Tips for Getting Through Long-Haul Flights With Children

Airport with children
Photo by Hanson Lu on Unsplash

We’ve said it before, but perhaps it bears repeating—as much as we love to travel, we can’t deny that it’s also inherently stressful. Air travel, in particular, can really test our patience, especially when it comes to long-haul flights. Add young children to the mix, and you’re practically asking for a nightmare at 30,000 feet. Even the calmest, most well-behaved children can struggle with the discomfort and disruption to routine, but with a little planning and proper preparation, traveling with children doesn’t have to be so difficult. Here are a few of our best tips to get you through. 

Entertainment is Key

Ensuring a smooth flight begins before it’s even time to board the plane. Sitting for hours in a small space can leave kids feeling bored and frustrated, so it’s essential to prepare things to keep them entertained. Pack a designated bag with their favorite books, toys, and electronic devices with headphones. Download movies or shows in advance, and keep chargers handy in case batteries get low. Most important of all, include plenty of healthy snacks to prevent hunger-induced meltdowns.

Stick to Routine

Kids thrive on routine, so try to maintain a semblance of your child’s regular schedule as much as possible throughout your flight. Bring familiar sleep-related items like blankets or stuffed animals and offer them at your child’s regular nap and bedtimes to encourage sleep. If their meal times don’t happen to align with the plane’s schedule, offer snacks, or hold onto their food until it’s time for them to eat later on.

Choose Your Seats Wisely

If you have the option to choose your seats, opt for aisle seats that are close to the bathroom. You’ll be able to get up and down as needed without having to climb over your neighbors and get to the toilet more quickly when your child needs to go. When traveling as a family or group, try to book your seats in a row so you have more space to spread out.