Surviving the Airport with the Kids

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Woo – we are in Ibiza!  This is our first trip as a family of 5 travelling abroad via an airport.  So, with that in mind, I knew that I had to be super prepared for not only our holiday, but our time at the airport too.  We are lucky enough to live a very short distance from an Airport.  So for us, we really don’t have to take into consideration a long car journey to get there.  However, after countless hours of packing, pre-booking your plane seats wisely and downloading numerous films on the iPad, you now have to navigate your time at the airport with the sprogs!  Not everything goes to plan, but with some planning, you can attempt to make your life easier.  Here are my top tips for surviving the airport with the kids.

Top Tips for Surviving the airport with the kids

BEFORE YOU GO

1.Pre-book your seats.  This can be a nightmare trying to sort whilst at the check in desk, especially if there are not enough available seats left together.  This will just add stress and cause worry for you as a parent knowing that you’ll have to be separated from your partner and children on the flight.  It’s an extra £50 odd, but worth it for the added security.  Also, consider where you want to sit on the plane and where’s best for the children.  Do you need extra leg room?  Do you prefer an aisle seat or being close to the toilets?

seats on a plane

2.When possible, check in online at home.  We had never done this before prior to our Ibiza trip but it is super easy.  You can print all your boarding passes at home and in this case with Jet2Holidays, you can even add them to your iPhone wallet on your mobile.  We’ve done both just to be safe!

3.Even though we do not live very far from our local airport, our taxi collecting us was 20 minutes late!  Therefore, my first tip would be to leave in PLENTY of time.  If it means more time at the airport then so be it.  There is nothing worse that running late with the kids screaming, being demanding and adding to the tension and anxiety.  If you are driving, consider where you’ll be parking and the time it will take to transfer from your designated car park. If you have any booking references, get the details printed as well as on your phone.  In terms of arriving at the airport,  most airlines advise arriving 3 hours prior to your departure.

Woman staring at the departures board at an airport

WHILST AT THE AIRPORT

1.If you have checked in online already, then head straight to the baggage drop off point.  This would be a good idea to confirm with a member of staff where you need to drop off your buggy if you have one (or two!)

2. Consider the safety of the children.  I sometimes dress the children in bright colours or matching outfits when on days out so I can easily see them.  Another idea is to purchase ID bracelets for your children, containing contact details just incase they were to wander off.  It’s unlikely but it can happen and I always think its best to air on the side of caution.  Prepare your children about how busy airports can get.  Ensure they hold hands with you, your partner or each other and if you have one, a buggy.

A close up of W's ID bracelet from Butler and Grace

3. In line with the safety side, consider taking a harness for your toddler, or a baby carrier.  Having a baby carrier really do help when you have a spare set of hands.  Or if you have a toddler like me, or just loves to climb out of the pushchair and run off, then a toddler harness is for you.

Baby K wearing reins

3. Grab something to eat.  Airports can be boring for kids!  To bide some time, treat them to a fun breakfast/lunch or dinner.  At Birmingham we have an array of dining opinions including Burger King, Giraffe and Frankie and Benny’s.  Normally these restaurants will provide some colouring, a place to refuel and relax before boarding your flight.

4. The best tip for surviving the airport with the kids? Consider entertainment. Lets face it, children’s attention spans can be short and technology can save our bacon!  Prepare your iPad with their favourite films and apps downloaded and maybe treat them to a new toy to keep them entertained. Take a magazine of their choice to read too or their favourite sticker book.

A close up of the magazines for the kids whilst trying to survive the airport with kids

5. Check if the airport has an airport play area for the children.  Most do now and if so, pull up a seat and let the kids run some energy for a bit.  No matter how long your flight time, the kids do get grouchy on the plane.  They need to stretch their legs as much as possible and hopefully have a little nap on plane!  If the airport your flying from doesn’t have a soft play, then find an area that’s safe for your little ones to have a little run, play tag or dance to a little music off your iPhone.  Most families will also be navigating surviving the airport with kids too, so you should be socially accepted!

We all know how hard it is surviving the airport with the kids!  However, if none of this works, then maybe little tipple would help us parents calm our nerves!

Not sure what to pack?  Check out Travel Loving Family and their packing guider short trips in the sun

Any more tips you can add below?

 

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10 Comments

  1. August 20, 2018 / 8:39 am

    When I went to Antalya with my daughter who is 8, we decided to take an internal flight to istanbul. The taxi was well over half an hour late and it worked out to our favour because it meant very little waiting time at the airport. I hate waiting at airports. I find airport restaurants expensive so I normally book into a lounge, because some lounges around the world have free kids entry. Or I take snack and porridge pots to eat.

    • August 22, 2018 / 7:10 am

      Oh yes I would love to go into a lounge. I wonder if it does work out cheaper for us for next time – I will definitely check it out!

  2. August 20, 2018 / 9:02 am

    This is a brilliant post! We go away for first time with the kids in a few weeks and I’m so nervous about traveling with the boys!

    • August 22, 2018 / 7:08 am

      Ah thank you but try not to be. I sometimes think the thought it worse that the actual doing! Hope my tips help!

  3. August 20, 2018 / 4:45 pm

    I love the little ID bracelets. Having G mobile this year is going to be a Herculean effort for us as a family of five! Great tips as usual Willow xx

    • August 22, 2018 / 7:07 am

      Thanks Shan! I defo think that once the kids become mobile it’s such a different story!

  4. Hannah | MakeDo&Push
    August 21, 2018 / 8:38 pm

    We always leave plenty of time! I hate being late to anything… although I think my husband would quite happily rock up 20 minutes before the flight if he could! xx

  5. August 26, 2018 / 8:42 pm

    I didn’t know airports had play areas, I will check to see if ours does. My tips are: get fast track for security if travelling at a peak time so you spend less time queuing, have a sit down meal (it kills time and if you are flying budget like we normally do it saves trying to feed the children a proper meal on the plane) and if you have a toddler look at a trunki or similar. We don’t need to take a pushchair away, but having something that means we can wheel the slowest member of our group through security is helpful.

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