By Candice de Beer
The key to good travel experiences with your children – be prepared! There’s nothing more distressing or embarrassing for a parent than a child that cries or misbehaves throughout a flight. Unfortunately, apologetic glances only go so far to soothe other passengers. These top tips should help you enjoy a less eventful flight.
Check in early
Trying to rally little travellers when you’re running late is incredibly stressful. Plan ahead and arrive early. Make sure you’ve packed your tickets, flight itineraries, kid’s unabridged birth certificates (if need be), passports, IDs, and your credit card into a folder in a backpack or your handbag. This way you won’t have to rummage around trying to find your documents when you need them at the airport.
If you’re checking in a car seat or stroller ask the check-in staff to place a fragile sticker on it to indicate that it should be handled with care.
Take pity on your fellow passengers. They didn’t sign up to sit next to screaming or bored kids. Keep them occupied and everyone is happy. Pop into a store before your flight and buy a cheap colouring-in book and pack of crayons or pencils. Avoid felt-tipped pens as the ink could get all over them and the plane, and it’s a nightmare to get off material.
If your children love stories, Julia Donaldson’s Audio Collection is a winner. You might have heard of The Gruffalo. Trust us; her entire series is worth investing in. You can buy her books and CDs from any local bookstore, or order them online. Your kids can page through them while listening to the CDs. Hours can pass by peacefully.
If you own an iPad or smartphone, go to YouTube and search for Super Simple Songs. Download a selection of old favourites prior to your flight. As soon as the air hostess gives you the go ahead to switch on your electronic device, pop earphones into your little one’s ears and relax while they sit back and enjoy favourites such as The Wheels on the Bus and Twinkle Twinkle.
Pack a change of clothes
Let’s be honest, toddlers and babies are messy. No matter how hard parents try, grubby handprints on clothes or spilt drinks are inevitable. Pack a spare set just in case. You really don’t want to be stuck on a plane for hours wearing something sticky, or holding a child with wet pants.
Give them something to suck on
One of the downsides of flying is ear ache. The pain can be excruciating. Taking decongestants prior to boarding, yawning and swallowing frequently during your flight can help alleviate pressure. But it’s not so easy for little travellers. Have you ever tried to tell your toddler to pinch their nose and blow? We didn’t think so! If you’re travelling with a baby, give them a bottle or a pacifier to suck on during the flight. Moms can also breastfeed, but pack a shawl to give you and the baby the privacy you deserve.
For toddlers, give them something to chew on or a sucker. Works wonders! Fastjet sells a variety of eats and treats on board. Make it fun for your kids and let them choose their own snack.
Lastly, be considerate
Don’t let them kick the seat in front of them, lean over it or pull down on it. And if your little one is very upset and simply not relaxing, consider taking them to the back of the plane or the toilet cubicle. Time alone together can help to calm them quicker. Best of luck!
For affordable fares, friendly and helpful service and an easy booking platform, choose fastjet. You can fly to Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. View the routes here.
We look forward to welcoming you and your family on board soon.