How to Make Long Flights Comfortable for the Whole Family
This guest blog post was curated for Bucky by Marie Nieves.
Traveling long distance is hard on everyone, parents, and kids—you can all get bored, restless and claustrophobic. So if you want to prevent these behaviors from boarding the plane with you, these tips will definitely make long flights more comfortable for the whole family.
Adjust your circadian clock
Even an hour’s worth of shift in your schedule can totally destroy your circadian rhythm. So, in order to land without jet lag (or with minimal jet lag), start adjusting your circadian clock in advance. Make a family rule to stay up later or go to bed earlier until you adjust to your new time zone. You can also ban phone and computer use before bed because it can shift your sleep schedule.
Pick a night flight
If possible, opt for a night flight! A 12+ hour flight will definitely take up some of your daytime hours, but make sure to do a big chunk of your flight at night. Even if you know your kid doesn’t get more than 5 or 6 hours of sleep per night, that will still get you much closer to your destination. For instance, flights from the US to Europe that take off around 8 p.m., have an hour or two of lights until people eat and then it’s lights off until landing!
There’s no way the temperature on your flight will be perfect for everyone in your family. You might be boiling or you might be freezing—you never know. So, make sure to come prepared and pack your carry-on with comfy and layered clothing. Pack cozy socks as well, but don’t be one of those people who go to the toilet in nothing but sock feet. Put your shoes on, it’s flying etiquette!
This is a must, especially if you travel with babies and young kids! The cabin pressure can hurt their ears and the noise can get as high as 100 decibels, so some earplugs are essential for a happy and relaxed child. If you forget to pack them, there’s a great chance the flight attendant has a pair for you to borrow.
Bring some comfort items
Travel pillows are your best friends on a long flight. From inflatable neck pillows to mini u-shaped pillows for the kids, there's something for everyone in the family. Also, not all airlines give out blankets, so pack a travel blanket for the kids. It will be nice for them to have some comfort items they can carry with them throughout the trip and maybe the will even catch a little shut-eye!
Bring a carrier
Very young travelers might be very uncomfortable in airplane seats, especially after hours of flying. So, make sure to bring a car seat or a carrier for extra comfort and safety. Babies can get bassinet seats, but they are in short supply, so make your reservations in advance. If you can’t get a bassinet seat, you can easily pack a lightweight baby wrap and keep your baby close to your body (and have a practical way to carry your baby when you arrive at your destination). This will not only make the flight more comfortable for the little one, but also help them feel calm and safe with your touch.
Before you board, make sure to have your devices (tablets, smartphones and readers) full of interesting games, movies, TV shows, cartoons and kids’ books. Also, download the airline’s app, because some use it to stream inflight entertainment. Keep all your chargers with you, so you can top up the batteries at all times. Extra batteries and energy banks are also a great idea in case you don’t have outlets. Not all airlines allow these on their flights, so check in advance!
Don’t forget the snacks
A two or three hour flight might pass without too many snacks, but a long-haul flight is a whole other category. Basically, pack like you’re going camping! Strategically pack all the things you know will make your little ones full and happy. Airplane food is often not too appetizing, especially in economy, so bring plenty of snacks in case your kid refuses to eat (or is sleeping during meal time). You can also sneak in a few treats that will remind your kids that flying is a special and happy occasion and to reward them for their good behavior. If they have a favorite treat they rarely get to eat, make an exception and bring it with you!
The air on planes is often very dry, which can make you dehydrated and end up with a sore throat. So, pack a good moisturizing cream and hydrating spray and make sure to drink plenty of fluids. A glass of water every hour will keep you feeling fresh and healthy!
Long-haul flights are hard on the body and mind, that’s for sure. However, with some prep and good planning, you will arrive at your destination faster than you think. Make sure to pack your positive attitude and your entire family will have a fun and bearable flight.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels she likes to read poetry and prose and surf the Internet. Her favorite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag. She spends most of her free time at home walking her Labrador Retriever named Max. She is an avid lover of photography and a regular author at High Style Life. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.