Top tips for flying with Kids

The one thing I love to do in the first week of the New Year is plan my holidays for the year ahead. It gives me hope, something to look forward to as i push through the days ahead. I spoke about travelling with children a little while ago on the blog and how its changed our outlook on travel, so I thought it a perfect time to share my tips on flying with children.

Most people I know, my husband included, shudder at the thought of flying with young kids. What if they get sick? What if they don’t stop screaming? What if they don’t sleep? I’m here to tell you that it is all OK. People are typically friendlier than you think, and everyone was a child once. I can honestly say I have never been utterly annoyed or disrupted by a child on a plane, and to be honest, chances are if you do annoy people, you will never meet them again 🙂


If you are nervous however about long haul flights, Travel Start has some fantastic Flights to Cape Town on special at the moment, and I can comfortably say that I have even managed this flight alone with my two toddler boys.

To help prepare you for your travels, together with Travel Start, i’ll share some of my top tips to help your flights go smoother, and just to prove you aren’t alone, have a look at  this fantastic video, from parents across South Africa, on their experiences with flying with kids.


My previous post spoke about the build up to the flight, tips for boarding (try to give your children as much time to run around before the flight), and general guidelines on making your flight as smooth as possible. To review,  here are my top tips for ensuring an easy comfortable flight, for both you and your kids.

  1. Understand their needs – Kids will only ever perform or act up for 3 reasons, if you remember and prepare for those you are good to go.
  • Tiredness – Try and keep your child’s bedtime routine as similar as you can when flying, put them into PJ’s or a comfortable pair of track pants, give them their favourite teddy and make sure you try to book flights around nap times or night-time for longer haul flights.
  • Hunger – Pack snacks! Yes for longer haul flights they do feed you but let’s be honest, by the time you have taken off, reached a comfortable altitude, and the food is served you are typically tired at that point and actually just want to sleep yourself! Granola bars, biscuits, fruit bars all make great addition to children’s carry on luggage to keep them sustained. I also typically add in one or two “bribery” treats such as lollipops or marshmallows to reward good behavior.
  • Boredom – Create a little “Travel Pack” with your child and let them choose one or two of their favourite toys. Colouring books, card games, and I recently discovered crazy clay, which is absolutely perfect for travel. It’s a non sticky, mess free type of dough that you can sculpt and craft and literally leaves no mess! Perfect for flights and long car journeys. Don’t be afraid to use in the in flight entertainment. I’m all for limiting screen time, however, a long flight is the PERFECT excuse for a movie marathon. Its one of the most exciting things for a child when flying and the prospect of “having their own TV” is hugely exciting.

2. Get organised – As soon as you board the plane try to get everything organized for your flight ahead. I divide items up into little bags per need. Wet wipes, moisturizer, creams in one bag, snacks in another, activities and so on. Have all your travel essentials stored close to you. If you have young babies get your bottle/boob or dummy ready for take off to help ease the pressure off little ears.

3. Seating– With small babies try to always book the bulkhead seats in advance so you can arrange a bassinet. If you are travelling with a bigger family, we tend to book out the aisle seats now, so mum and dad sit on either end and kids in the middle. Try to book a location on the plane in close proximity to the toilets for any recently potty trained toddlers.

Remember to take walks with your child, its hard enough being in a seat for a period in time, and we certainly know they find it challenging to keep still.


Important things to remember:

If travelling internationally, you need to take into consideration laws regarding travelling with children. I made the mistake a few months ago of trying to cross a border without my husband, whilst I had all original birth certificates, I did not have an affidavit from my spouse and was politely declined from leaving the country.

Always travel with Panado and Nurofen with you. Countries all have different laws and may require prescriptions. You do not want to be stuck in a foreign country with a toddler with a fever, unable to get them medicine.

The key ingredients to a smooth trip when traveling with kids are to pay attention to their needs, and find the right balance between rest time and activities. If you are like me and are planning on how to maximise your long weekends this year, Travel Start has some fantastic Cheap Flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town. So go on, make 2018 your year of adventure ! One of my resolutions is to spend my money this year on creating memories, not collecting things. Here’s to travelling, exploring and adventuring, WITH Kids !



5 thoughts on “Top tips for flying with Kids

  1. We did an overseas trip two years ago and loved it, but you have to be organized as you said. We arrived in a country just to get onto another plane in West Africa and were not allowed in due to visas we eventually paid cash for visas but this took 3 hours. (African time) We are planning another trip this year and I can’t wait! Thanks for all the little reminders, a person tends to forget. ❤️

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