My tips for travelling with young children

September 6, 2013

After a wonderful, lazy summer in the Seattle area with my family, we have just returned this week back to London. Every summer my husband flies out there with us, but unfortunately can’t stay the entire time… which means that every year I end up flying back home solo with all the kids.  It’s the teensy price I pay for a nice, long, extended holiday with my family. Totally worth the trek!

Plus, I feel like I’m getting kind of good at it by now. Or maybe it’s that my kids are getting good at it and that makes an enormous difference. In any case, I thought I would share with you some of my simple tips for (long-haul) flying with young kids…

I hope these tips were somewhat helpful and not just redundant things everyone already knows. Please feel free to add any tips I may have forgotten below.  And lastly, I’ve written my tips for beating jet-lag here if you’re interested.

xx Courtney

p.s. Photo above is of my children on the ferry overlooking Seattle, and a photo of Marlow in the Ergo carrier.


Comments (13)

September 6, 2013

Great tips, it is funny how easy it is to forget to get kids to go to the toilet before boarding a plane!

September 6, 2013

We live in Asia. Travel to Canada and UK twice a year. We travel as a family and I return on own with kids. We like the trunki suitcases. Great to pull the kids and they are small but yet you can fit so much. Airports are big and too much walking for little legs! Don’t do iphones and ipads and not planning to. My list of things that I prepare beforehand and surprise and pull out for them. Mine are 5 and 7. Pack anything flat and small, stickers, origami paper, small puzzles, 3D paper building things, foam sticker pictures, mosaic square pictures, deck of cards, travel games and I love Usborne activity cards. Oh and I like to sit close to the bathroom actually.

September 6, 2013

Great tips! I totally agree with taking a carrier instead of a stroller. There are times when a stroller comes in handy, but dealing with it while boarding and disembarking is an awful pain plus sometimes even if you gate check it, it has to be claimed with baggage. I have three girls, so this may not apply to everyone, but I have a set of markers for each girl just for traveling and we usually get a new coloring book and/or the Usborne sticker doll books (these keep them occupied for hours!). And yes, things are so much easier once the kids are 4-5 and above.

September 6, 2013

I always travel with a backpack as my carry-on bag. You can easily manage a backpack and a baby carrier leaving hands free for older toddlers/kids. I agree completely about raisins and other small snacks. This can keep kids busy for a LONG time.
We also try to do a day flight where possible (our children are 3 and 6 mths). A red eye with a toddler is no fun for anyone. Much less stressful to travel during the day.
I also tend to pack each child’s items in ziplock baggies and put these in the backpack. I can then easily grab whichever bag I need and it stays organised (ie. nappies/wipes/changing mat all in one bag).

September 7, 2013

Great tips Courtney, one I would add if you are travelling really long flights (Australia to Europe as I do – about 30 hours) limit the kids exposure to videos & electronic devices as they get over stimulated and then can’t get to sleep. You don’t want a child who is so tired that they can’t fall asleep & then start getting very loudly distressed when the rest of the plane is asleep!!!!

September 7, 2013

Great tips and so true about how helpful others can be. I flew back to Bristol via Amsterdam from Las Vegas with a stopover in NY (whoa! never typed out all the cities we had to stop in before…) with my 3 month old and 2 yr old on my own. I don’t think I could have coped with all the bags, travel buggy and kids without the kindness of strangers. Peter from Amsterdam will always be my hero.

September 9, 2013

so, so true. i just experienced my first flight with elodie being able to watch a movie independently. it was such a dream! such great tips. xo

September 10, 2013

These are such good tips! I am just in awe of anyone who undertakes trans-continental travel on their own with more than one child. We can’t stop debating back and forth whether or not do do it this fall with two kids (1 and 2.5 years old) and two adults. The jet lag stresses me out the most and the air travel stresses my husband out (our 1 year old doesn’t really sit still). Great post!
I compiled my best tips a little while ago:

sian robinson
September 11, 2013

could i just add another….. i usually dress my kids in the same coloured clothes, name tag bracelet, and i take a quick photo (on my iphone/mobile) of them both before i leave just in case they get lost and i can share the latest photo with the police/security.
then i relax! x

September 21, 2013

Great tips! My life saver this summer was a tiny sticker book with reusable stickers – I was surprised my 18 month old actually loved this! I thought he’d be too young. Also one of those magnetic drawing board thingys – you draw with the magnetic pen & then swipe clean – a pound shop find that he LOVED! Final tip for us is when travelling together sit separately – you can trade off turns at entertaining the baby, baby gets a change of scene & mama & dada get regular breaks! X x

September 21, 2013

Great tips! We travel quite a bit to Montreal from Halifax and these will help for sure. The one thing that we always were concerned about was being comfortable as they slept (hated seeing them slumped over). So that’s why we came up with the Amiba Monsters. Let me know what you think Courtney! Keep up the great articles!

November 6, 2013

[…] My Tips for Traveling with Young Children Try to avoid over-packing. It just will result in more things you have to carry through the airport. […]

November 11, 2013

[…] My Tips for Traveling with Young Children Try to avoid over-packing. It just will result in more things you have to carry through the airport. […]

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