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. These tips are put together by the experts at 1Cover Travel Insurance to help keep everyone happy and safe on an aircraft.
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 good hotel within the terminal; Singapore also has sleep rooms that can be hired. Plus because SingaporeAirport 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 and you can stay at good quality hotels at the beach (30 minutes), downtown (20 minutes) or around the airport (10 minutes).
2. Airports are exciting – get those window seats
Kids generally love airplanes, plus all the sights, sounds and smells of the airport. 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 Airlinesand 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 – and make sure you take the headphones or ear piece. There’s nothing worse for other travellers when parents think their child is the only person on the flight who wants to watch a show on their iPad and plays it at full volume.
4. Order the kids meals ahead of time
This 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
This has its upsides and downsides. Sometimes being near the exit also means being near the toilet, which means that people will queue near your seat and the odour can be unpleasant from time-to-time. On the plus side, it also give kids an opportunity to spread out, play a board game on the floor or just chat with ‘new friends’.
6. The Customs queue – be nice and 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 and Sydney Airport can be really busy for early morning flights, although it 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.
By the way, depending on where you’re going, make sure you’re ready for photos, fingerprinting and, in some places, eye scans.
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!
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Keep up-to-date with all the travel news and tips at our sister-site TravelMuse.com.au