Travel Special

Prepare for take-off

With long security lines and busy waiting areas, flying can be a daunting experience. Celia Muñoz, founder and creative director at luxury childrenswear brand La Coqueta Kids (and mother of five children!) has shared nine top flight tips.

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Arrive at the airport early

You might think arriving at the airport at the recommended time is early enough, but with toddlers it can really help to arrive a little earlier. Family holidays come with more luggage, so arriving early ensures you have plenty of time to check in and get through security. Check the airport's website in advance to see if there are any delays, dedicated family lanes, or priority boarding to ease the process.

Talk your toddler through what will happen

The entire airport process can be really daunting for children, so it’s sensible to talk them through it and manage expectations beforehand. Explaining what they can expect can make things much less stressful all round. If you’re travelling with several children, it can help to give the older kids more responsibility and let them know that you’ll need their help with younger siblings.

Write a packing list

It’s quite shocking how many things a family needs on a trip! Compiling a list of essentials like passports, nappies and antibacterial wipes well before your trip can really concentrate the mind. Circle or highlight items you will need to pack just before you go, like chargers and last-minute snacks. For younger babies, include essentials like muslins for feeding, travel changing mats, toys and a comfortable blanket to nap on.

Pack a variety of entertainment options

The key to successful travelling with children is keeping them calm and comfortable. Making sure they are entertained -–especially on a long-haul flight -–will keep them happy and occupied throughout the journey. Check the airline's requirements regarding authorised items, so you can pack smart and avoid issues. Colouring books, puzzles or a tablet along with some comfy headphones to play favourite games and videos are all good options. Don't forget to pre-load the tablet or phone with your child's chosen movies or shows for offline viewing.

Being in the window seat gives them something to look forward to during take-off and landing and keeps them from being tempted to run up and down the aisle.

Dress kids in breathable materials

Whether you're travelling to a destination with a drastically different climate or simply dealing with in-flight temperature conditions, dressing children in appropriate layers is key to ensuring their comfort. Children's temperatures can easily fluctuate, so opt for breathable materials like pure cotton, merino wool or soft linen to stop children from overheating and to help regulate their body temperature. Avoid clothing with excessive buttons or difficult zippers to make it easier to add or remove layers. Classic leather sneakers or soft leather shoes with a lightly padded rubber sole work well as natural materials will allow your children’s feet to breathe.

Prepare for air pressure changes

Most of us have experienced the uncomfortable ear pop that you get after take-off caused by the change in air pressure. For young children, this can be even more unpleasant as their ears are more sensitive. Sucking on a hard sweet like a sugar-free lollipop or a pacifier can help – but avoid loose-boiled sweets as these can be a choking hazard. Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids, as swallowing can help stabilise ear pressure and relieve any discomfort.

Let them run off energy before they board

Heading for a family lounge in the airport, with ample play space, is a great way for children to let off steam before boarding. Incorporate ‘letting off steam time’ into your travel plan so there is no need to rush.

Have one last toilet break before take-off

You want as little back and forth to the plane toilet as possible, so take your child for one last toilet break before boarding. This can be easier said than done! But it’s also an opportunity to check if anything needs to be changed, like a particular item of clothing or shoes, to ensure they are as comfortable as possible for the flight.

When seating children, opt for the window seat

An aisle seat might seem practical for quick access to the bathroom but it can expose your child to various hazards, such as their arms and legs getting caught or bumped by passing food carts. Being in the window seat gives them something to look forward to during take-off and landing and keeps them from being tempted to run up and down the aisle. Depending on your child’s age, you may need to bring a toddler car seat with you on the flight. Before you travel, check if your seat meets the FAA-approved child safety specifications and is in line with your airline regulations, as some airlines only allow front-facing seats.

Visit www.lacoquetakids.com

Hashtag #travelwithkids has accumulated over 825.3M views on TikTok, with parents sharing ‘must haves’ when it comes to travelling with little ones.

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