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 flights 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. If your child is too young to read, you may want to download some Audible books for them. Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks
Table of Contents
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
- EarPlanes – If you or your kid has a hard time getting ears to pop these are super helpful.
How to Help Your Child Sleep on a Flight
Melatonin – Now you may not be okay with one of the things I do. I give each of 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. I also take this blanket, it is super compact and takes up almost now room. 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.
I recently bought a new travel neck pillow ->Cloudz Cool Gel & Bamboo Memory Foam Travel… and I love it! It costs double at the airport, so order one of Amazon before you travel or pick one up at Marshalls. Also, while looking for this pillow, I realized that Amazon has a list of the best selling travel pillows.
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.
Peppermint Essential Oil – In case you and your kid gets stuffed up a simple way to try and clear their sinuses is with a bit of peppermint oil. I just put a touch near their nose.
White Noise App – I have a white noise app we use to help block out noise on flights and in hotel rooms. I use the Relax Melodies and set it to white noise and slow waves.
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!
There are certain items you will like to have on hand when you wake up after a long haul flight like this. It’s nice to be able to freshen up, even it it’s just a little.
How to Help Kids with Jet Lag
Here are some tips for dealing with jet lag.
- Plan to sleep when you arrive – If at all possible, try to arrive at the destination no later than 1 or 2 in the morning. You can immediately go to sleep and begin adjusting your internal clock. Although it is exciting to be in a new city and the pull to go explore is strong, do not do this to your kids. They need sleep, otherwise instead of one day missed you might end up on a weird schedule and miss all kinds of things.
- Take the sleeping mask and ear plugs the airline gives you. These will help you sleep in the room.
- Do not sleep all day – If it is daytime there, get outside. The sunshine will help you stay awake.
- Melatonin – Taking melatonin will help you get to sleep. Melatonin is safe for children. If your children struggle to take a pill, give them melatonin gummies instead.
- No caffeine – Do not drink any coffee or soda on the plane. It can take up to 14 hours for the caffeine to leave your body.
- Water – Planes dehydrate you, so everyone needs to make themselves drink extra water.
Hotel Necessities Needed when Jet Lagged
- Good Mattress – Often times the hotel’s website will tout what kind of mattress the rooms have. If not, call them and ask.
- Good Pillows – If you sleep with a certain amount of pillows make sure to request them ahead of time.
- Low Noise Levels – Check recent reviews of the hotel to see if others are complaining about noise. You may be able to request a quiet corner room.
- Black Out Curtains – If the website does not tell you, just call the hotel and ask or email them. If you are on social media you can tweet them.
- 24 Room Service – Having food available when you need it is essential when battling jet lag with kids. Whether it is room service or a hotel restaurant with 24 hour service, it helps.
- Bring Filling Snacks – You may want to consider packing 2 protein bars for each person. That way when they wake up unexpectedly they can eat something filling quickly and go back to sleep.
One way or another you will get overseas. Hopefully, the flight goes smoothly and some of these tips help.
11 Tips for Flying with a baby Story
How to Change a Diaper on a Plane
If you have teenagers, then I imagine having Lonely Planet guides or other travel books handy will help them brush up on some background info on the country (or countries) you are visiting so it can add to their experience.
That is a good idea. I ask each kid to pick out one thing they want to see or do in each location we visit.