Travel Tip Tuesday: Tips for Flying to Italy With Kids

flights with kids. No, no, I’ve been on flights before where other people had to worry about getting their kids to sit still, buckle up and eat their cardboard chicken, but this summer, I was there.

Our journey from the Houston Intercontinental Airport to Lamezia Terme Airport in central Calabria lead us through London Heathrow-where we had a nine-yes, nine-hour layover, to Rome’s Fiumicino where we made a mad dash to the gate to finally, home sweet home … Calabria.

As luck will have it, I’m also with child (at the time of this writing) and am preparing to travel internationally with my own mini-me at the beginning of 2011. While prepping for travel with an infant is a whole different story-and one we’ll get to here at MBV soon enough-here are some tips I’ve read and picked up for traveling internationally with toddlers and children.

1. Pre-Trip Preparation: Whether you are five or fifty-five, your first international flight can be a little daunting. So prepare your kids by telling them about airport check-ins, security lines and waiting at the gate. While I’ve never seen it, I’ve heard good things about the “Good Little Traveler” DVD that was created to help prepare children for flying.

2. Pre-Boarding Preparation: Once you and your kiddos are through security, do bathroom and hunger checks. Depending on what type of flight you are taking, you will know whether they will serve a meal or drinks. If not, tell your kids they won’t have an opportunity to eat for “X hours,” and see if anyone needs to get a bottle of water for the plane.

3. In-Flight: These tips vary greatly depending on the length of your flight and the age of your children. However, here are some things to consider.

– Entertainment: If your airline has a good in-flight entertainment system (then you are in luck) and your kids can choose from any number of family films and programming to entertain them throughout the flight. If your flight doesn’t offer good entertainment, then have an assortment of books and games-we played Old Maid and Go Fish and created our own games using a deck of cards.

– Snacks: Even on long flights when they feed you a few times, kids (and sweet-tooth crazy aunts like me) like to have a snack. We went shopping a few days before our flight and my nephew selected candy, gum and salty snacks for our flights, then I transferred them into Ziploc bags and put them in his carry-on.

– Issues: On international flights from the US to Italy, it is a good idea to encourage your kids to get some sleep. They’ll wake up in a new time zone and will need those few hours of sleep to help minimize jet lag. Additionally, my nephew used and had no air pressure problems during our flights.

What other tips do you have for flying with children?

Until next time … Buon Viaggio!

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6 Responses
  1. Ok – I will either be slammed or thanked for this tip and since I am not a doctor I would suggest checking with your doctor first. However, as with adults, melatonin can help re-set a child’s bio clock for the change in time zones, not to mention help them sleep through the flight. They have it in liquid form and it’s flavored (certo!) As to the snacks, they may want the junk but keep them away from the salt/sugar buzz. Bring fruit and cheerios (they still eat them at 7 or 37!) LOL

    Ha, thanks, Lisa!

  2. Congratulations Cherrye!
    Having done numerous intercontinental long-haul flights from Europe to Australia with at least three small kids in tow, I have several suggestions:
    Flush the toilet with the child outside the door. No kidding, but the suction noise frightened my eldest toddler so much at the time that he never wanted to go again.

    If you are bottle feeding a baby bring mineral water that you’ve bought (after security) at the airport rather than relying on the hostess and the airline to give you safe drinking water. My baby was sick after a long haul flight.

    If you have toddlers or crawlers, dress them in comfortable dark clothing because airlines are dirty on the floor. And bring a change of clothes for airsickness…

    These are fabulous tips-thank you so much for sharing. I’d have NEVER thought about the toilet thing.

  3. I started travelling with my son when he was 10 months old and each stage of development brought it’s own problems. The hardest is around the age of two when sitting still for long periods of time is really tough and they show absolutely zero interest in watch movies. One thing that worked for me was receiving help from the pediatrician in the form of a syrup that “helped” my little guy sleep through a good deal of the flight. Also, as a parent you need to prepare yourself mentally for people who will be downright mean to you just because you travelling with a small child – even before your child makes a peep.

    Boo … I don’t want to prepare for THAT! That’s just horrible!

  4. I would put down the timing of the trip. When we flew to Europe, it left Canada at 7 pm, so they were out within a few hours with their regular bedtime.

    Great point! Thanks, Running!

  5. I have have never done a long haul flight with child or children.. so no tips on that . But one thing that annoyed me is mums or dads .. that take no notice of what there children are doing. Coming back from Montreal on a night flight, the child behind the lady I was sat next too, kept kicking her seat , not only did it disturb her , it did me too…. the looks were not friendly .. and the lady next to me was trying to calm her own little girl down and so was her dad , who was sat the otherside of the little girl. I was so annoyed I had to say something in the end. I have children and travelled with them .. .. Oh yes this was my first international flight for years and years and the first one on my own 🙂

    ooooh, I HATE that. I had something similar on my last long-haul. I SO hope I’m not one of “those” moms. 😉

  6. Great tips Cherrye! Hubby & I decided not to travel back to Texas until V is at least 1 1/2 yrs old. Since we travel a lot by buss & train, hopefully she’ll be used to behaving in public…. for a while at least.

    We plan to travel back ASAP … I’ll let you know how it goes!

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