Travelling with Kids – How To Make the Most of Airports
You are excited about travelling, but a tad nervous because you have never flown with kids before. Take a deep breath and go with the flow.
Summer holidays have arrived. The sun is shining, the kids have 6 weeks off school. Life-long memories are to be had as you are about to embark for your first family holiday abroad.
Excitement from parents and the kids inevitably builds – but so can a sense of anxiety at the thought of going through an often-overwhelming environment such as an airport when you are travelling with kids.
For a stress-free airport experience (not 100% stress-free because kids are kids), good organisation is key.
Bag Planning Is Vital When Travelling With Kids
If you are staying overnight in a hotel airport, it is worth researching whether you can check your bags in the night before. This will free up some valuable hands and conserve energy. For hand luggage, it is wise to distribute every-day items in to separate bags incase one is lost. Due to security restrictions in place, you are only permitted to pack enough baby-milk for the journey, the remainder needs to go in the hold luggage.
If you are arriving at the airport on the day, save time by taking advantage of valet parking. This will take away the stresses of navigating through an often very confusing airport-car park.
Using Family Areas When Travelling With Kids
Gatwick Airport is the UK’s first accredited family-friendly airport. The aim is to make the experience for family’s travelling with kids as easy and fun as possible. Dedicated family lanes are in place here where there is more room for pushchairs and less queuing (hopefully).
Most UK airports have Kids zones to allow your little ones to do what they do best – play. These are free of charge and can provide you with a little respite on your airport journey.
Most UK airports are packed to the rim with restaurants and food outlets. Navigating around these with kids and pushchairs during busy times can be a pain, but once you find a suitable place to eat, it can be a great moment to discuss the holiday with the kids and to get their feelings on how excited they are.
Kids Will Still Be Kids, Even When You Are Travelling
Kids are unpredictable, particularly when you are travelling with them. Understatement of the year, there. With this in mind, think about packing a ‘bag of surprises’ for when you are presented with potentially challenging situations. The contents can offer a chance to diffuse the situation and for everyone to calm down. Stressed parents can often mean stressed out kids.
Time To Depart
If you are taking a pushchair while travelling with the kids, you can keep hold of this right up to your departing gate, where a member of staff will place it in the hold of the aircraft. You can request this directly after leaving the plane upon arrival, or it can be collected along with all the other hold luggage at the arrival belts.
Families with young children are often boarded on to the plane first. But this is not always a good idea in practice. Being cooped up in a plane longer than necessary may fill you with dread, so if it suits you to hold back until last, go for it. There’s no law here.
Emergency bag. Pack a few extra sets of clothes and nappies for the kids in case the worst happens, and your hold luggage is lost or stolen.
And off you go, enjoy your holiday travelling with the kids!
If you enjoyed this article, please read our kids travel article from a mum’s perspective: Essential Tips for Travelling with Kids.