You shouldn’t panic if your travel plans involve an overnight flight. It can actually be a blessing if you plan carefully. My family still lives in Chile and visiting them means taking a red-eye that lasts over eight hours. My children are now 7 and 10 years old, so traveling now is much easier than when they were babies.
Here’s what I have learned after more than 9 flights between Miami, FL and Santiago, Chile: planning is crucial. No matter how old your children are, if you plan carefully, the trip will go much smoother.
Tips for overnight flights with young children
- Dress your kids for comfort. Avoid belts since they are a hassle when passing through airport security, and prefer shoes that are comfortable and easy to slip on and off.
- Take an extra layer of clothing for the plane, such as a sweater, hoodie or sweatshirt. It can get quite cold during the flight, especially if you are seated next to a window.
- Pack an extra set of underwear and change of clothes for your children. Accidents happen and the last thing you want is for your little one to be stuck with wet or soiled clothes.
- Have snacks handy. Longer flights usually include meals but your children might get hungry before the flight attendants offer dinner or breakfast. Dry cereal, crackers, pretzels and granola bars can be lifesavers. I strongly advise against candy, to avoid an unnecessary sugar rush.
- Bring a lovey or a blankie to help soothe and entertain children.
- Don’t forget non-battery operated entertainment. Electronic games, DVD players, iPods and iPads are great for passing time, but you cannot use them during takeoff and landing, so keep that in mind. Coloring books, stickers, Color Wonder markers, card games and puzzles can distract your children and help you avoid tantrums.