Travelling by with children? What will make the trip easier?

Toys Basically it all depends on the ages of your children.
I can remember a trip when my children were young that was a medium haul flight. I bought a few packets of red dot stickers and, when they started getting bored, I handed them out. They spent most of the flight decorating the seats, the seat tray, the windows and themselves with sticky rod dots. I think the flight attendants weren't sure what to make of these red-dotted children but the main things was that everyone was utterly quiet. Any sort of small toys are good. Rubber bands. Small figurines. A small tub of play-doh. A notebook and pen. Don't lug huge dolls and noisy toys on board. If you are travelling with children they really don't need huge quantities of toys to amuse themselves - they just need something which requires them to sit back and think. One of my best purchases on an overseas trip was a large bag of elastic bands. We made rubber band balls, we flicked them into containers and we made ropes. String is good as well and any sailing shop will sell you great coloured rope by the metre that you can use to skip with, tie each other up with or lasso things.

Food. Usually the airline food is awful. Children are hyped up on crisps and sweetened drinks at a time when they need to be quiet. I tend to pack a pile of simple sandwiches and dry biscuits. Sultanas are good as they aren't messy and don't leave crumbs everywhere. Animal crackers and dry cereal such as Cheerios are good as well.

Spare clothes for you and them.
Wear something that doesn't show any stains. I favour black as someone will always wave a fork around or accidentally spill a drink. Jeans and a black T-shirt are pretty good standbys - on no account wear white. Alternatively drape yourself with a scarf or the airplane blanket as protection for the flight. And of course take a spare change of clothes for them. I used to take one standard spare T shirt which, at a pinch, would fit any of them rather than bringing separate changes of clothes for them all. Usually one child will be the messy one.

Music and audio books. Music is a great way to amuse children. Download their favourite songs or stories onto some sort of portable device. I have everything on mine from nursery rhymes to audio books and this has made many trips must easier and simpler as well as offering us all some respite!

Simple things to include but things that will definitely make your next trip that little bit easier!

Dr Amanda O

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Posted 02Nov05