Just because you have kids, doesn’t mean that you can’t visit far-away lands. But, as every parent knows, when those children are small, they can make long plane rides a living hell, not only for you, but for other passengers as well! So,how can you stop the insanity? Well, preparation is the key to success, so check out all of the advice below to find out how flying with children doesn’t need to be an ordeal.

First of all, remember that in order to be able to choose where you will be sitting on the plane, you generally need to book early. So, if you feel that being close to the washroom is important, like when you are potty training, then the earlier you book, the more likely you are to get a nearby seat. If possible, find a schematic of the plane you plan to fly on so you know which seat you want when you call for your ticket. At the very least, ask the booking agent when making the reservation if you have specific concerns. If you are quick to tell them the exact location, you will make their job a lot easier.

If your child is small enough, you should have them fly in a car seat. There are often seats which are intended for flying which you can rent at the airport or from a local company. Renting means you don’t have to splash out a lot of money for just a few trips a year, plus you can use it during your trip as well. Leaving yours at home can really reduce your headache; believe me! Find out what your options are locally, at the airport and with the airline and then locate a seat.

Your carry-on luggage will need to contain a ton of things for your kids to do in case they get bored. Its a great idea to be able to provide them with something new every 30 minutes or so. So, take coloring paper and pencils (don’t bring markers as they can damage the seats), games, electronic devices (which you can mute), a favorite plush toy, in fact anything that will keep them entertained. Remember that some items can be borrowed from the stewards, such as a pillow and blanket, so only pack that which you can’t get during the flight.

Of course, kids get hungry, and the food on the plane is often prohibitively expensive. On top of that, salty nuts and snacks aren’t particularly healthy, and many kids won’t even like them. So, take your own snacks so that your kids won’t whine about starving to death the whole way during the flight. Choose healthy, filling options which won’t make a mess, like a sliced apple for example. Avoid dips, popcorn or trail mix as it’s more likely to end up on the floor than in their mouth. If you have a very small child, don’t forget to bring some bottles, even if you only fill them with warm water. Remember: a hungry or thirsty child is an unhappy child!

Now that you know how to fly in peace, you need to start preparing. The earlier you begin, the more you will accomplish. Not only will you get to your destination with a smile on your face, you won’t upset anyone else on your flight. Being a good parent starts by being a good person, and when you work hard to ensure others aren’t inconvenienced by your kids, you are proving your worth.

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