Depending on your destination you might consider flying. Flying with kids will be a much different experience compared with that of flying on your own or with your partner.
As with any trip involving your kids the key to success is mostly in the planning and packing.
When planning your flight the best thing you can do is attempt to get a direct flight.
This will minimize the disruption to your baby or kids.
Keep in mind too that an early flight is more likely to run on time, since as the day goes on more delays occur.
Only you can determine what is best for your family when it comes to picking a time to fly. Some families will prefer to fly late at night or first thing in the morning maximizing their time at their destination.
Others will prefer to book flights when their child is likely to have a sleep, whilst some won't want to deal with a tired child. Flying during nap time can be a great way to ease the pressure when flying with a toddler. In saying that, it depends on if your toddler has the ability to go to sleep when not in their cot. If they have trouble sleeping in different environments then this might not be such a great idea.
Only you can decide.
However keep in mind our one recommendation. We suggest when flying with kids, fly outside of peak hours, so it would be best to avoid early in the week, during the middle of the day, or on Fridays.
By doing this, you have more chance of being on a flight that has empty seats, allowing your family the opportunity to spread out a little. If you have a baby under two that needs to sit on your lap, you may be able to give them a seat to play on or sleep during the flight. This will make the world of difference.
Check out this great article by Trudi (our guest writer) titled Air Travel with Children - Long Haul Flights.
When flying, you will be limited to the luggage you can bring and once your luggage is ‘checked-in' you can only access what is in your hand luggage.
Whatever you can buy at your destination, buy at your destination. When flying with kids it will seem like you have to lug so much with you, that where you can minimise your luggage you may as well.
Perhaps try and ensure you have everything you require for at least the first 24 hours with you, so you don't feel pressured to head out and find a grocery store or other department stores as soon as you arrive at your destination.
When purchasing luggage, always get bags or suitcases with the pull out handles and wheels, these will be so much easier to deal with at the airport, especially if you are carrying kids or babies.
And depending on the ages of your kids and the size of the bags, get them to pull their own as much as possible.
Let's face it most airlines require you to be at the airport well in advance of your flight. Allow plenty of time for parking as well as check-in.
Getting around the airport is something to consider, especially with young kids. As you will have some time to spare between check in and boarding, consider how the kids will get around during this time.
Some airlines will let you keep your pram or baby strollers until boarding which is fantastic, some stowing them away in the overhead lockers, but most placing them in luggage at the very last minute (it would have been checked in and labeled earlier).
However, if you do have to check your stroller in at the time of check in, consider a harness for your toddler or young child, if you worry about them running off.
For babies consider using a front carry pack, they are fantastic for keeping your hands free for everyday purposes.
There are usually plenty of options as far as restaurants, cafes, bars are concerned once you arrive at the airport, so check in then go sit down have a coffee, get the kids a snack, or if it is at dinner time grab a meal, just because you haven't reached your destination yet, doesn't mean you aren't on holidays or vacation, so start enjoying yourself.
A great safety tip, when flying with kids: Check out some of the great kids labeling companies around, most of them stock disposable ID bracelets, these are great for when you are in busy places such as airports or even when you reach your destination. (If you are heading to a theme park or zoo, anywhere where there are large numbers of people, they will help to provide peace of mind).
Most of them allow you to write your name and contact number on them, so in the event that your child gets lost, an adult or authority will be able to reach you.
When boarding the plane, most airlines will board those with a disability and adults flying with kids first. Take advantage of this. Whilst some might question getting on an already long flight a bit earlier, it is worthwhile, as you have the ability to find your seats and get settled without the disruption of all the other passengers boarding. For young kids it will make the experience a little less overwhelming.
Don't forget once you're on the plane to pull out any essential items and place them in the pocket in front of you. This will save you having to get up and open the compartment above too many times.
If kids are going to want their bags straight after take off, most airlines will also let you place bags under the seat in front of you. This is another good option to prevent you from having to get up and down all the time.
Check out our air travel tips for more great idea's on flying with kids. We have plenty of suggestions that will help ensure you still have a smile on your face when you reach your destination.
There are also a number of different things you need to consider depending on the age of your kids.
Regardless of how many kids you are travelling with, try to relax, the kids can't go too far, and the flight won't go forever.
Remain focused on how much fun you'll have when you reach your destination. It'll be worth it.