Flying internationally with kids is not horrible, but it certainly is not easy either. As I start to get us ready for our flight to Singapore I realized that others might benefit from knowing what I do to make things go as smoothly as possible. Here are my tips for making your overseas flight easier.
I pack an assortment of various things to make the actual flight easier. On most overseas flight the airline will probably give you some of these items like earplugs and a sleep mask, but just you will want to find out. Where ever you sit on the flight, they will give you at least one main meal and breakfast. I recommend taking books that more than one child will enjoy reading. That way when one child finishes a book the other kid can read it. Or have everyone share a Kindle account and add the app to each kids device. Then everyone can share.
Overseas Flight with Kids Packing List
- Sleeping mask
- Ear plugs
- Books – one or two per person
- Personal electronic device – iPhone, iPod, iPad, Yoga book
- Charger – one per device
- External battery packs
- Blanket – one for each child that wants one
- Pillow pet – one for each child that wants one
- Lip balm
- Moisturizing eye drops
Help Your Child Sleep on a Flight
Melatonin – Now you may not be okay with one of the things I do. I give my kids melatonin to help them sleep on the plane. (Feel free to leave a judgmental comment below.) Melatonin is safe for kids and is available over the counter. If your child cannot swallow a pill get them it in the gummy version. Once we are in the air I check to see what time it is in the country we are headed to. I want us to start adjusting our sleep as soon as possible, because jet lag is hard on kids. Before it is evening time in the country we are headed I give each child a melatonin. My hope is always that they will get at least 8 hours of sleep on the flight.
Comfort Items – In addition to melatonin we have pillows and blankets. They will give you a blanket on the flight, but often times we like our own better. We take a thin fleece that is easy to travel with and lightweight. We also take pillow pets, they are more comfortable than neck pillows. They are easy to transport because they are light weight and can be shoved in a suitcase handle.
So, each child has a pillow, blanket, the strongest dose of melatonin I am allowed to give them, ear plugs, and a sleeping mask.
Bed Seats – If at all possible spring for business class. The seats fold down into beds and this will greatly increase the chances that your child will be able to sleep. I know a lot of people that work reward credit cards in order to get upgrades like this whenever they fly internationally. And although I am not big on credit cards in this instance, I think it is worth it.
One of the toughest things about being on a plane for an extended period of time is drying out. Make sure your child is drinking enough water throughout the flight. You will also want to make sure each child has lip balm, because their lips are going to dry out. Take some lotion as well, because everyone’s skin is going to feel dry. And this may be over the top, but I also have eye drops with me. That way, if anyone’s eyes are getting too dry we can quickly remedy it.
Do Homework on the Plane
Last but not least, if you are headed out on a large trip like this chances are your child is missing some school. Let every single teacher know ahead of time by at least a week that your child is going to be absent. Many teachers will send work with the child. I have my kids do homework on the airplane on the way over and on the way back. It is amazing how much work they can get done in a few hours.
Just look at Eden in the background working on her homework!