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For all the flying we have done, my kids have ONLY twice traveled with a layover. The first time was when little man was almost two. Our flight to Fort Myers, Florida were cancelled due to weather and we had to rebook for the next day, but stopping in Atlanta. Then last year, when we went to Hawaii, we opted to arrive on Maui which necessitated changing planes in LA. I always say I am lucky to live in New York, because you can fly direct MANY places.
So today’s guest post is about layovers with kids, and how to handle them with (or without) little ones. The writer is Alex who blogs at Inspire a Better Life. He lives in Sydney, Australia.
LAYOVERS WITH KIDS
Chances are at some point in your life you’ve had to look for cheap flights, and sometimes you passed on a straight flight and went for one with a layover just because it was cheaper. A 6 hour layover may not have seemed too bad to you when you were booking the flight… but now… you’re here in a foreign airport with your kids for 6 hours and time could not move any slower. Don’t worry though I’ve got a list of how you can take this challenge head on and avoid the temper tantrums.
Do Your Research
It pays to do your research on the airport you are landing in for your layover because when you land you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for or where you’re headed. Usually on airport websites you’ll be able to locate charging stations, play areas, rest areas, showers, etc. From here, you can get an idea as to what the airport offers when you land and usher your kids in a direction without walking around in circles clueless which can lead to grumpy kids.
This is more of a general tip, check if you need to pick up your luggage and re-check it in, or if it makes the connecting flight on its own. This will be sure to save you some time.
Unlike flying by yourself or with friends, you can’t just fly with one piece of checked luggage and a handbag, oh no! You’ll definitely be making use of a carry on piece of luggage or two with your partner. These things will be your lifesavers during layovers. Be sure to pack a spare change of clothes for your kids and yourselves because guaranteed with the energy of kids and their constant fidgeting something is bound to spill on the plane or during the layover.
Some other items you’ll need include: entertainment devices, chargers, adapters, a toy, or a favourite toy. Don’t underestimate the power of your child’s favourite toy because it can make the difference between a happy child and a temper-tantrum-throwing child.
It’s tempting to whip out the electronic devices after landing to get your kids to stay in one spot as you get your bearings, however they’ve just sat around for the last however many hours you’ve flown. A great alternative to get your kids up and about and moving is to find the kids play area or playground at the airport. Some airports have specialised attractions, like Changi Airport in Singapore features a butterfly garden INSIDE the airport.
An alternative to when the airport doesn’t have a designated play area, make your own with an empty departing gate. You’ll usually find these at the end of the terminals, but you may have to move sometimes as gates are put into use. Another tip is to make sure you know how long it will take to get to your gate from where you are to make sure you have time to walk there.
When they’re bored, you can never go wrong with a pack of crayons and a blank notebook. Children’s imaginations run wild they’ll never stop finding random things to draw and keep themselves entertained.
If your layover is a domestic layover, you’ll be able to pack snacks like fresh fruit and vegetables on your flight. Just be sure to throw them out at quarantine when you arrive at an international airport. Packing healthy snacks will be your friend when it comes to traveling with kids; you’ll be able to avoid the sugar high and consequential crash which comes with eating refined sugar snacks and drinks.
If you get stuck on ideas, there are plenty of health snack options online!
No one can blame you for wanting a bit of peace and quiet during the final hours of your layover so bring out the devices for the kids. Just be sure you warn them about stranger danger, and keeping an eye over the luggage. However, you shouldn’t fall deep asleep as you can’t always be too sure with kids so always be aware, you may even sleep past your boarding time which will be a hassle.
If you need free Wi-Fi, this map reveals Wi-Fi passwords at airports around the world!
Alex Johnson a part-time blogger living and working in sunny Sydney, Australia after moving up from Melbourne. His passions in life are writing, and travelling, and writing about travel. He says, “My drive in life is to pursue each day to be better than the previous day.”
OTHER AWESOME AIRPLANE POSTS:
An Awesome Airport Scavenger Hunt (from Have Diapers, Will Travel)
Photo via Visualhunt