In the first blog post of the announced series on traveling with kids, we will try to provide you with a few tips to make your airplane journey with children easier.
To begin with, I would like to clarify some concerns that often worry parents:
- Traveling by plane with a child is no more stressful than traveling by car.
- Your child will not experience stress at the airport, nor will there be a chaos or a rush when boarding the plane.
- Your child, regardless of age, will not have any lasting effects after the flight.
- The poor air quality on the plane will not have permanent consequences on your child's respiratory system.
- The occasional uncomfortable feeling of pressure in the ears during plane descent will not damage your child's hearing.
- Children are a normal occurrence on airplanes. No one will kick a child off the plane if they cry or show signs of restlessness. Your task is to minimize such occurrences.
Okay, I hope we have clarified that flying with a child is not harmful, so let's move on to some tips that I hope will help any parents who are unsure and encourage them to take that big step and embark on the journey.
My first experience was a flight with my six-month-old daughter to Oman. Right after purchasing the plane tickets, I started receiving advice from friends and family: "Why would you take such a young child on a plane? A baby that small has nothing to do in such a distant destination. Are you sure you can handle it? The temperatures are high; it's better to stay home. It's a completely different culture, you don't know how those strange and dangerous people react to children."
Luckily, my desire to travel was so great that I managed to ignore a bunch of well-meaning advice. Let me clarify right away that I would never consider any action that would jeopardize the safety of my own child. However, safety should not be questionable on a well-planned trip. The most important advice is: "Relax, if you're not relaxed, your child certainly won't be either."
Let's start with the ticket purchase. In most airlines, children up to two years old sit together with their parent (lap infant) and do not require their own plane ticket (there might be some smaller fees involved). Financially, traveling with children under two years old is much more affordable because you don't have to pay the full ticket price. So, my advice is to make the most of that period. 😊 The child will receive their own seatbelt that attaches to your seatbelt, and it must be used during takeoff, landing or whenever a seat belt sign is turned on. Just be aware that the child will have to share the seat with you during the whole flight. Of course, when seat belt sign is turned off, nothing prevents you from walking around the plane with your kid or using a baby carrier if you're traveling with a baby. When choosing seats, try to select a window seat. It's one way to keep the child engaged with something interesting. Although each airline has its own rules, in most cases, you are allowed to bring a stroller that you can check in and do a gate check-in, which allows you to use the stroller until you reach the aircraft entrance, where you will hand it over to the staff who will store it during the flight.
If you plan to rent a car at the destination, our advice is to check if your tickets include the option of free car seat transport. Renting car seats can significantly increase the cost of car rental, so why not take advantage of the opportunity to transport your own seat for free? You can check in the car seat at the airport during the check-in process and usually drop it off at a special counter for "Oversized baggage."
Buying additional luggage depends on your preferences. The rules and allowed baggage maximum weight limits are specified when purchasing tickets, so make sure to pay attention to these details. Whether you can pack together with your child in a smaller suitcase to carry on board or if you need a larger suitcase to check in at the check-in counter depends on many factors. It's difficult to decide how much clothing you need for traveling with a child. First, think about where you are traveling to and what the weather conditions are at your destination? Are you staying in an apartment or a hotel? Do you have a place to wash and dry clothes because you know very well that there is no suitcase big enough for the amount of dirt a child can get on their shirts and pants? 😊 Our advice is to pack as little as possible. Most airlines allow an additional small bag for children under two years old in which you can put necessities such as food, water, diapers, basic toiletries, and any medications that may be needed during your trip. It's also important to distinguish between what you need on the plane and what is easier to pack in your checked-in baggage. In your carry-on luggage, we recommend bringing essential toiletries, water, snacks and medications. If you're traveling with a small baby, it's advisable to bring an adequate supply of diapers, a changing mat, and basic toiletries. From my experience, for flights of a few hours, four diapers are sufficient, and it's best to avoid overpacking unnecessary amounts as you are already limited by the allowed baggage maximum weight limit. Although airport security is quite strict about the quantities of liquids you can bring on board (max 100ml), they often allow children to bring a bottle of water above 100ml. When packing your carry-on luggage, be sure to separate liquids, check the allowed quantities, and pack them in a transparent zipper bag to be handed over to airport personnel during security checks. For prescription medications, be sure to have a copy of the prescription or at least an email serving as proof that the doctor approved the use of such medication and that it is necessary in case the child unexpectedly falls ill during the trip. While traveling, especially by plane, you don't need cosmetics in large packaging as they will quickly fill up your suitcases and exceed the already limited allowed weight.
Additionally, bring something to entertain your children during the trip. For babies, it can be a rattle, plus baby towel, or plush toy. For older children, bring various activities such as crayons and colouring books, paper pads or stickers. Anything that can keep them occupied for at least half an hour is better than improvising on the go.
Before departure, be sure to check the weight of your luggage again. You can weigh suitcases on a regular personal scale, but it's more convenient to have a luggage scale that is more precise, compact in size, and can be taken on the trip to weigh your suitcases when returning.
If you don't have time or are unsure about how to make packing easier and what to buy for traveling with children, be sure to check out our webshop categories Accessories, Kids, and Cosy Pack where we have prepared travel accessories, cosmetics, and children's necessities in small sizes, ideally suited for air travel.
So, we have completed the ticket purchase and packing, and finally, we can head to the airport 😊 In the meantime, we will prepare a new post in which we continue our journey.
Until then, remember: Live Cosy. Travel Cosy. Choose Cosy...