How to Prep For Flying With Kids


All parents have been there -- you are 30,000 feet in the air and suddenly your kid starts sobbing their brains out. Or they throw up on you mid-flight. Or they refuse to sleep on a red-eye. Whatever the situation is, Jubel knows it’s not always easy to travel with young ones. So, here are some handy tips to keep in your back pocket whenever you travel with your little guys.

Before the Flight

Consider adjusting sleep schedules a few days early to prep for the time difference

child sleeping on a striped bedspread

Going on a long trip to somewhere in a completely new time zone? Consider changing your children’s sleep schedules a few days early. Shift their bed time forward or backwards a few hours depending on where you are going to make the adjustment smoother. 

However, it is crucial to remember that jet lag will only affect children of certain ages. According to Dr. Amy Maidenberg, jet lag will not affect infants who are fewer than two months old. So if you are traveling with babies, fear not about jet lag and continue prepping for the trip in other ways. 

Another option includes letting your child stay up late the night before a big flight, so they’ll be more ready to sleep on the plane. 

Involve your kids in the trip preparation to make them more amenable to a long flight

baby and mother packing a suitcase together

Having your kids participate in the planning of the trip can make them extra excited, even for the long flight ahead. Provided they are old enough, have them help select what activities you will do, what clothes they will bring, and even what destinations you will travel to.

Doing so will help them feel more in control, add a more positive mood, and make the long flight less scary (and make them invested in successfully making it to your destination). 

Pack a change of clothes, extra food, and extra entertainment

childrens clothing laid out for packing in backpack

Let’s be honest -- you never know how the food on a plane will be, or if the entertainment system will even function. In these cases it’s better to err on the side of caution, so make sure to pack enough books, games, and entertainment to keep your children occupied, and enough snacks to keep them sated.

While it is tempting to just bring an iPad and let them go wild on television, they may remain calmer with books, coloring activities, and analog toys. Consider bringing these as well.

Furthermore, remember to pack a change of clothes not just for them, but also for you. Because motion sickness symptoms are generally more intense in children, it is possible they will get sick on the plane -- and possibly on you. Bringing an extra set of clothes for both you and your children will alleviate any misery of having to sit in some gross stuff for an entire flight. If you know your child gets motion sickness, then consider bringing dramamine (after talking to your doctor). 

During the Flight

Have your children sit in the middle or inside seats

baby sitting on mothers lap on airplane

Caz from Y Travel recommends having your child always sit in the middle seat -- and we at Jubel agree. Particularly if you are traveling with a partner, having a child sit in between you and your partner minimizes the risk of them getting up into the aisle without your knowledge or leaning out and blocking the aisle. Plus, with two parents on either side, you can sleep while your partner can help keep your kid entertained! 

Make use of new technologies to make their seats more comfortable during the flight

baby sitting in bassinet on airplane

Airplane seats are never going to be plush thrones, but did you know that there are new gizmos you can use to make airplane seats more kid-friendly? Many companies are now selling “flying beds” for kids, to make every airplane seat comfortable for your child (no matter if you are flying in economy or business class).

Check out this roundup of every child-friendly flying bed and get the one that best fits your needs! 

In addition, consider booking a bassinet seat for your toddler, if your airplane has it available. Remember, though, those seats tend to fill up very quickly, so book them well in advance of your flight. 

Give your kids lollipops -- yes, you read that right.

children and parents laughing with lollipops

One of the hardest parts of air travel for kids is changing ear pressures. Some ways to mitigate this is sucking on hard candies, such as lollipops (provided your child is over 3 years old). Plus, your child will be so excited about getting a treat that it may help alleviate the pain.

Other tips from Kids Health on preventing ear pressure changes when flying include encouraging your child to yawn, breast-feeding or formula-feeding your child, and feeding them a pain reliever 30 minutes before flying. Plus, if your kids are older, you can even engage in some breathing exercises with them to teach them how to decompress. Consider downloading Headspace or another meditation app for your older kids to use on the plane. 

Remember that this too will end 

two children putting up umbrella on a sandy beach next to blue water

No matter how hard flying with your kids is, keep in mind that this is only a temporary situation, and soon you will be exploring a beautiful new place and making memories that will last a lifetime. In 20 years, you won’t remember the plane ride -- you’ll only remember the incredible time you and your family had bonding in a special new place. 

After the Flight 

Give positive affirmation to your kids! 

mother talking to child while sitting on the couch

After the flight, give positive affirmation to your kids to incentivize them to be good on the flight back. Tell them they are such good travelers, and compliment them on the things they did a good job on during the flight. No matter how hard it was, you can always find a few things to affirm and encourage for the future! 

With these tricks in mind, your kids will be ready for the long-haul flight. So whether you want to go to Mexico or Madagascar, Newfoundland or New Zealand, Jubel is ready to take you and your family on your next memorable adventure. 

Want more tips and tricks on how to plan your ultimate vacation? Check out our comprehensive trip planning guide and you’ll be a bona fide jet-setter in no time. 

Ready to jet set with the kids? Let Jubel help you plan a stress-free trip so you can enjoy your family getaway, without the hassle.