Planning one of your child's first trips is extremely exciting. You want this to be a memorable trip so you've taken extra steps to find the best hotel and the shortest flight possible. As a traveling Australian family, you've probably researched where to buy travel insurance and found quality coverage to protect your family in the event of sickness or injury.
While planning a trip is definitely fun, traveling with a child is daunting. From packing the right items to keeping your child entertained on the flight, there are all sorts of things to plan for and worry about. Thankfully there are some things you can do beforehand to help your trip go as smoothly as possible.
1. Be Aware of Airline Fees
If you're traveling with a small child, it's important to know the charges and regulations that apply with taking your baby on the flight. Most airlines have different rules and others charge fees for some items while others don't. For example, some airlines charge full adult fare for a seat for your infant while others only charge a percentage. The good news is, almost all airlines give parents with small children priority boarding.
Check in with your airline a few days before your flight to ensure you have all of the important details. You can also likely find the information you need by browsing the airline’s website.
2. Plan for Every Situation
As parents, we all know that the unimaginable tends to happen when we're the least prepared for it. Since you'll be 30,000 feet in the air and at the mercy of your pilot, you'll want to prepare as much as possible before your trip. If you're traveling with a small child, you can never have too many snacks, wet wipes, or extra diapers. In fact, you can prepare for your carry-on bag to become a bag for keeping your child entertained and you sane. Take the time to pack all sorts of items including:
- Healthy snacks
- A change of clothing
- A tablet or some type of game
Since you cannot bring big bottles of water through security checkpoints, be sure to purchase water at the airport and take it with you on the plane. If you're breastfeeding, milk can be packed in your carry-on, you'll just need to notify Airport Security.
3. Dress Comfortably
Dressing comfortably can make a long plane ride a little more bearable. A child who is dressed impractically is unlikely to be happy. Everyone in the family should have on an outfit that is roomy, soft, and comfortable. You may also want to wear layers in the event that the airplane is cold. This way once the airplane starts to warm up, you can easily take off a layer.
For added comfort, consider bringing a travel pillow. This gives your child a soft place to lay their head in the event that they want to take a nap during the flight.
4. Make Regular Bathroom Stops
As an adult, you know how awkward it can be to go to the bathroom while on an airplane. Imagine having to take the trip to that small little nook with a child in tow. We all know how unpredictable a child’s bladder can be. No matter how old your child is, make them go to the bathroom as often as possible. You'll also want to avoid giving your child too many liquids before the flight, otherwise you can plan for several trips to the airplane bathroom.
If your child is in diapers, do your best to put on a fresh one right before the flight. The changing station on the airplane is quite small and makes for an interesting time!
5. Keep Calm
This one may seem obvious, but as parents, many of us lose our cool when situations get a little messy. While it can be nerve wracking to travel with kids, especially if it's your first trip together, keeping calm is one of the best things you can do. Expect to hit a few roadblocks and hiccups along the way, but keep the end goal in mind: an awesome family vacation!
Kids are sponges and tend to pick up on any stress or anxiety you may be feeling. If you're feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath and keep pushing through. Soon enough you’ll be at your vacation destination. To minimize stress and worries when traveling, be sure to give yourself plenty of time as rushing around in the airport with a child just won't work.
No matter if this is your child’s first or tenth trip, there’s always something to learn when traveling as a family. If you’re planning a trip in the future and bringing your child along for the ride, keep these 5 tips in mind to make the experience as easy as possible. Happy travels!