Travelling with children

Every family looks forward to their family holiday, but travelling to and from your destination with young children can often prove challenging.

We’ve put together a few essential tips to make your journey a little bit easier.

Book Kids Meals

Most airlines will offer kids meals as a variation to the full adult meals that they serve up. These will often be much more to a child’s taste and so you’ll have much more chance of your child eating if you can book this in advance.

Airline Assistance

This maybe particularly useful if you’re a Single Parent. Many airlines offer airport assistance services, such as those offered for older travellers or those with disabilities. In such cases you may get help with your luggage around the airport and you may get fast-tracked through certain sections of the airport. Check with your airline and book ahead if this service is available.

Sit Together

It may sound obvious, but these days you often have to specify that you all want to sit together (and sometimes have to pay for this as well). Sitting together as a family is essential to keeping everyone calm and relaxed during your journey.

Check Boarding Arrangements

Many airlines will let families with young children board first or last, reducing the difficulty of getting yourselves, your children and your baggage on to the plane.

Give yourself time

As a parent you’ll know that doing anything with young children takes time. Don’t forget that the same applies when you’re travelling as well. Arrive at the airport in plenty of time and make sure that you give yourself enough time to get to your Gate - don’t underestimate the distance you may have to travel through the airport with your children.

Involve your Kids

It’s easy for children to get irritable during a journey and this can be down to very basic things like they’re out of their routine, in unfamiliar surroundings and even just bored. If you explain to your children what’s going to happen when you get to the airport you can keep them engaged with questions like “Now we’ve checked in where do you think we go next?” There are some resources and workbooks available on the Internet that children can work through, such as Manchester Airport’s Airport Awareness Workbook.

Toys and Books

Pack a small bag with your child’s favourite toys and books to keep them entertained during your journey. Try rationing these, just bringing out one at a time to keep their attention for as long as possible. Also ask your airline if they have a Kids Activity pack, which can keep them entertained during the flight.

Carrying their own Baggage

If they are old enough, try packing a small piece of hand luggage for your child with their favourite toys or books. If you give them the responsibility for carrying this then it will keep them engaged and also lessen the amount that you have to carry in your own baggage.


It’s easy for children to get dehydrated during a flight. Take a small bottle of drink with you and also a banana or a small pack of dried fruit to keep their sugar levels up in between meals.

Cabin Pressure

The increases and decreases in cabin pressure during a flight, especially on take-off and landing can be uncomfortable and in some cases upsetting for children. If you’re flying with a very young child that isn’t on solids yet, try feeding them on take-off to counteract this. If you’re travelling with older children, pack a few boiled or hard sweets in your bag for them to suck during take-off and landing.