Long Haul Flights with kids | Tips, Products, Survival
Long Haul Flight - my notes & tips
Paris to Thailand
As an expat family, no matter where we have lived, it has always been far from my family - and therefore required maaaaaany grueling long haul flights with our kids...from as young as 8 weeks old; most of which, I have done alone with one, then two kids.
Today im going to write about our latest trip from Paris - Thailand, and my basic tips for long haul with kids. If you have any questions or want to know something specific, there is a commenting section below so feel free to leave me a comment & i will reply promptly.
I am proud to say this was our 12th flight with kids in tow!!
Below I’ll talk about
1/2) two 'devices' that I will not be traveling without,
3) Hand-luggage basics & necessities, and touching on
1) Zinc Flyte Scooter Bag
(ships to most countries, see website below)
This amazing (cabin approved) roller bag, becomes a scooter for the kids to ride through the airport. I would say it works well from age 2, however every kid is different so test it out well at home before using for a trip. They do a Mini aged 2-4, Midi aged 4-8, and an adult version coming soon. I have a Mini & a Midi in the pics below.
In the past year (since buying the bags) We have traveled through Paris, Moscow, London, Thailand & Eurostar with these & have never had any issues. People stop us everywhere & ask where they can purchase them!
The bag fits everything your child needs for a long haul trip - here are my necessities for kids entertainment (good from 2 yrs old)
Sticker / activity book
Small wipe clean white board for hours of fun drawing
A small wrapped present for when you need to boost excitement (a few hours in) Mine each got a small car
A 'goodies bag' - here I have a Disney Planes one, but anything with a small toy, some crayons & coloring in page will do
Change of clothes in the bag (underwear/nappy, clothing & don't forget socks!)
A jersey / light jacket - even if its summer at home or at your destinations, the aircrafts are a fridge 90% of the time, and nobody likes to be cold when they're trying to sleep
We are a family that don't mind screen time, so we also packed the Ipad & kids earphones *Note that Netflix now allow you to download so you can have movies & series available to watch offline - log in & go to 'available for download' - huge amount for the kids!
(I will mention the things I packed in MY hand-luggage & the snacks I recommend further down)
2) Plane Pal
European & Australian (main) website:
This device is genius! There are a few different companies around the world that make the same airplane sleeping device, the other main brand I recommend is Fly Tot; however Plane Pal is cheaper & easier to obtain.
This device is blown up with a foot pump after take off once the seatbelt signs are off. As you can see in the pictures below, it fills the space between your chair & the chair infront of you. My kids are big boys, aged 2.5 & 4, and they had no problem sleeping comfortably on the overnight flight. They can sleep well with the seatbelt still securely fastened. No dead leg for mom & dad or no standing for hours so your child can sleep comfortably on 2 seats!!! They blow down fast & easily fitted in my hand-luggage (we had 2 devices but 1 pump) or they'd fit in the scooter bags too!
Click here to read the airlines that have approved Plane Pal use - this includes Air France which we are flying long haul with in December Yay! This device is band on some airlines. I was however told that its at the air hostesses discretion - we had no issues whatsoever on Aeroflot airlines. I am only aware of Quantas, Emirates & a local New Zealand airline that have band these devices for safety reasons. The website link above will answer all your questions - the device has been formally approved on 41 airlines
3) Hand-luggage: The basics you don't want to forget!
Usually I take a small roller bag with the following:
Change of clothes for the adults (and kids if not in their scooter-bag) You never know where you may get stuck, if they may lose your luggage OR which child may vomit (or pee) on you!
Basic toiletries like toothbrush/toothpaste (remember all liquids under 100ml each)
Ipad & earphones for myself
Plane Pal - both go in my roller bag
I then take a 'handbag' (I love my Louis Vuitton Neverfull, its super durable & holds SO much...but that'll take a whole new post! Ha) This bag I keep by my feet for easy access, especially on take off & landing to make sure the kids drink (ear pressure) water bottles, baby bottles, pacifier anything involving sucking motion will work.
I always pack the following:
Compartmentalize everything into ziplock bags. This is easy to then grab when needed, and keeps things from messing in your bag.- nothing worse than a burst fruit pouch or leaking milk bottle - airplane pressure does funny things to your luggage (this includes your checked luggage so ziplock those liquids too!)
A smaller purse or compartment in the bag that can zip closed, for the passport & tickets
I do have a small cross body bag on me too, this may seem a bit much but I always like easy/fast access to my money & phone - not having to dig in the larger one (aka diaper bag)
A large ziplock snack bag with these basics:
Rice cakes, large bag (these are a good staple when kids or adults are hungry OR even nauseas)
Cookies - savory or sweet but keep it simple no chocolate covered - I always pack individual bags of 2-4 cookies in each.
Fruit pouches - great for all ages & not too messy (also fine outside fridge for long periods)
Few breakfast bars (I buy special K) - good for the kids or adults especially when you're getting off the plane with jetlag, having not eaten that disgusting breakfast served at 4am on the plane, and you need to fill a gap.
Extra bag of simple flavored mini rice cakes
Dried fruit is also a great option
A second large ziplock bag with your liquids - group kids things together for testing at the airport
Water bottles (you are always allowed water through if its in a kids/baby bottle. It just gets tested or tasted, airport dependent.
Quick note on water bottles - straw ones tend to leak badly on the plane because of the pressure on long haul, the water gets pushed up the straw (my bag has sadly endured this) so make sure they seal well or go with a hard top bottle if the kids are older.
Milk bottles (I take mine empty & get cows milk from hostess once onboard. You can however take it with milk already inside, they allow formula / babymilk through security.
A small ziplock bag with:
Pain Medicines for yourself (tablets) & the kids (Liquid or suppositories - which I prefer - for the kids a suppository is quicker & less messy especially when kids are half asleep.
Plasters for those long haul blisters that love to occur at the wrong time!
Lip balm & hand cream (small) - I find flying terribly drying.
A small ziplock with these basics:
Small hand sanitizer
Hand wipes (antibacterial if possible especially for those disgusting tray tables our kids love to lick!)
Mini pack standard baby wipes for the odd mess or diaper changes / butt wipes / bathroom, visits for toddlers
An extra shopping bag which folds tiny (water resistant even better) - this is great for extra shopping you do at airport or even wet or dirty clothes
4) Last but not least, I will touch on JetLag:
I will never forget my first long haul with my first born, at 8 weeks old - New York to South Africa, 17 hours to Johannesburg then a 1 hour domestic thereafter. All this with a fabulous 7 hour time change.
I went on to do many of these trips, alone, and then with 2 kids once my second son was born. So here are my basic tips for making the transition as easy as possible:
Be sure to wake your kids upon arrival on local time. For example if you arrive in the morning but its 3am back home, try get the kids onto local time as soon as possible. I usually try make as if we hadn't changed time zones & this works best every time.
Fresh air is hugely important. Upon arrival try keep them outdoors & active.
It is totally normal to have grumpy kids while they adjust - if you have a headache, so do they!
Contrary to popular belief, I would not let your kids just sleep when they want upon arrival (unless of course its a newborn baby) - id stick to same nap schedule at home & you'll see them adjust much faster, with less night wakings.
So, at the end of the day - you can do this!!
Thanks for taking the time to read my travel tips & info - If you enjoyed this & found it helpful, you can share it with your friends by clicking the Facebook icon below. Also, please feel free to leave me a comment with your travel tips/experiences or any questions you may have for me.
You can also head back to our Parenting tab / Travel - and check out my Vlog of the whole Thailand trip, it was a pretty special family vacation.