Traveling with Children Hints and Tips (for long haul flights - with packing lists etc, how to’s)
Long Distance flights with Children and Preparing & Packing for Vacation
“Find your own way of preparing for long-distance travel with Children and travel becomes that much more fun"
Whether you are a seasoned or a first-time long-distance traveller, preparing for long-distance travel with the children can be nerve racking. You worry about what to pack, what not to pack, how to prepare for your holiday and then of course how to pack suitably for the airplane.
When preparing for travel, there are many things you can do beforehand to minimise pre-travel stress, from choosing your luggage to packing appropriate items.
How to pack your carry-on bag
Limited space in your carry-on luggage, coupled with the ever-growing number of items that you cannot bring on the plane can make packing your carry-on bag almost like a work of art. Deciding what to bring can drive you crazy with uncertainty, particularly, if you have babies or really young ones.
The most important thing to remember about packing your carry-on bag is to to pack it very carefully. Understand what is typically allowed on the plane and make sure you keep to those guidelines, otherwise you will find yourself in delays at the customs area having to unpack and repack your luggage, or having to throw out items that you did not declare or pack correctly.
Pack every item that goes in your bag within small bags grouped with like-items in a compartment type fashion. (also known as organiser bags, packing cubes etc). For instance, food stuffs in one bag, electrical items (phone chargers, earphones etc) in a separate bag, baby changing and additional clothing in a separate bag and so on. The goal is to make it simple to access the items you need. You can find these at many luggage and bag stores, and for the inexpensive kind, visit Daiso stores or similar.
Forget to place the items that you are unsure about taking in your carry-on bags in a plastic zip lock bag. Items like creams, make-up, baby liquids and medicines etc.
Carry On Packing List
An appropriate Bag for travel
A good book/iPad
Inflatable neck pillow
Carry on for baby
Foldable Mat for changing baby's diaper
Small bottle of sanitiser
Small plastic bag(s)
Lightweight plastic feeding set
Tips/Hints for Packing your Carry-on Bags (especially with little people)
* Use a diaper bag with waterproof lining and a shoulder strap
* Be prepared for leaky diapers and baby spit-up on the airplane. Take an extra outfit or two for your baby - and an extra lightweight shirt for you - into your carry-on bag
* Prevent leaks by packing medicines and toiletries in resealable plastic bags - the airline will thank you (and prefer this) too.
* Pack each of your baby's outfits in its own zipped plastic bag so you don't need to look around for tiny socks, shirts etc.
* Take a clip-on reading light (if you prefer to read physical books) - so not to disturb baby.
Packing your luggage for the vacation
The way you pack your luggage will determine how many and what size suitcases you will need to bring with you on vacation, and nobody enjoys carrying too many and unnecessary pieces of luggage. There are a few ways to maximise the space in your suitcases and ways to determine if you really need to bring those extra pair of swimmers or shoes.
Start preparing to pack a few days before you travel (if not 1-2 weeks before). Keep a running list of things you need to take, or casually put the items into a suitcase as you think of them... ready for the 'final' pack.
Use individual bags (organiser bags, packing cubes etc) to pack like-things into the suitcase - this helps keep items together, not to mention it makes unpacking fast and simple when you reach your destination.
Pack and group your clothing items in the way that will give you an idea of what clothes go together as a set. This will also help control the number of items that you pack. Applying this to the children's items in particular, will help minimise the overall load of your luggage.
Buy a good, solid but lightweight bag. Consider the weight of the actual bag first before purchasing it. If it is heavy, it may reduce the amount of weight or items that you will be able to fit within the suitcase.
Methodically pack your items - outfit by outfit. Choose shoes that can match multiple outfits.
Coordinate and pack your socks and hosiery into your shoes. This minimises space and also allows you to remember what hosiery and socks go with which shoes and outfit, not to mention preventing you to get caught without the appropriate accessories.
Remember to pack your shoes in a shoe bag/box, this will keep them together and also away from your clean clothing items.
Keep your underwear in a bra/underwear bag- this will preserve your underwear and also keep underwear items together, which makes it easy when unpacking your bags.
Not sure what to pack in your Luggage?
The Necessities / Don’t Forget
Airline Tickets Itineraries
Any Reservation confirmation(s)
Tour / Cruise Confirmations
Passport / Personal ID
Tourist Visa documentation (if required)
Travel / Medical Insurance (if necessary)
Credit / Debit Cards
Traveler's Cheques (if appropriate)
Appropriate Purse / Bags
Tooth Brushes & Tooth Paste
Shower Gel, Soap
Contact Lenses & supplies
Feminine Hygiene items
Hair Accessories (dryer, curling wand)
First Aid items (bandaids / pain relievers/baby & child panadol)
Insect Repellent Lip Balm
Sleepwear Underwear/ Boxers
Extras for Children
Underwear and socks
A Hat (each)
Car Seat / Booster
Watches and Jewellery
Glasses (reading/sunglasses) case
Contact Lenses (+ cleaning agents and spare pairs)
Travel Planning Gear
Other Travelling Items
Books, journals, notebooks
Sleeping mask, travel pillow, ear plugs
Luggage locks Sewing kit
Hidden Money Pack
Shirts, t-shirts, tank tops
Sweaters, Coats, Jackets
Swimsuits, Rashie’s / surf top / sun shirt
Hats / ties / gloves / scarfs
Athletic shoes (joggers/runners)
Leisure shoes (thongs/flip flops)
Phones + chargers iPads/PC’s + chargers
Voltage and Adaptors /converters
iPods + chargers
Camera Gear + batteries & charger
Water and Food Bowl(s) Snacks
Copies of travel docs
Credit / Debit cards
Medical insurance details
Travel insurance details
Children’s Immunisation card Marriage and Birth certificates
Extras for Baby
Formula and bottles
Food containers and spoons
Onesies, Pyjamas, socks
Slingback or baby carrier
Inflatable bath tub
Maybes you may decide to bring..
Hints for the family who REALLY want to pack light
1- pack a suitcase that is smaller than you ideally want it to be - this way you quickly begin to think of ways that you can cut down your luggage. If you finish packing your bag(s) and the chosen suitcase will not quite close without it bulging at the seams, then perhaps then go up to the next size… but whatever you do… do not add anymore items - this defeats the purpose of trying pack light.
2- In the last week or two leading up to your holidays, start packing your toiletry bags. We all tend to take too many items with us in our toiletry bag, convincing ourselves that we need every jar of facial and hand cream. Choose your toiletry bags(s) and start using it as your daily ‘bag of toiletries’. This will prepare you for what you really do use in a typical week, and you can then pack accordingly and possibly more lightweight than you typically would.
3 - Have your children choose a handful of their favourite items to take - Depending on what your children are interested in at the time, it can be difficult to minimise the toys that they want to bring without it being a huge problem when you reach your destination. Does this sound familiar? “I want the red car (or big doll) and we didn't bring it… I want to go home to get it?”. In the week leading up to travel, have the children keep a bucket with the toys and items that they wish to bring. On the day that you are traveling, have them revisit this bucket and decide on the toys that you call allow. Be fair but strict! If you have any room left in the luggage, you may wish to revisit and reflow the larger buckets and spades.
5 Items that make Travel so much easier….
Amongst your luggage you will have those special items that will make travelling with the children that much easier. When travelling with children, you will want to pack more than you can physically take, however, most probably you will be limited by space.
Here are 5 great travel items that you may wish to take with you, especially for the plane journey...
Packing Cubes / Bags -
One of the best items you can have in your suitcase is a set of packing bags/cubes. When travelling, they keep everything separate and orderly. When you are not travelling you can use them as storage bags.
A perfectly planned Toiletry Bag -
Choose a toiletry bag that will suit the length of time of your vacation. Test the toiletry bag you have in the week leading up to when you will be travelling. This will determine which toiletry items you actually need, and how big your toiletry bag in fact needs to be.
International Adaptor -
Be careful when buying an international adaptor; find out if you (also) need a converter. Check what the plug, socket volt standards are in the country you will be travelling to. Also, research if the adaptor (you have or choose to BUY) will be applicable to the country you will be visiting.
A Small but good First Aid Kit -
You do not need to go overboard with the 10-ply specialty bandages, or precision-to-cut scissors, however, your travel First Aid kit should include at a minimum: an accurate digital thermometer, a bandage, bandaids, panadol (children’s and adult), a pair of scissors, nail clippers. In addition, it may not be a typical first aid kit item, however, you should not forget your small screw driver and/or swiss army knife equivalent. You never know when you may need them - but remember to put these in your checked luggage.
A well planned backpack -
If you are planning an adventure-packed holiday with loads of walking or a need to be constantly on the move, one of the most-needed travel items is a well planned and organised backpack, especially with children. Love them or hate them, backpacks are an essential item for efficient travelling. They enable you to fit the items that you require whilst keeping them secure and accessible.
The Ultimate Check List
Before travelling with the family on your next vacation consider the following items to arrange prior to taking off….
Booked and confirmed your travel? (flights, rail, bus, boat/ship)
Booked and confirmed your hotel/accommodation?
Chosen and booked your activities (hop-on hop-off bus, boat/cruises etc)
Remembered to book and confirm your travel to and from the airport (bus shuttle,car, rail etc
Arranged pet-sitting (if necessary)
Arranged a house-sitter (if necessary)
Paid off the Credit Card
Given your family or friends (a trusted person) an emergency number & itinerary
Arranged traveller's cheques (or whatever your form of money will be)
Cancelled the maintenance man, cleaner, pool service etc.
What Not to Forget to take with you..
Buy yourself a clear zip up bag - this should be the size a little larger than the size of your passports that can also fit 1 pen, and your ticket stubs.
(don't forget the extra passports for maiden names etc, if necessary)
Booking Reference Docs (for flights, hotel & activities etc) or all information saved online in your itinerary
Keep in mind, if places you are visiting require physical forms, print these out and keep them with your documents.
Essential medicines and thermometer for your children (& you) plus a mini first aid kit; bandaids etc
Spare batteries or at least the correct gear to charge electronics (e.g. camera batteries)
A copy of all paperwork (Passports, licences etc; in case you lose your bags/luggage, or at least keep a copy of these securely on your device (Phone, tablet etc).
What to Research and Prepare for..
Currency of region/country of destination
Weather at your chosen destination
Native Language spoken at your chosen destination (learn the basics)
Become familiar with the local cultures and practices (for eg. consider respectful clothing choices for travel to places like the Middle East & Asia etc)
Typical food and cuisine to expect when arriving at your chosen destination (as parents, we get frustrated if the foods are not the kids' favorites)
A good idea to remember to DO..
Typical Online Airline Check-In (if you wish to choose your airline seats)
Think about a solution to 'if you run into financial issues' (e.g.: if your purse gets stolen)
You may wish to consult with a friend/family member to be ready to transfer money just in case !
Walking out the door….last Minute checklist. Have you?...
Checked the windows and doors, and set the Alarm
Cleaned out the refrigerator - 'bin' all perishables.
Closed the drapes
Informed a trusted person of your whereabouts
Paid off the credit card
Arranged the transport at the other end (shuttle/train/taxi at your first night of stay)
Remembered to take all of the garbage out
Preparing for your Flight
Some parents use sweets and some others use games and activities. Preparing for your long-distance flight requires you to be calmer than you typically are, because flying long-distance can take it out of you! Long-haul flights can make you feel anxious with the possibility of hours upon hours ahead of you in a confined space.
There are some ways to entertain and keep your children happy whilst up in the air, of which can include…
* Remember to pack their favourite toy(s) and activities that you think will keep them busy for at least some time, at least possibly the plane ride
* If you tend to circulate their toys at home (ie: recycle them in and out of storage), bring out the new toy options literally a moment before you travel. This will excite the children and have them believe that they have a new toy to play with
* If your children have iPads, remember to load the iPad(s) with plenty of games, Apps and movies/tv shows. This will possibly reduce your anxiety ten-fold whilst you are up in the air. If you don’t typically allow the children to have plenty of iPad time, this may be that time where you let your restrictions slip somewhat. The kids will appreciate it, and so will you.
Remember to pack the paper, pencils/markers and books for the flights.
Take all of the children to the Restroom at the Gate (with plenty of time spare) prior to flight departure. There is nothing more difficult then having children desperately want to visit the bathroom as you are taking off - when you have literally no control when it comes to bathroom visits.
Feed the children too much junk food before you board the plane - even though it appeases their senses, this will only possibly drive you crazy on the plane with possible hyper activeness - which may lead you to want to tear your hair out trying to settle the children down during mid air flight.