It doesn't matter where you go, travelling with kids is always an adventure. Planning is key to make sure your journey runs as smoothly as possible, especially if you're going overseas. If things take an unexpected turn, keeping your kids, yourself and your belongings safe (that includes precious little teddy) is crucial. Here at 1Cover Travel Insurance we understand what it's like to contend with all the possibilities of travelling with kids so our team have shared their top tips to keep everyone happy and safe on a plane.
1. Fly Direct Or Stop Over.
Breaking up the trip can be a great way to get two holidays in one go. However it's all about timing, a short 12 hour stopover can work if you book a hotel day room at an Airport hotel to help with jet lag. Hong Kong has a great hotel within the terminal, Singapore also has sleep rooms that can hired. Plus because Singapore Airport is quick to exit you'll be able to find good hotels within 15 minutes of the Airport. Dubai after a long flight is also great for a stopover.
2. Airports Are Exciting - Get Those Window Seats!
Kids generally love airplanes, plus all the sights, sounds and smells of the airport. My son loves watching the wings going up and down, the baggage getting loaded and all the other planes moving around. If you have two kids, and there are four of you in total it's best to travel in two rows so both of the kids get a window seat, saves all the screaming and arguing mid-flight! There is a great research tool called SeatGuru, where you can see the Airline seat map of your flight prior to check in - it rates good and bad seats.
3. The Inflight Entertainment.
Check out the Airline inflight entertainment guides ahead of time. It'll be exciting for the kids. Several of the Airlines have a parents/kids setting to ensure they don't watch anything inappropriate. Check out the guides here for Emirates, Qantas, Etihad, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Australia. Also we all know the kids love their gadgets whether phones or iPads. It goes without saying load them up with anything from Peppa Pig, Adventure Time, Toy Story or download kids Apps to keep the kids busy.
4. Order The Kids Meals Ahead Of Time.
Sounds obvious, but many people forget to order the kids meals ahead of time. The last thing you want is junior complaining about an adult meal and being hungry the whole flight. The other great benefit of kids meals is they are normally brought first out, meaning they eat first and you can relax with wine and a movie... hopefully.
5. Get A Seat Near The Exit Rows - Make A Camp.
Now this could work either way. Sometimes being near the exit also means being near the toilet, which we all know is horrible as people queue near your seat and the odour is well, not nice. However our last flight back from Singapore, our daughter found space on the floor and two other children the same age, they chatted and played in a little 'camp' in the space for several hours. Pure bliss for us, plus she was happy as she made some new friends.
6. The Customs Queue - Be Nice & Ask.
You're shattered after a long flight, you land and see a huge line for customs... it's not the best feeling! The US is notoriously slow (get ready for photos and fingerprinting) and Sydney Airport can be really busy for early morning flights. Sydney to its credit is getting better with its self-service lines now available. However if you're stuck in a nightmare line, it doesn’t hurt to ask Customs if they can help express you to the front. You might not get anywhere but there's no harm in asking, you might even find an understanding Custom Officer who's also a parent.
7. 'Hunt The Bag' Game.
When everyone is tired and grumpy after 20 hours of flying it's the perfect moment to keep them going one last time. Play 'Hunt The Bag' as 500 identical looking bags make their way on to the Carousel! You can also try the car game Spotto (whenever you spot a certain coloured car you shout Spotto) but for luggage. Extra points for spotting red and yellow cases. Hopefully the kids are distracted and more importantly your baggage arrives and hasn't gone missing!