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If you’re an expat and have young children, flying long-haul flights can seem like a nerve-wracking possibility. However, there are a lot of things you can do to smooth any ‘bumps in your flight path and reduce the travelling stress.  Here are our top tips:

Tips for expats travelling with children

Plan well ahead

Forewarned is forearmed. So before you even get on the plane, ensure you have good travel insurance – covering everything from your luggage to emergency medical aid. Then place all your paperwork including your passports, ID cards and any car hire or reservation confirmations in one zip- lock plastic bag, which you can access easily.

Remember luggage can be lost, so place any essentials like spare formula, medication, nappies and a change of clothes in your hand luggage. That way, you have a ‘survival pack’ to keep you going.

Check out the layout of the plane you are flying. Some seats have extra legroom, so try and pre-book these. If you are flying with a baby under 6 months, remember to pre-book a bassinet – although these are not always guaranteed.

Consider entertainment

Another hand luggage essential is a ‘surprise pack’ to keep your child entertained on the journey. Wrapping up each item heightens the excitement and you can limit your child to one ‘present’ every few hours, to keep them going through the flight. Good ideas are colouring books, stickers, puzzles, healthy snacks and a few toys.

If you are travelling with a digital device like an iPad – which you know your child adores – limit their access to it in the days prior to the flight. That way, when you hand it over on board and tell them to ‘get playing’, they’ll think Christmas has arrived. If your child is using a digital device, ensure they have their own headphones so they don’t disturb the people around them.

A full tummy is a happy tummy

If you are travelling across time zones, you might find you have a long wait until your first meal. Pack some snacks to keep your child going until their food arrives. Sweets to suck on at take-off can help equalise pressure in their ears, which can save a lot of complaining when the flight descends. Make sure you pre-book their meals ahead of time. Many airlines have child-specific meals that often come with treats or toys and can help ease the flight journey.

The thorny issue of sleep

No one finds it easy to sleep on a flight. If you are flying on a night flight, try and wear your children out before you fly – take them to the beach, go on a small hike or anything that will prepare them to have a sleep shortly after they get on board. Sunshine, fresh air and exercise are nature’s sleeping tonics, so apply them liberally. To help your children off to slumber land, ensure you have their favourite sleep toys, snacks and drinks immediately available. It often helps to even have them in their pyjamas when you board – so you don’t have to go through the process of changing them when they are winding down to sleep.

If all else fails…

Flying with children can be difficult and fortunately most people realise this – and understand you don’t have an option. If your child is refusing to settle down and sleep, try and keep them as happy and occupied as possible – even if it requires regular walks up and down the aisles. The flight will eventually arrive at your destination…and will hopefully become a distant memory with the excitement of getting used to your new home.

If you’re thinking of moving abroad and need any advice about your financial emigration, contact us today and we’ll help you on the path to financial freedom in your new home.
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