Are you about to fly long haul with kids? How do you feel about that?
For most of us, the thought of traveling on planes with small kids is enough to induce little bouts of internal hysteria. How will you cope (often on your own!)? How will you keep your kids still, in their seats and most of all quiet? Have you downloaded all these educational apps for your kids? We can’t promise to solve all your travel problems but with this handy guide to travel accessories compiled by real jet-setter mamas – why yes the answer is not just an ipad! (some of them are even DIY) -we hope we can at least bring you some calm before your trip!
Check out our gallery for all our travel essentials for kids!
Why I love it: On multiple occasions when our daughter was in the “too young to watch videos” stage, you would’ve found my husband and me up in the wee hours before a morning flight blearily stringing Cheerios onto a length of thread. It was SO worth it, though, because it kept her little hands occupied for nearly an hour at a time while also satisfying a snack craving in a not-entirely-unhealthy way. The longer, the better (and I highly suggest making a few for the flight there and back)!
Age: Good for any age
Why I love it: I generally starve my kids of screen time in pursuit of the low media child. This practice goes completely out the window when we travel – we load the ipad with all the best apps (yes the kids have to share one #siblingrivalry) and they can binge watch to their heart’s content until they eventually crash from the exertion. Cue mama wine time.
Age: Good for 2 years+
Why I love it: Together with the iPad, this is the ultimate accessory for travel as otherwise they would drive everyone around them (me mainly) crazy with the sounds of their games and movies. I also like that these are made for kids so they fit snugly on their heads/ears and block out some of the airplane noise. Another reason I like them is that the volume is controllable, ensuring it stays within safe levels that won’t damage their hearing.
Why I love it: My kids used to get sick after every long haul flight and if there’s anything worse then starting a holiday with massively jet lagged kids its starting a holiday with massively jet lagged kids who are sick. The last few times we have traveled I have wiped down every surface of our seats, tray table, remote control and armrests and amazingly the kids were sniffle-free. You do get odd looks but that’s a small price to pay in my eyes.
Age: Baby to 18 months
Why I love it: Does your baby or toddler love pulling stuff out of boxes or baskets? (Is the sky blue?) Another hit when my daughter was about 1, the scarf-in-a-box kept her occupied for big chunks of time, plus it’s portable and mess-free! As a bonus it’s great for working on fine motor skills. I actually cut a hole in the bottom of the box, then strung a few scarves together in one long loop so we never had to bother with repacking the box!
Age: Good for 0-5 years
Why I love it: Although my son is old enough not to have to wear nappies during the day he still wears nappies at night. When flying, especially for long haul flights allowing him to wear nappies allows him to sleep through the night and saves me having to take him to the toilet endless times.
Age: From age 3 and up
Why I love it: Packing their own rucksack is a ritual in our family (but I usually do a double check and take half of it out). First thing chucked in is their squishy travel pillow which doubles up as their cuddly toy for the trip. When they get on the plane, my kids change into PJs for their night flight and slip their travel pillows around their necks ready for take-off.
Age: Depends on carrier
Why we love it: The ultimate hands-free solution! Carry your baby in a carrier (some like the Ergo have hoods to cover baby’s face and let them sleep) while you have your hands free for luggage or siblings. Plus carriers are great for getting bubs asleep once in the air).
Age: From age 2 and up
Why I love it: Longhaul flights with my kids meant mama getting scrunched up in a tiny corner of a seat in an odd contorted position for 10 hours. Meanwhile my kids having the perfect sleep laid flat across me – one on either side. I would arrive with a stiff back and neck feeling as though I had run a marathon. The 1st Class Travel Pillow was a marvellous invention. An inflatable foot rest that fits in the gap in-between the plane seats so that your kid can stretch out to sleep in front of them. Leaving mama to relax, watch a movie and have a glass of wine.
Why we love it: For the little ones with little attention span, having a variety of snacks on hand is a must. From cut up fruit, blueberries, cucumber sticks to yogurt sachets and finger foods (cheerios, home made biscuits, puffs). If you keep the snacks in little compartments (Daiso as a huge range) then accessing the snacks becomes entertainment in itself.
Why we love it: If your kids are glued to the screen for the entire trip there will be a meltdown at some point, so it’s helpful to have activities planned to break up screen time and give their eyes a rest. Hopefully kids will sleep. For the time in between pack: colouring books, scratch off books (Smiggle, Daiso), sticker books, cheap toys from Daiso (wrap them up for extra entertainment), a new small toy/lego/car/cuddly.
Why I love it: For when you’re lucky enough to get the little ones to fall asleep! I love to sneak in a sheet mask so my face doesn’t get that awful tight and dry feeling when I get off the plane. It may look odd and the cabin crew might throw major side-eye but at least you’ll arrive at your destination with plump, hydrated skin.
Cheerios necklace image from Besos Alina sourced via Pinterest
Babies with iPad image by Jelleke Vanooteghem via Unsplash
Kids headphones image by @jerilynmoon sourced via JBL
Antibacterial wipes image from Reader’s Digest
Scarf-in-a-box image left: Bhinderer
Diaper bag image from @lilijadeco
Travel pillow image from Amazon
Baby carrier image sourced via Pinterest
Snacks image by My Frugal Adventures
Colouring image by Kidsplay via YouTube
Sheet mask image by Chrissy Teigen via InStyle