Going on holiday with the family to soak up different cultures and have a lovely, relaxing time is something we all look forward to….apart from the journey that is. Going on any flight with young children can be stressful, but a long-haul flight can be torture, particularly if you aren’t adequately prepared. Expecting them to sit still at the cinema is a feat in itself and so expecting them to do so for 6 or 7 hours in a confined space, really is asking for trouble.

Whilst the excitement of boarding the aircraft, the noise of the engines, and the sheer amazement of flying higher than the clouds will keep them amused for a little while, the novelty will wear off. When it does you need to be prepared. Here are 4 ways to make a long-haul flight with young children slightly more bearable.

In-flight entertainment




Many airlines will show movies throughout the flight. This is a great way to entertain the kids for an hour or two, but it won’t cut the mustard for the whole flight. Taking some travel games with you is a great idea. They take up hardly any room in your luggage, and the whole family can join in. There are many different games to buy to suit a range of ages, so you are bound to find something.

Keep them fed and watered

If a child is thirsty or hungry, it can make them irritable and upset, so make sure you have snacks and drinks with you. Airport safety may mean you are unable to take liquids through security, but you can buy drinks or fill water bottles in the departure lounge. Many airlines offer snacks at certain times throughout the flight, but it’s worth bringing your own.

Try to get them to rest

If you are flying in the middle of the night, try to get the kids to sleep. They may be excited about their holiday and the flight, but if they get overtired you might struggle to calm them down. Ask a crew member for pillows and blankets or, assuming the seatbelt signs are off, put younger children on your lap for cuddles and some down-time. It will give you time to relax too.

Don’t get stressed

It’s very easy to get stressed when travelling with kids. The slightest whimper or mood swing and parent paranoia can creep in. You suddenly find yourself wondering what other passengers are saying and thinking, which can make you feel very uneasy. Reading is a great way to relieve stress and promote a feeling of calm. Whether you fancy a book filled with anecdotal humour such as ‘Twas the nightshift before Xmas or something more uplifting and inspiring like HumanKind, the book written by Brad Aronson, just let your mind disappear for a while. It will keep your blood pressure down and give you time to look forward to your stress-free holiday

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