you’re going to get. But we all know the worst part: the crying. It’s enough to make you want to avoid planes altogether. But did you know that the relentless crying is all because of the pressure change during take-off and landing? It messes with their precious little ears and amplifies the discomfort. Don’t give up on travel just yet. There are a few solutions that can save you hours of wailing and piercing glares from fellow passengers.


Before your flight, give your kiddo something to chew or suck on during take-off and landing. It helps regulate the pressure in the ear canal, which can soothe pain and prevent freakouts. And if your child is already dealing with a stuffy nose, the pain can increase two-fold. Do yourself a favour and use saline nasal spray for a few days before your trip.


Bring lots of snacks

Kids are insatiable creatures. If they’re not running around, they’re eating. And if they’re not eating, they’re probably eating more. I mean, who knew little bodies could hold so much food? And let’s not even start with the boredom. Kids get bored faster than you can say “snack time.” That’s why I always have a stash of snacks on hand.


And milk powder? Oh, you better believe it’s in my arsenal. But keeping them on a schedule is key. Trust me, you don’t want to deal with the confusion of a jet-lagged, food-crazed child. So, stock up on snacks and stick to their routine. It’s the only way to survive.


Bring your own headphones

The sound of an aeroplane engine can be the absolute worst. Sure, some people claim to love that white noise, but for the rest of us, it’s a one-way ticket to freakout city.


And don’t even get us started on those airline headphones. They never fit my ears right and they’re just so uncomfortable. Plus, they don’t even do a good job of blocking out the engine noise. If you have a kid with you, you’ll probably find them cranking up the volume to max, in an effort to drown out the surrounding noise. And that’s a recipe for a headache and major discomfort.


So do yourself (and your kids) a favour and invest in some noise-cancelling earphones. It will make your flight experience so much more pleasant, and you’ll thank yourself later.


Download entertainment and pack small toys

Sigh Parents have all these grand ideas about limiting their child’s screen time. But let’s face it, sometimes you just need to keep them entertained. It’s not like we can pack all their favourite toys in a suitcase! So, what’s a parent to do? Well, you can always download a variety of entertainment on your phone or tablet.


That includes shows, colouring books, and sticker books. Of course, you should throw in some new games or toys too. Maybe you can even buy some at the airport. Trust me, the novelty of a new toy may be the only thing that can keep them occupied for more than five minutes.


Bring comfort objects

Alright, so maybe you’re already dreading the thought of your kid dragging their tattered old blanket or slobbered-on stuffed animal through the airport, risking every germ imaginable. But let’s face it, these things are more than just “comfort objects.”


They’re little tokens of security and familiarity that can make all the difference in a child’s confidence and sense of adventure. Don’t underestimate the power of a trusty teddy bear in helping your child try new things, navigate social situations, or cope with separation anxiety.


So go ahead and pack that musty old thing in your luggage – a little extra laundry later won’t kill you. And who knows, it just might be the key to keeping your little one calm and content on your next flight.


Pack extra diapers and clothes

Don’t forget to bring extra clothes because spills, accidents, and throw up are all just waiting to happen. And hey, while you’re at it, bring extra socks.


Because maybe they’ll get too hot or too cold.


Book window seats

As if the thought of navigating an airport with a stroller and a diaper bag weren’t enough, we have to worry about keeping them entertained on the plane too. If there’s one thing that might make things a little easier, it’s booking window seats.


It’s not a surefire solution but watching the world outside can be an activity in itself. And if you have a window seat, apparently raising the shade up and down a million times can keep them entertained for hours. Not sure about you, but anything to avoid a meltdown mid-air seems like a win to me.


Sometimes the premium economy is much better than the business class

Sure, you might think that shelling out the extra cash for a business class seat for your little one would solve all of your problems but think again.


Most airlines require that kids over the age of two have their own seats, which means you’ll still be dealing with all of the same challenges.


Trust me, that divider in the middle of two business-class seats can be a real pain when it comes to feeding and belting in your little one. But with premium economy, you’re more likely to snag a front-row seat – and if you can book early enough, you might even secure a coveted bassinet.


With more space and more flexibility for your little one to move around, the premium economy just might be the way to go.


It’s not going to be as bad as you imagine

If you’re feeling a bit defeated after reading this far, don’t worry, you’re not alone. The thought of travelling with your little one can be daunting, but trust me, it’s something that has to be done sooner or later. And let’s be honest, there’s no right or wrong age to do it. Every child is different and might surprise you in ways you never thought possible.


That being said, there’s one thing you shouldn’t worry about: the other passengers. You cannot control what they think or how they behave. So why bother? Instead, focus on the things you CAN control like making sure you have enough adults to help out and showing your little one that flying on a plane can be a fun experience.


Before you go…

Let’s not forget about the money. Travelling with kids can sometimes drain your bank account faster than you can say “Feed the meter.”


With Instarem amaze card, can save some serious moolah – Pair up with any Mastercard bank cards or top up your amaze wallet and you get to avoid extra fees charged and enjoy fantastic FX rates with every overseas purchase.


Plus, you can keep track of your spending and earn InstaPoints on FX spends and redeem them as cashback or discounts on overseas money transfers.


That way, you’ll have more time to focus on keeping your little ones happy instead of stressing about your finances.


So go ahead, and book that family vacation you’ve been dreaming of. Just be sure to bring plenty of snacks and entertainment to keep your little ones occupied, because we all know how expensive those in-flight snacks can be.


Sign up via the Instarem app and get your virtual card instantly! It’s totally free. 


Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. All details are accurate at the time of publishing. Instarem has no affiliation or relationship with products or vendors mentioned.

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