It is a joy to have the entire family together during holidays. The thing is, getting there is not always a pleasant experience. Whether you opt for air travel, train or car, traveling with kids can be a challenge at the best of times, which is why it is  best to prepare beforehand. There are several ways parents can make air travel with kids much more manageable, paving the way for an unforgettable family vacation! 

Tips for holiday air travel with kids 

1. When booking a flight, know your kid’s nap time beforehand

This is a crucial first step because it will ultimately determine whether you, the parents, have a smooth flight or one that is rife with yelling and tantrums. 

Know when your child is usually taking naps and use that as a basis to find a flight that fits around your child’s schedule. 

The situation will differ depending on the child. There are kids who belong to the “early birds” group, and then there are those who dread waking up first thing in the morning, so keep this in mind and strategize your flight plan accordingly. 

This approach lessens the probability of having your kids wreak havoc inside the plane, making air travel with kids a lot more bearable given that they will mostly be asleep for the duration of the entire flight. 

Now you get to have some shuteye, and your co-passengers get their fill of peace and quiet too. 

2. Snacks, snacks, and more snacks

Usually, a short flight will not make kids crave food more than once; however, it is an entirely different thing when it comes to long flights. 

You might be thinking that normally, airlines would provide in-flight food; however, foods offered on planes sell out within hours, sometimes even faster. 

Aside from this, the food options planes offer to their passengers may not be your kids’ cup of tea. 

Therefore, it would be best to bring snacks in accordance with what your child likes. 

Another tip for air travel with kids, make sure to keep snacks in areas of your luggage that are easy to put in and take out. This makes it easier during gate checking. 

3. Save the first-class flights for some other time 

There are pros and cons to booking a first-class flight while you have your kids tagging along with you. 

One of the pleasantries of having your kids with you on a first-class flight is that you get to provide them with a comfortable flying experience. 

Any parent would want the best for their child. However, when your kid starts kicking seats or streaming Baby Shark on full blast, that will not be a pleasant experience for anyone wanting to relax and catch up on some z’s. 

As sad as it seems, the reality of it all is that most first-class trips are made up of executive and business class passengers. 

These people did not pay their hard-earned money to escape the noise on economy-class flights just to be disturbed by wailing, rowdy kids. 

With that being said, it might be best to take a raincheck on that first-class trip you have been planning. 

This prevents having strangers scold your kid for being noisy. In one form or another, those in the economy class would be more empathizing to kids. 

4. Pack essential things only 

If there is one thing to note when it comes to air travel with kids, it is that kids do not like staying in one area for too long. 

This makes them iffy and uncomfortable, so they are prone to being cranky once this happens. 

One of the things that causes long lines at security checks is luggage that contains too many things. 

To prevent causing a scene at the airport and keep your kid calm, it is best to pack light. 

This also eliminates the possibility of leaving bags or luggage in public since you only carry a few of them with you. 

5. Have your kids wear clothing that can easily be removed 

A trip to the bathroom does not always have to be a struggle. 

The best way for your kids to easily relieve themselves is to have them wear layered clothes, minus the zippers and buttons. 

6. Avoid having your kids wear shoes with laces 

The same as with clothes that can easily be taken off, the same idea must be applied to shoes. 

Slip-ons are a great choice for both kids and adults. Some brands you can try out are Vans, TOMS, and Sperry. 

This prevents kids from tripping, plus it also makes walking easier for them as it provides comfort during long walks. 

But of course, the real reason why kids are highly recommended to wear plain slip-ons is to reduce their time at airport security. 

7. Bring pull-ups for your toddlers

When it comes to air travel with kids, it is common for them to make mistakes such as wetting themselves, and that is totally fine. 

But of course, what is not fine is their making a mess in the plane, especially if they were not able to reach the aircraft lavatory on time. 

The best way to prevent messes is to have them wear pull-ups. This is highly recommended for toddlers who are not yet fully potty trained. 

8. Do not forget to bring your kid’s medication/s

Make sure you have your child’s medication with you on the flight if they have an illness or have been diagnosed with a condition like diabetes, asthma, or food allergies. 

This is to prevent instances wherein your child’s medical condition will act up, worsen, and cause them to suffer due to the absence of the right medication. 

It is also advisable to have your child equipped with a medical alert bracelet. This will come in handy in times when you are not with your child and they suddenly need medical assistance. 

9. Keep your kids occupied

In times when your kids are wide awake, it is best to keep them occupied because, chances are, you would not want a bored child on a plane. 

There are several ways you can go about this. You may opt to have them play or watch a movie on a digital tablet, provide them with coloring books, give them their favorite toy, or have them do fun activities like “I Spy.” 

Holiday air travel with kids can be stressful, but with a little forethought and preparation you can manage to arrive at your destination with everyone’s sanity intact.

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.