10 travel hacks to survive long-haul flights with your tot

Enjoy a pleasant journey with your kiddo with these top tricks that should make travelling fun again.

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Rathi Menon’s toddler was 18 months old when she had to take a long-distance flight with him on her own to Singapore from Europe, where she was based.

Although she and her husband had been travelling with their son, Anand, since he was 3 months old, Rathi was understandably nervous about her first solo flight with her young ’un.

“I had sleepless nights thinking about everything that could go wrong on and wondering how I was going to keep him occupied for 18 hours,” Rathi, 32, recalls. “I was filled with dread as we were boarding the plane.”

Luckily, most of Rathi’s fears were unfounded. While she admits that it was tough and tiring to travel solo with such a young child, she says it can be done, as long as you plan well.

“I’m glad I read up on some travelling hacks, asked my mummy friends and even came up with a few myself,” Rathi says. “It’s all about planning and having a backup for everything, so you’re prepared for all kind of situations.”

Everything is a harder when you have tiny tots in tow, especially if it involves being stuck in a plane for hours with very little to hold junior’s attention. Then, there’s always a chance that boredom, fatigue and discomfort will cause your cutie to lose his marbles. Trying to cheer your little one up will not only take a toll on you, the worst part is that you’ll be the cynosure of all passengers!

After the kids arrive, even the most avid traveller-parent will chuck their wanderlust aside when they think about what could go wrong on a flight will junior. However, long-haul flights with little ones don’t always have to spell doom and gloom, especially when you have these tricks up your sleeve…

Hack #1 Pack junior a special “plane bag”

Explain to your tot that he can bring along a bag as he’s going on an airplane soon. Go shopping and allow him to pick a carryall, then make a list of things to pack and get him to help you put the things in the bag. The bag should contain a change of clothes; plenty of diapers and wet wipes; a selection of underwear; and junior’s favourite toys and snacks. When you include your kewpie in the travelling planning process, he’ll not only learn more about the upcoming trip, he’ll be better prepped for it.

 

Comfort is key if you want to avoid appeasing a cranky child…dress up your child for the trip to the airport, but once you’ve settled down in the plane, change him into his favourite pajamas and socks.

 

Hack #2 Dress them comfortably 

Long-haul flights obviously last hours on end, which means comfort is key if you want to avoid appeasing a cranky child. As much as we want our kiddos to look like they just stepped out of kid’s fashion magazine, we also know that jeans get tight and uncomfortable after a few hours. Go ahead and dress up your child for the trip to the airport, but once you’ve settled down in the plane, change him into his favourite pajamas and socks (cold feet is not fun!). And make sure you have backups, in case he soils himself or accidentally spills food on his clothes. Don’t forget to have a cute ensemble ready for when you reach your destination ― you do want to land in style!

 

Hack #3 Arm yourself with snacks

We know you packed snacks in junior’s special bag, but it won’t hurt to stash extra. Your little one might end up disliking the airplane food, or the airline might have forgotten to reserve a special kid’s meal for him (expect the worst!). The last thing you need is a hangry child and not being able to speed dial UberEATS. By the way, while it’s okat to have Junior’s favourite treats on standby ― in case you need to bribe him or cheer him up after a tantrum ― do make sure to pack healthy foods such as fruits (dried and fresh), trail mix and homemade muffins. Long-distance travel can do take a physical toll you, so do eat healthily to avoid falling ill once you get to your destination. Do also keep your tot and yourself hydrated throughout the flight!

 

Hack #4 Make use of the inflight entertainment systems

Unless you’re travelling on a budget airline ― which we strongly advise you against doing if you’re doing a long-distance trip with your tots ― you can expect a good selection of in-house entertainment. Inflight movies, cartoons and music channels can keep your fidgety little fella occupied for hours. Nor should you feel guilty about all that TV time because you’ve got to do what it takes to make it through the flight with your sanity intact.