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The Joy of Travel

Travelling with kids over the holidays

You’ve settled into your seat, stowed away your hand luggage and readied your reading material. Glancing around you notice there are a couple of empty seats close by. “Hmmm … might just be a relaxing flight after all!” And then it happens. The harried woman with the crying baby on her hip and toddler in tow is coming towards you …….. “NO!” you silently groan ……

We’ve all been there in one form or another. I was once that frantic woman trying her best to keep her kids quiet and well-behaved and now in later years have been the fellow passenger suffering through the temper tantrums and seat-kicking of the pre-schooler behind me.

Obviously nothing is foolproof but with a little advance planning and following some of these helpful hints you will minimize the stress of airplane travel on your little ones.

1.  When initially booking your flights remember to try and schedule its departure around your child’s sleeping routine. Try to maintain their napping and eating schedule if possible. If you’d like to avoid crowds, book flights either mid-afternoon, late evening and/or early in the week.

2.  Always pre-reserve your seats. It’s the only way to guarantee that your children sit with you. When looking at the seating charts try to book the seats at the back of the plane. This way the flight attendants are better able to assist with the little ones during their breaks and you are also close to the bathrooms for those necessary diaper changes and potty breaks.

3.  Get to the airport early! It is essential to give the little ones time to decompress before boarding the flight. Let them burn off that extra energy on some of the indoor playgrounds found at some airports or simply by walking, running or crawling about.

4.  There are mixed feelings in regards to Pre-Boarding. Boarding early does allow you to stash away the luggage and get set up with games, toys and snacks but it also requires sitting in a small cramped and hot environment until departure. Perfect conditions for a meltdown. If two parents are travelling I recommend that one go ahead with the luggage, etc and the other remain in the boarding area “exercising” the kids until final boarding.

5.  During the flight reward your children for good behaviour with a little gift on an hourly basis. Nothing expensive. Simply fun, little dollar store trinkets wrapped in brightly coloured tissue paper. They will love it!

6.  Don’t rely on the airline to provide snacks for the children. Bring along your own non-sugary, non-sticky goodies. Cheese strips, pretzels and dried fruit all make good choices.

7.  During landing be sure to have the babies on the bottle or nursing and the toddlers should either chew gum or drink a juice box to help alleviate the dreaded ear pressure change.

And remember, if all else fails ….. the flight will eventually come to an end ….. you’ll calmly collect your belongings and children and leave the aircraft never to see any of those disgruntled fellow passengers again!

Read more The Joy of Travel articles


About the Author

Joy McGinnis has been a professional travel consultant for over 25 years.  Her personal love of travel is obvious to her clientele and she truly enjoys creating unique and memorable vacation experiences for them.  "The Joy of Travel" is a collection of her travel exploits, helpful hints and valuable insights into many of today's top travel trends.


You can contact Joy by e-mail:  [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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