If you’re afraid you’ll only be able to start travelling for pleasure again when your children are older, let us reassure you: flying with children (even infants) is possible and it’s easier than it seems.
(WARNING: It’s not easy, just ‘easier’! Don’t say we didn’t tell you…)
- TIME: forget about jumping on a plane at the last minute or running hell for leather down the stairs to get on the first taxi at lightning speed. Now you need to do everything calmly and well in advance. You might even find that travelling like this is way more enjoyable!
- PASSPORT: children can no longer be included in their parents’ passport and under-18 passports last 5 years, usually expiring when you least expect it. The good news is that the renewal fee is less than for an adult passport and it should only take about three weeks to arrive. All you need to do is remember to renew it on time!
- BOARDING PASS: print out boarding passes at home or check-in online. Really, do it. Queues are boring and stressful for adults, let alone for children.
- GAMES: here it very much depends on the age of your little ones, but some rules apply to everyone; leave noisy games at home (so you won’t be beaten up by you seatmates) and rediscover analogue games (good old colouring books!) and apps that can be used without volume. Unless they’re a new-born, we suggest that you try giving them a camera (a sturdy one, though!); not only will your child be incredibly quiet and curious, but you’ll discover things and perspectives usually only seen by those who are about a metre tall. This is also the perfect time to brush-up on family activities: if everyone’s involved, a previously problematic situation can turn into fun!
- GUIDELINES: guidelines are often loose and change quickly, so check them frequently and take the time to explain them to your children. This way, they will be prepared in case they have to be temporarily separated from their favourite game to go through a metal detector.
- BAGGAGE: yep, the nappy bag is considered an item of hand luggage, so think carefully about what you put inside. Plus, the rules apply to everyone. Instead of letting your little ones pack their rucksack entirely on their own, try helping them with the aid of the airline guidelines.
- FOOD: in case of baby’s milk, things get complicated, but not impossible. Milk (liquid and powdered) must go through security, so it has to comply with the specified volumes and weights. Only take on board what is strictly necessary for your flight, but remember that after the checks you can prepare artificial milk by simply buying the water you need. For bigger children, on the other hand, a snack can do wonders, even on relatively short flights.
DO IT! Don’t be scared. Have a go and you’ll discover that travelling with children is an adventure worth repeating whenever you can!