How to Stay Sane While Flying With Kids

Little girl looking over her seat in an airplane

As a parent, traveling becomes a labor of love if it means flying with the kids. Even if your children are usually perfect angels, spending an extended period of time at the airport, waiting in lines or cooped up on a plane can test the limits of any parent’s sanity. Whether you’ve flown with your kids a dozen times or this will be your first flight with a new baby, a little planning can go a long way when it comes to keeping everyone happy. If you’re booking a flight with your kids, you’ve come to the right place! Check out this handy list of tips to help you plan and handle your next family flight like a pro. As an added perk, you’ll get Cash Back at Rakuten at each of the stores mentioned to help give your travel budget a welcomed boost.

1. Plan Ahead

Planning ahead for your trip with the kids is the most important tool in your arsenal. You know your kids better than anyone, which means you can anticipate their needs and pack and plan accordingly. Plan your flight around the time that your kids would ordinarily be taking a nap to increase the chances that they’ll sleep on the flight. To make sure you avoid any surprises at the airport, understand what documentation and IDs you’ll need for the trip and what you’re allowed to bring on before you head to the airport. It may also be helpful to walk your kids through the process before the day of your trip so they know what to expect and how to handle it. You probably already know that getting to and through the airport is no piece of cake with little ones. Flying with kids can test even the most patient family’s limits so you may want to ease the trip-related stress with a fun suitcase that your kids can ride along on or sit on while you’re waiting in line. Check out the riding suitcases at Bed Bath and Beyond and travel in style while you add a touch of fun to your airport adventures.

2. Pack Activities

Start packing early to make sure you don’t forget any of the essentials you need for flying with children. A dedicated plane bag full of things to do on airplane rides is a great way to stay organized and have all the items you’ll need on hand for keeping the kids busy and happy. Organize your packing list by the items you’ll need for activities for each of your kids while on the airplane. It may be helpful to block off periods of time with new activities every twenty to thirty minutes to fight the boredom that can lead to less-than-stellar behavior while in the air. An upcoming flight is a great time to invest in a tablet because it means you can predetermine an entertainment playlist that you know will hold your kids’ attention for the duration of the flight. For slightly older kids, game apps are a fabulous way to keep them busy and happy on flights of any length. Out of consideration for your fellow passengers and airport patrons, be sure to pack headphones that you can get from Toys R Us for whatever app or TV show your kids end up watching.

3. Maintain a Snack Supply

Another important step on the list of tips for flying with kids is to keep your gang from becoming a hangry mess by maintaining an adequate supply of ready-to-go snacks. There will obviously be food at the airport but that probably also means waiting in lines, which might not be a no-go for an already stressed out family. Keep a supply of kid-approved snacks on hand in your flight-dedicated travel bag that will help preserve the peace. Stock up on airplane snacks for toddlers or tweens that you know they will love. Now is not the time to obsess about how many vegetables your kids eat – it’s the time to get your family from point A to B while maintaining the illusion that family flights are a fun time for everyone. For younger kids, you may want to consider giving them a small treat for every 30 minutes that they are well behaved to help them focus on surviving small increments of time quietly. Snack cups from Walgreens can help keep the crumbs at bay and the portions just the right size.

4. Stay Clean & Comfortable

When it comes to tips for flying with a baby, keeping your little one clean and comfortable is paramount. In reality, keeping up with sticky messes and keeping hands clean also applies equally to the whole family. Flying with baby or even a tween means you’ll want to pick up a travel pack of wipes available online at to help keep your pack clean and healthy. Keep an eye out for an awesome travel pack promo code to stock up on wipes and other essentials pre-flight.

5. Keep a Wild Card

In case of an emergency meltdown, keep a wild card up your sleeve that you know will catch your kids’ interest and redirect their attention away from that tantrum that everyone fears on an airplane. Air travel with kids means pulling out all the stops to keep your kids calm and happy for the benefit of your travel experience and that of the other passengers around you. Download some new apps from the App Store to add to your travel fund when you shop for the best apps for long flights. If you’re still worried about how your kids may handle the flight, consider packing small Ziploc care-packages with a note for the passengers around you with things like earplugs, Advil and a treat to let them know how much you appreciate their patience.

From the latest tech to the hottest fashions and everything in between, the editors at The Smart Shopper are in the know and ready share their expertise. Check out our posts on shopping secrets and product trends for those who live for a little retail therapy.

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