The idea of travelling abroad with kids is probably enough to give even the most confident parent the willies. Nobody looks forward to hauling all of your luggage through the airport with a tired and grumpy child (or worse, children) in tow, and the prospect of keeping them seated, quiet, and content for hours on end can be terrifying.
You can find our primer at the ABTA and explore the below tips on how to travel abroad with kids. While we can’t promise that your kids won’t have a breakdown while 45,000 feet in the sky, these following travel tips can help simplify your travel and keep everyone sane.
The first step is to get to the airport early as it can be time consuming to get through the airport security in any circumstances and you won’t be as able to make a last minute sprint to your gate with your kids in tow. The spare time at the airport will give your child a chance to exercise in an empty gate area or an airport play area in between the long car ride and the flight. If possible, check in and secure your seat assignment online before you leave for the airport but don’t forget to print the boarding passes and put them in your bag. Also, be sure to pack your itinerary with any phone numbers you might need and a map of your destination in your carryon luggage. Nothing is worse than getting lost and trying to find your hotel with tired children.
Hopefully you have already checked in online and just need to drop off your baggage once you get to the airport. If the line is long, the open spaces in the airport can be a good place to let the kids run around a bit while one parent waits in line to check in the bags. Remember to stay close by in case the gate agent needs to see each of you while checking your passports. Don’t check in your pram unless you plan on carrying your child in a sling. Most airlines will let you push your stroller all the way to the gate, they’ll then check it in and have it waiting for you outside the plane door when you land. Some airlines will even let you bring a small pram on board if there is enough space. Make sure that your stroller has a tag with your name, address, and phone number on it.
The most important thing you can do to ease your trip through security is to have everything organised ahead of time. Having lots of loose items, stuff hanging off the buggy and in the basket underneath will take forever to gather and you will risk leaving something behind. Explain to your kids exactly what will happen. If there is a family lane, take advantage of it! At most airports, the family lane has extra agents to help families gather their belongings and often there is a little bit of extra room where kids can put on shoes.
Your children have probably cooperated (or not) with a lot of craziness up to this point. Hopefully you’ve still got enough time at the airport for you to give them a break and take care of their needs before boarding. Get them a snack, change nappies and visit the restroom. Now is also the time to tire your kids out so that they will sleep on the plane. Explore with them and give them a good run around so the flight can be incident free.
About the Author
Robert is a travel writer and blogger.