Travelling through an airport can be a stressful and complicated process at times, regardless of who you are with. However, if you are travelling as a solo parent, things can quickly become much more overwhelming.
With no extra pair of hands to help you, everything is suddenly down to you. Whether it be keeping your little ones entertained, soothing their cries or getting them safely through security, it’s a lot to handle.
However, as daunting as the thought may be, it is still possible for you to have a successful airport journey as a single parent - you might just need to pick up a few pieces of advice along the way!
So, before you head off on your big adventure, scroll down below and see if any of these pieces of advice can help to ease your concerns:
1. Research airline policies before booking
Firstly, it is important to note that not all airlines are the same. Depending on who you are flying with, you will need to research the plane’s seating arrangements before you book. For example, some airlines require that you must pay for a seat reservation if you are travelling with children under 12. Meanwhile, other flights will guarantee that you can sit with your children if they are under 12 at no extra cost. So, shop around if you can, and see which airline can give you the best option for you and your kids.
2. Pack outfits in self-seal bags
When you are travelling alone with children, the number one thing you should aim to be is organised! One such way to achieve this is to make sure that you are ready for every situation. If your child has a habit of getting their clothes messy, make sure you pack a spare outfit in your hold luggage in a clear bag, so that you can easily find it. The last thing you want is an added bit of stressful pressure!
3. Take your pushchair to ease security time
For many, the waiting times for security is one of the most grating parts of being in an airport. However, what you might not realise is that travelling with a young child can have its advantages! Before you fly, check your departure airport’s rules surrounding children in pushchairs at security, as they might be given priority. For example, at Manchester Airport, you can use the free fast lane available. Gatwick Airport has also introduced dedicated family lanes for children in pushchairs. So, it’s definitely something that is worth looking into!
4. Use a portable cup to minimise spills and help blocked ears
Each time you take a flight with your little ones, you need to be prepared for the possibility that it might be a bumpy ride - and a painful one, too, if your children tend to suffer from blocked ears. One way to help ease these difficulties is to bring a portable cup, lid and straw with you for your child. Not only will it prevent spillages during turbulence, but sucking on a straw will help to avoid them getting popping ears.
5. Research children’s freebies on board
Who doesn’t love a great freebie? When travelling with kids on a flight, airlines might offer you some complimentary, fun-filled activities to keep them entertained. For example, on a Virgin Atlantic flight, you can ask for a KiD backpack for children aged 2-6, which includes highlights such as a holiday journal. Also, with British Airways, children can enjoy a Skyflyers activity pack, which features items such as an eye mask and a postcard.
6. How to combat the holiday blues
That’s right, it’s not just us adults who get hit with holiday blues once we arrive home! Ahead of your journey back to normality, make sure to plan a handful of exciting things that you and the kids can look forward to doing together, before they need to return to school. Whether it’s something simple like creating a scrapbook of holiday memories, or one last day out to go to the cinema, your kids hopefully won’t dwell too much on all of the fun that they have left behind.