Can I carry toys on the plane?
15 TIPS FOR FLYING WITH (SMALL) CHILDREN
I can empathize very well when one dreads flying with children. You might still get a child under one roof, but the more children, the more complicated it becomes. Especially when the children are still very young. Then your thoughts revolve around everything that could go wrong on a (long) flight. And the bigger the family, the more luggage you have to take with you. When traveling by car, all kinds of stuff can be conveniently loaded into the trunk, but how do you get all the many things on the plane? Where do you put all your hand luggage and how do you keep the little ones busy during the long flight?
Questions upon questions! And I can empathize so well that many parents ultimately have too many fears and doubts and for this reason decide not to travel by plane. However, that's a shame, because many beautiful destinations can only be reached by flight.
That's why I really want to take away your fear of flights with (small) children. And I hope I succeed!
Lilli, Lotte and Tom are quite experienced by now. We have already traveled and flown so much with the three of them and will certainly continue to do so. Every flight takes a lot of preparation, but if you plan ahead and keep a cool head, nothing can go wrong. Promised!
1.) The travel destination
When choosing a travel destination, you should be well informed about many things in advance. It is best to ask yourself the following questions: Does the area offer something for the whole family? How far is the airport from the accommodation? Are there pharmacies, doctors and supermarkets nearby? How is the accommodation equipped? Is there a washing machine, microwave, dishwasher, high chair and cot? What can I not do without? How child-safe is the accommodation?
2.) The packing
I find it very helpful to create so-called “packing lists”. On it you write down everything (!) That has to be included and should not be forgotten under any circumstances. It starts with clothing and ends with diapers. Most of the time, when you write it down, you think of things that you almost forgot. Medicines, for example. Or charging cables and the baby monitor. In any case, you should be quiet when making this list. When packing later, you can tick off everything that has already been stowed away and thus keep an overview.
3.) The car seats
Of course you can rent car seats on site, most rental car companies offer this. However, the price can be quite cheap. Plus, you don't always get the best car seats. That's why I find them for big kids BoostApaks from trunki super practical. They are a backpack, hand luggage and car seat in one. At the airport, the children can carry the BoostApak like a backpack, on the plane the BoostApak is considered to be normal hand luggage, in which you can stow toys and goodies, and while on vacation it turns into a booster seat for the car.
As already mentioned, baby and toddler car seats can be borrowed if necessary or you can take your own seat with you from home. Most airlines offer car seats, strollers and even travel cots free of charge. Nevertheless, you should definitely inform yourself about it in advance! And don't worry about all the luggage! In principle, things are only unloaded briefly at the airport, brought there to the bulky baggage check, picked up at the destination airport and then loaded into the rental car. So it is not a disruptive baggage.
4.) The hand luggage
Trunki also offers small children's suitcases that not only look cute, but also offer plenty of storage space. And children are happy if they have their very own hand luggage with them! The trunki children's suitcase are an alternative to the BoostApaks. They come in many cute designs, they can be pulled or carried and they are also little slide cars. They can also be locked.
Micha and I also always take a large backpack, my handbag and a diaper bag with us. We stow cameras, tablets, headphones, drinks and snacks in the backpack, toys (e.g. coloring books and pens, picture books, puzzle books) in the children's hand luggage, money and papers in the handbag and changing clothes, diapers, wet wipes and a changing mat in the diaper bag and garbage bags (for stinky diapers and dirty laundry in case a mishap happens).
Do not worry: There is enough space on the plane for that large amount of hand luggage!
4.) The suitcases
We usually take 3-4 large suitcases with us. It all depends on where it's going. For cold areas we take a lot of warm clothing, rain gear and change jackets with us. All of this takes up a lot of space, so you need a lot of storage space - especially with five people. On summer vacations, there is usually much less space.
We've owned it for years, by the way Titan case and are very happy with them.
Tip: You should always plan some air in your suitcase when packing, because it is not uncommon that you shop a lot of great things on vacation that also have to be stowed in the suitcase on the return flight.
5.) The time at the airport
First tip: Be sure to check in online! That saves time and nerves at the airport. There all you have to do is check in your luggage and go through the security check. The whole thing is usually a bit chaotic, but you can still do it, don't worry! We'd rather plan more time at the airport than too little. Because usually someone has to go to the toilet again or Tom has to change diapers again or a child suddenly becomes very thirsty or hungry.
The waiting time at the airport usually goes by pretty quickly. I always think it's nice to have a bite to eat after dropping off my baggage and then go to the respective gate in peace and wait there together. For longer waiting times you have toys and painting supplies in your hand luggage. However, it is usually exciting enough at the airport without additional toys. There is always something to see or to discover.
6.) The bulky baggage
We have an old stroller that is pretty worn out after all these years and two kids, and a newer one. So far, we have always taken our old strollers with us on air trips and were really happy about it, because things weren't necessarily handled with kid gloves.
If you want to protect your bulky luggage such as the stroller and / or the car seat well, you should get so-called "Airshells" borrow. This is where things can be stowed safely and easily. The best thing to do is to take a look at the page um! * There you will find a lot more interesting information. In principle, the whole thing is really uncomplicated: You reserve the airshells online and pick them up on the desired day at the selected airport. Then you stow your bulky luggage in it. When you arrive at the destination airport, you simply return the protective cover as soon as you have your luggage back. It's really very simple and makes a lot of sense!
* supported by product placement
In the following two graphics for a better idea:
7.) Just before departure
Again and again I observe parents who hold their children very back in the waiting area. However, I think it should be handled differently: Let the children play again, go for a walk with them, let them romp! The longer you have the opportunity to move around properly, the easier it will be for you to sit still on the plane later.
And another tip: Children can be loud and wild. Always! That's why I think it's really nice if you say hello to the passengers sitting in front of and behind you on the plane shortly before departure and apologize in advance for any inconvenience. You can then directly point out that you are welcome to say something if something should disturb you. I think that's just a very attentive gesture that ensures a good start together.
8.) Don't be afraid of stopovers!
It is quite exhausting to stow all the hand luggage again, to take it with you again, to keep an eye on all the children and to change trains, but ultimately no drama. Children find all of this exciting and unfortunately, on many flights, changing trains cannot be avoided. The waiting time at the new airport can be passed away wonderfully with painting materials, short walks and / or snack breaks.
9.) Aids against ear pressure
A good tip is to give the children nasal drops about 30 minutes before departure. This reduces the pressure in the ears. During the flight itself - specifically when taking off and landing - it helps when older children chew chewing candy or chewing gum. Smaller children and babies can be breastfed, fed or soothed with a pacifier. At best, you should have all these things at hand.
10.) Fly with the baby
As a parent, you have the choice of booking your own seat for the baby and letting it fly in its baby seat, or of taking it on your lap for the flight. There are special belt systems for this. There are changing tables in the toilets, and there are even cots in the front rows of seats. You should reserve these family seats in good time. Otherwise, as already stated above, always have everything to hand! This includes things like diapers, wet wipes, bottles, toys and a change of clothes. Then nothing can actually go wrong!
Addendum: Due to many inquiries and comments, I would like to add that the use of a loop belt ... that is the belt system with which the children are strapped on the parents' lap is very controversial. If you want to fly safely with your baby / toddler, be sure to find out about the so-called loop belts and all alternatives to this system in advance.
By the way: Baby food and drinks for children are allowed! There is an exception here when you take liquids with you. These will be checked briefly at the security check, but otherwise you don't need to worry! And whenever you need hot water on board, you can prepare baby food and bottle milk.
11.) Bridge long flight times
Let's not fool ourselves! Long flight times are exhausting. For us adults as well as for children and especially for large families. But personally, I find flying much less strenuous than driving a car. Because with small children you can walk across the aisle during the flight so that they can move and play properly. You can't do that in a car. Older children are happy when they can play special children's apps and watch films or paint. And last but not least, children also like to fall asleep.
You hardly notice Lilli and Lotte during a flight, of course Tom (19 months) has to be entertained the whole time. But Micha always says so beautifully: “Once you sit inside, you have to go through it. It's okay." And he's right. =)
12.) Don't underestimate the travel time
Even a “only” five-hour flight means a full-day trip in the end. Because you have to drive from home to the airport, which in our case to Hamburg always takes 1.5-2 hours. There you need time to check in your luggage, go through security and then wait for the flight. In addition, there can always be delays. It may take even more time if you have to make a stopover. And when you arrive at the destination airport, it takes time to wait for the luggage, pick up the rental car and drive to your accommodation.
Example: We fly five hours from Hamburg to Gran Canaria. Nevertheless, we were on the road for 13 hours with a stopover and all the trimmings and 12 hours back.
With that I would like to say: don't underestimate the time! Bring enough activities and snacks with you!
13.) Health insurance
People with statutory health insurance automatically have health insurance in other EU countries. This covers the basic services and should be sufficient for most trips. Nevertheless, it is advisable to think about a private supplementary insurance. This is particularly important in non-EU countries, as otherwise high costs can arise in the event of illness.
14.) Travel documents & means of payment
Travel papers: Of course, all family members need valid passports. This also applies to the little ones. For various travel destinations, for example the USA, the requirements are stricter. Electronic passports are required here. In addition, children must look up-to-date on the photos of their passports. And last but not least, you have to consider further bureaucratic steps for different travel destinations, e.g. so-called ESTA forms have to be filled out for a trip to the USA. It is best to find out about all entry requirements in good time - preferably on the official tourism website of the respective country.
Means of payment: Within the EU you can get along very well with the EC card, outside the EU you should urgently think about a recognized credit card (VISA or MasterCard).
Tip: It is advisable to scan or photograph all ID cards and check cards as well as all other papers in advance and to send these scans / photos to your own e-mail address. In this way, in the event of theft or other loss, you can still access all your documents, which can be very helpful in an emergency. Of course, you have to have the password for your email account in your head so that you can access it from anywhere on the go.
15.) Rental car
Just like everything else, you can book a rental car from home. You can usually get away cheaper if you do it separately from booking your flight and booking your accommodation. If you book the rental car you want via comparison portals, you will in many cases already receive comprehensive fully comprehensive insurance. Nevertheless, the local car rental companies try to sell you more (expensive) insurance. So you should be careful and not let yourself be ripped off!
That was basically all the essentials to consider when traveling by air with children. =)
If I have forgotten something, please let me know!
Flying with one or more small children may seem like a real test at first glance, but it is by no means something to be afraid of. Once you have done all of this, you will then dare to travel further by plane. =)
The most important thing is to prepare everything well and always stay relaxed. Because the more relaxed you approach the journey, the more comfortable the children feel and the less complicated the flight becomes. In short: as long as you feel prepared for all situations, nothing can actually go wrong!
Also, think about how many babies and children are flying through world history at the moment you are reading this article! Other parents can do it too! So why shouldn't you be able to do this? Take courage!
I look forward to your experiences on this topic!
Have you ever flown with your children? If so, where and how long was the flight? Do you have a tip that you really want to pass on to other parents and that you would have wished for beforehand?
All the best,
your Mari =)
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