We’ve traveled with the kids on multiple long flights to Asia but the most nerve-racking flight I took was when I decided to fly with the two of them by myself. Pack with a backpack full of magic tricks, I survived the 17 hr flight to Asia and the 13.5 hr. flight back to the US when big sis’ was 4.5 yrs old and Lil’ sis’ was 1.5. Here are my 10 Tips for Flying with Baby or Young Kids on Long Flights especially international flights.
10 Tips for Flying with Baby or Young Kids on Long International Flights:
1. Book a Late Flight: Tips for Flying with Baby or Young Kids
Booking a late flight when flying with young kids ensures that they are asleep for the most part of the flight. Our flight to Asia typically departs at 10 PM and the kids won’t immediately sleep right when we board because they are excited to watch or play with the media console in front of our seats. Once they dozed off though it’s like more than half of our travel time already.
2. Make them Nap the Day of the Flight for Late Night Flights
Yes! We want the kids to sleep on the flight and sleep long. But young kids cannot handle not taking naps, at least the 5 and below for sure. So don’t ever think taking out nap time would mean they’d be knock out on the plane. Because if they don’t get their naps, they’d be miserable even before you board the plane and you’d be miserable too. I would suggest that parents take their nap too if possible, so you’d be more refresh and alert once you get to the airport.
3. Bring an Umbrella Stroller &/or Baby Carrier for Airport Use: Tips for Flying with Baby or Young Kids
Oh, the waiting game at the airport, kids can’t sit still can they?Besides the fact that you can keep the kids entertained before the gates open for boarding by strolling around the airport in a stroller. You would need to bring a stroller so you don’t need to carry your young one from check-in to the boarding gate. Depending on the airport, it could be very far for those tiny feet.We used a Zooper Stroller and at one point used a Phil & Teds Double Stroller at home but would opt for an umbrella stroller (without the shade) for our international flights for easy handling.
Note: We’ve never had an experience bringing a car seat. But I’m sure that will help tremendously when you have a baby so you don’t need to carry your baby to sleep on the plane. We’ve always done place on lap to cut on ticket cost.
Baby Carriers are also great if you have a baby who is used to it more than a stroller. Every kid is different so based it on what he or she is used to at home.
Strollers will be left outside the airplane door right before you board and you can pick it up at the arrival carousel with your luggage. If you have connecting flights like when we traveled with Korean Air they had us wait for it at the door so we can use on the way to the next gate for our connecting flight. It varies by airline so asked before you leave your stroller with anyone.
4. Bring the Appropriate Carry-On with all the Necessities: Tips for Flying with Baby or Young Kids
Airplane Travel with Kids: Which bag to bring when you’re flying with kids? Here are the choices:
- Diaper Bag: If you are traveling with a baby and you are still breastfeeding, your diaper bag will be big enough to fit everything.
- Gym Bag: If you are no longer breastfeeding and will be bringing baby bottles, powdered milk, toys, diapers, etc. I would suggest going bigger than a diaper bag and bringing a gym bag instead. Make sure it’s a size you can stow under your seat after takeoff (under your kid’s foot perhaps). Flight attendants will not let you put big bags on your foot during take-off and landing, I would suggest bringing a drawstring to throw all the stuff you need for the first hour while all the other stuff is overhead.
- Travel Back Pack for Laptops: If you are bringing a laptop or tablet on top of the toys, bottles, change of clothes, diapers, etc. I would suggest bringing a backpack with multiple compartments when you fly with the kids. And the same idea is to have a drawstring bag for all the little stuff in the beginning of the flight when huge carry-ons have to be placed in the overhead compartment. I used a Swiss brand that has 5 compartments and it’s now my laptop bag as well when we take long trips by car.
- Kids Bring their Own Backpack: If your kids are big enough to carry their own backpacks, then go ahead and let them carry their own that has toys, juice, and everything that will keep them pre-occupied after they wake up mid-flight.
On our very first few flights to Asia, I brought a gym bag style shoulder bag. I find it to be easier to find things inside the bag instead of digging deep into a backpack and it’s easier to stow under the seat as well.
On my flight last year with the two kids, I brought a backpack though because I had to bring my laptop with me for the blog during our 7-week vacation to the Philippines. It had tons of compartments so I prepped each compartment by having something for early part of the flight, mid-flight entertainment, “almost there” compartment, etc. and it had padlocks so the kids can’t open them or I risk losing all my tricks early on of the flight. LOL!
5. Pack New Toys and their Attachment Toy or Blanket: Tips for Flying with Baby or Young Kids
- Travel Size Play-Doh – Lil’ sis’ fave. She also does not have to play with it. When we flew, she wanted to just hold the tiny bin for a long time before opening it. Go figure.
- Travel Size Lego – Lil’ sis’ fave as well.
- Travel Size Blokus Game – Big sis’ fave even when she was a toddler. She doesn’t know how to play it, she just organizes them for hours. We brought this on our very first international flight.
- Stickers Travel Activity Pack – We bring one for each for plane rides and cruises.
- Small Books like Dear Zoo or one of Dr. Seuess Boardbook.
- Surprise Toys like Shopkins Basket or Tsum Tsum Mystery Pack. If your kid watches surprise toys on Youtube, they’d be happy to see this. Bring one or two so if it gets really crazy on the plane, you’d be saved. LOL.
- Crayons, pen and memo pad. They can doodle all they want. My kids like peeling off the crayon covers though, that’s 15-30 minutes of fun for them I’m willing to take.
- If you must! Bring their Tablet! Don’t forget to charge your iPad and load it with their favorite movie or games.
6. Bring your Kids Milk/Juice to the Flight: Tips for Flying with Baby or Young Kids
I’m sure you’re wondering, with the 3 oz. max. liquid you can bring and tightened security. Can you bring your Baby’s Milk to a Flight? Yes, you can!Let’s not get the baby starving and crying on the plane. It would just have to go through a separate security checkpoint where they will scan your liquid and powdered milk thoroughly. Bring an appropriate amount though, not too much and not too little.
A. When we were still using powdered milk when we flew. We only put water on 3-4 bottles or just the amount we need from check-in until we boarded the plane. Then we just requested for water once we were on the plane.
7. Pack Snacks when Flying with Kids: Tips for Flying with Baby or Young Kids
Both toys and snacks go hand in hand to keep the kids happy on the plane. Make it the ones they love but don’t get to often see or eat so it’s also a surprise while on the plane. The kids fave:
- Cheetos Snack Size
- Yan Yan or Hello Panda or Pocky Sticks
- Gummy Bears or Fruit Snacks
- M&M’s Fun Size
- Organic Pops – you can also use this when the plane is ascending and it’s causing pain in your child’s ear. The swallowing helps clear the ear.
8. Bring Extra Clothes placed on Waterproof Bag: Tips for Flying with Baby or Young Kids
9. Check the Kids Menu Ahead + Learn about Extras on Board for the Kids
Some flights also give out an activity pack for your kids as long as your child has a seat (not on your lap type of ticket). Philippine Airlines gave out Sponge Bob Activity Pack and Korean Air gave out Pororo Activity Pack.
Related Read: Ride the Star Wars Plane to Japan
10. Reserve the Seat Ahead of Time and Get the Seat Closest to the Exit