Monday, 15 October 2012

Travelling Made Easy With Children

I am the first to admit it! The fact that my gorgeous, snuggly little babies have started to turn into very independent, quite confident little people, does bring an occasional tear to my eye, but on the upside it has made travelling and flying so much easier.

Back in 2001 we undertook our first family holiday to Far North Queensland, with a very boisterous 2 year old little boy and a almost 3 month old placid baby girl, which over the years became our favourite holiday destination.

Before we knew it our little brood had extended to 4 children under the age of 5 years old and we were carting capsules, double strollers, floaties and swimming tubes, nappies, toys, books (anything to keep the children entertained on the 4 hour domestic flight) not to mention throw in a Baby Bjorn and of course your hubbies fishing rods and you almost have free tickets to a circus.....

Roll on July 2010 and life seems a whole lot easier when travelling with your children.
After travelling extensively for business and the annual domestic holiday our children got their first taste of international travel with their first international experience travelling to Malaysia. The hard work was done, and after a considerable amount of paperwork our children were the very proud owners of their first passports....look out we come!!!


You've spent countless months preparing the family for the big day, and it has finally arrived. You've packed wisely , have all of your travel documentation and passports organised. If travelling overseas it helps to choose a flight that coincide's with bed time, and it helps to be stocked up on new iPad downloads, all for the sake of the children, just incase your inflight entertainment breaks down or worse still there is none....choose another airline, if this is the case.
You know you can't plan for everything, but you've planned for what you can. Now it's time to put that plan into motion.



Always allow at least 2 hours when arriving at the airport to check in, especially when kids are involved: Give yourself plenty of time., especially when you have children in tow. If you're traveling during school vacations, chances are good the airport will be crowded with other families doing the same. I would recommend arriving at least 2 hours ahead of your scheduled departure., as from check in, luggage drop off , security and customs, you will be lucky to have a quick bite to eat, toilet stop and a quick browse through duty free. Keep in mind that if you miss your designated flight, it can be very difficult for you to find enough seats or seats together on a later flight, and also put a damper on your holiday.


 Take advantage of online check-in, and print your boarding passes ahead of time from home. It will save you aggravation and time at the airport; more importantly, getting seat assignments near one another is imperative when traveling in a group, especially on full or sold-out flights. Make sure you have your seats assigned together ahead of time when you book, or call before the flight to arrange it. 


If you are travelling with kids consider asking for a seat in the back of the plane. If there are any empty seats left on the flight, chances are they will be there, and you might have extra room to stretch out. In addition, you are closer to the bathrooms, will have extra standing space and will have flight attendants close at hand, if you need them.

Carry on only what you need 

Now that our children are all old enough to be responsible for a piece of luggage each, they have their own carry on size suitcases. Children, ages 4 and older, should be able to manage their own small carry-on bags through the airport. Something with wheels or a small backpack is ideal. We purchased these cabin bags for our children last year from Surfstitch, and they have been a blessing in disguise. Not only do they look funky and on trend, they are also very versatile, quite spacious, easy to manoeuvre for small hands and for the girls we had the option to purchase a vanity/make-up case that attaches to the top of the handle...excellent for all of your daughters girlie bits and pieces, that she can't live without. For the girls we chose Billabong and the boys love their Volcom Cabin bags, a very functional piece of luggage that will make your travelling so much simpler.

 Older kids can also help wheel the checked bags inside — giving your children jobs to do will keep them focused and make your life so much easier. When travelling internationally, we always try and travel as lightly as we can and especially on a beach holiday, we take advantage of the resorts in house laundry service, which in Asia is super cheap, washed and pressed, ( I now have all of my laundry washed and ironed the day before we leave, so that when we arrive home, it only needs to be put away..MAGIC!!).

My husband and I also carry on board and check one large piece, for any extra holiday shopping.
Carrying on board, also eliminates the down time waiting for your luggage at your destination and after experiencing lost luggage in South America, which turned up 6 days later, luckily we had amazing travel insurance but at least you have pretty much everything you need on board and bathers can be accessed easily once you have hit your tropical destination.

 Even though it may feel like you need to pack half the house in your carry-on, be realistic about what you really need with you, and if you don't have what you need, this is the perfect excuse for shopping, which is always novel overseas.  Carting unnecessary weight can be as unpleasant as having too little. Try to pack a few surprises for the kids in your carry-on, if necessary, but my children love the inflight movies and computer games that if they are not sleeping they are easily entertained.

  • Again, you'll do the real planning for this at home, but double check your items before getting in the security line. You must be aware of the restrictions and size, weight limits for carry-on baggage. Also be aware on the restrictions for liquids and gels.
 Keep adult boarding passes and ID's handy, I always take charge of these and have the 6 ready to go when required, with minimum fuss as you will be asked to present these while passing through security.

When passing through security talk to your children about the process and what this involves  beforehand. If you don't fly often, discuss with your children ahead of time what this process will be like and what will be expected of them. When passing through security and x-ray, make sure your children are aware that everything must be scanned, (Including themselves through the metal detector) and including their favourite teddy or blanky, as this did upset my 2 youngest on our first international holiday, when they physically had to have them taken away and x-rayed, which was a little distressing for them at the time.

Don't just sit there......

Well done!!!  You've made it through what is generally the least pleasant part of the airport experience with your children, you should have some time to kill. Duty free shopping or browsing is always high on the list with my children, The boys love checking out the gadgets and latest apple products and us girls love exploring the fragrance and cosmetics department.  Take advantage of the opportunity to move while you still can.


I recently wised up...partly due to my online shopping addiction..(haha), that you can now pre purchase all of your duty free goods online and collect them on you incoming flight. This is a brilliant concept as it saves on carting your latest fragrance's, MAC make up products , Alcohol or tobacco overseas

Feed The Children

Airport food courts and restaurants are a great place to waste some time, and they also serve a practical purpose. Generally speaking you won't be getting anything overly exciting on the plane, except for maybe the odd ice-cream or Fererro Roche, but the children generally screw their noses up at fish curries or sausages , tomatoes' and eggs....... so feed the kids now. 

Take advantage of airline lounges

If you can, absolutely take advantage of airline lounges when traveling with your kids. Once primarily full of business travelers, you now see many more families making use of them, so much so that many have even added separate rooms with cinemas and bean bags for the children etc...


They'll inevitably have to go again as soon as you're seated, but do it anyway. 


Make sure you make it back to your gate in time for the first boarding call at least half hour ahead of time — but not too long before. Normally, families traveling with young children are allowed to board right after the first-class and elite passengers. Take advantage of this, especially if you are traveling with a lot of carry on luggage.


1 comment:

  1. Bjorn and of course your hubbies fishing rods and you almost have free tickets to a circus...pool closing nj