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How to Survive a Long Flight with Little Kids

The accommodations are booked, the bags are packed, and you’re ready for a wow-worthy family vacation in Kissimmee. But before it’s time for fun in the Florida sun, you’ve got a flight ahead and the kids in tow—and that can sometimes be a bit of a roller coaster all on its own! So, don’t leave your parental planning up in the air. With a little planning and preparation, you’ll be able to handle anything your pint-size travel companions throw your way during takeoff and landing.

A child hugs Buzz Lightyear
Photo: @stephen.e.loyd

Packing

In your carry-on, pack a change of clothes for you and the kids—and for the flight itself, make sure the entire family dresses in comfy, easy-to-shed layers. That way you can go through security smoothly, as well as adjust to any difference in temperatures you may encounter in airports and airplanes. (Pro Tip #1: An oversize scarf can keep you warm or double as a cover-up for sleeping kids and nursing babies.)

If traveling with an infant, remember all your diaper bag essentials (portable changing pad, diaper cream, wipes, and plastic bags). Pack diapers in a zip-top bag so you can squeeze the air out and squish them down to a more compact size. And then put everything in a backpack as one of your carry-ons for hands-free ease and overall comfort. Stash the bag with in-flight essentials under your seat and put less crucial items in your overhead carry-on.

Gear

So you can be hands-free to deal with luggage, boarding passes, and anything else you might need to handle, a soft carrier or ring-sling is a must (as long as your child is still able to fit in one). When you’re on board the plane, a carrier certainly helps for trips to the washroom, particularly if you’re traveling solo with the kids. Pre-schoolers might like to pack and carry their own things, so make it a rolling bag that doubles as a seat. And a portable umbrella stroller is fantastic for helping tired little legs make their way through airports and world-famous theme parks, once your family arrives in Kissimmee.

Snacking

Rather than relying on airport or airline options for snacks, pack your own munchies instead. Grapes, bananas, fruit bars, a snack cup filled with cereal, granola bars, apple sauce, yogurt tubes, carrots, crackers, and cheese sticks are all healthy, portable options. Bring your child’s favorite sippy cup for in the air (and on the road), but you may have to fill it up after you’ve gone through security, depending on the amount of liquid and the age of your child. (Pro Tip #2: Check out the TSA guidelines on formula, breast milk, and juice in advance of your airport arrival.)

Snoozing

Sleeping can be a bit of a wild card, depending on how well your child normally sleeps or how well they can slow down on the go. Booking flight times around nap times or really early in the morning is helpful. Flying at night allows to you stick to a routine, complete with PJs, a non-sugary snack, teeth brushing, and snuggling up to read books. Bringing along a small fleece blanket, cute eye mask, portable pillow, and of course, your little one’s favorite stuffy, will often help them settle down.

Entertaining

Depending on the length of your flight, keeping kids entertained can be a bit of a challenge. Now, you may be thinking, “I’ve got an iPad!” And yes, tablets and devices loaded up with your child’s favorite movies, apps, and games are definitely on the list—along with a set of headphones. But you should also have a few other entertaining tricks up your sleeves, like sticker and activity books, coloring pads and crayons, silly putty, and noise-free toys and games. (Pro Tip #3: Bring something “new” by hiding an old favorite out of sight for a while.)

Freshening Up

Antibacterial wipes are ideal for sanitizing surfaces, while regular wipes are essential for sticky fingers and other messes. Take a minute to pull together a small first-aid kit to come to the rescue with a Band-Aid for a real (or imagined) boo-boo. A few other handy items include pain reliever/fever reducer, antihistamine, antibiotic ointment, tissues, lip balm, toothpaste, toothbrush, saline nasal spray, and some gum to help little ears out during changes in air pressure.

And One Last Thing...

A child jumps while holding the hands of his parents

Once you arrive in Kissimmee, give yourself a day to unwind and unpack. That way, if you’ve forgotten anything back home, you can plan to pick it up at one of our countless shops, outlets, and malls. And speaking of plans, be sure to visit our blog for lots of fun trip ideas, and sign up for our free e-newsletter to get all the latest and greatest news from Central Florida!

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