Alex’s Top 10 Air Travel Tips for Kids Travelling With Their Parents

Yoo Hoo!  So I do not know if you people realise but it is definitely quite a big thing picking out your next blog post topic, especially when you are “international” and can’t just pop to the parks for some quick research without missing quite a few days of school. I do not think I would mind as much as my teachers…

By Alex Duncan
The view from the air over London on our way to Florida

I had my lightbulb moment on the train coming home from school. I was sitting with a friend who usually gets the bus, not the train, home. We were gossiping like a pair of average thirteen year old girls (yes, I am now a teenager, whoop) and she said to me, “to be honest, you have travelled by train so many times now that you could probably go to Disneyland Paris all by yourself.”

By Craig Duncan
Plane Selfie! Ready for the flight – tips all adhered too.

This made me realise that I am quite an experienced traveller now and an expert on aeroplanes (airplanes) to and from Florida. Why would I want to go to Disneyland Paris when I have the option of Walt Disney World? Where instead of adding layers of clothing I can wear shorts and flip-flops. So I’ve decided, thanks to this deep inspiration, that I should write a blog post highlighting and sharing some of my favourite travel tips which will make up an aeroplane survival kit for children travelling with their parents.

Well with that out of the way, let’s get on with my tips!

Survival Kit with Top Tips

1) Headphones: I know that this seems silly but I find the airline provided headphones uncomfortable and useless on the older planes.  The newer Airbus A380’s (which sadly do not fly from London to Orlando) are so much quieter that any headphones are fine.  Good headphones can also double up as a sleeping method on any flight.  I always find it easier to go to sleep listening to Taylor Swift (please feel free to substitute for your favourite artist or band), or you can casually just have a jamming session because you feel like it. Alternatively, if you are lucky enough to own noise-cancelling headphones (wish list) these are great as you can do all these things and have a bit of peace and quiet too.

By Craig Duncan
Kieran and me with our iPads waiting for the flight to board

2) Tablet or Smartphone: I know not everyone owns one of these or even has access to one, but in this day and age some Year 7’s (6th graders) at my school have better phones than me! During a 9 hour flight you can definitely get through some Candy Crush levels, so an iPhone, iPad or other smartphone or tablet can keep you entertained and hopefully satisfied.

Many of the American airlines also provide USB charging from the seat so you will not ever have to worry about having no power left to send that first American tweet when you land.  The British airlines have some USB power in economy (coach) but nearly always provides it for premium economy passengers.  Please check with your airlines for information on what they provide.

Many kids do not like flying as they find it boring or scary. I am told I was always quite well behaved on flights when I was young, but I guess my Mum and Dad knew my tips. If your children are worriers and are scared something bad might happen, then distracting them with games and films (movies) is a good idea. Just be careful, as films (movies) about planes crashing are probably not the most helpful!

I have flown with many different airlines and each one offers something different.  Again, the American airlines seem to be a little more advanced and are now offering Wi-Fi on international flights at a cost.  This is great for me (not my Dad who has to pay) as I find myself lost if I cannot message my friends. Others might feel the same if they do not have access to social media, just like my Mum with Facebook. Therefore, if you are like her, then I wish you luck without Wi-Fi.

By Alex Duncan
US Airways IFE screen. Moving map – not as much fun as a film!

It is well worth taking a few hours sometime before you fly to update your Apps and download some new games.  We survive this by sitting together, about a week before we are flying, and surf the app store attempting to find some new games that will occupy us for the flight.

3) Ultrabooks and Laptops: If you are travelling from “across the pond” like moi, then you might find it useful to use the 9 hours to do something productive on your computer. I am not for one minute suggesting that listening to endless Taylor Swift albums isn’t productive, of course it is as I need to learn every lyric so that I can sing with Erin Foster when we meet up.  Nevertheless, if you unfortunately had to book your flights out of the school holidays then here is a little trick for you parents. Do not let your children have their games, comics, mp3 players, phones or tablets until they have completed that maths assignment or the English essay that was set by a grumpy Headteacher (Principal) when you asked to take your family holiday (vacation) out of term time. This is an incentive for your children to complete their homework before the real magic begins, as it is not taking time out of your family trip to Walt Disney World.  Let’s face it, when you arrive you will be so excited about the pools and parks that you will have absolutely NO time for homework.

I have recently tried this approach of distraction, I like to plug in my headphones into my laptop and write a blog post. It is quite exciting to write whilst on the aeroplane (airplane) as you know soon enough you will actually in the “Magical Mickey Land.” And yes, once written and posted, I do show most of them to my English teacher afterwards.

By WDW Today
One of the best Disney Podcasts

4) Disney Podcasts: talking about getting in the mood! Disney podcasts are a great way to get pumped for your Disney holiday (vacation). Especially ones like “WDW Today”, “The Disney Dish” and for us Brits, “DisneyBrit” as they offer a great way to find out any last minute tips for last minute planning. My Dad also enjoys ‘The Best of You Tube,’ as he says that it is a good way to be watching the funniest videos on YouTube without actually watching them!??

5) Book (preferably on an eReader like the Kindle): You might think this seems like an obvious thing to include when packing your carry on but so many people forget them as they have their other gadgets. As with the tablet and phone, a week or so before you go, have a little search through the Kindle store. There are HUNDREDS of free books available so you can download any that take your fancy – the more the merrier.  This way if you finish one, you have more as back-ups; and if you do not like the book, it is not the end of the world as you have other options and they were free. The downside of bringing good old-fashioned paper books is that they weigh you down like a tonne of bricks. A Kindle is lightweight and convenient; it also survives those excited splashes from the swimming pool, whereas you might find a book ends up rather soggy…

*Caution: I am not saying your Kindle is waterproof. Please do not drop your Kindle in the water – Thank You*

6) Downloaded TV Series or Film: In addition to the inflight entertainment, which on most flights from the UK is like an On-Demand Sky (Cable DVR) system, you could also download a TV series or film to watch during the flight. It is as simple as plugging in some headphones into your tablet or laptop and catch up on any missed episodes of your favourite shows. I like to just have a collection of old “Outnumbered” episodes (if you have never watched this charming BBC TV series then I highly recommend it) even if I have seen them a gazillion times, they just never get old. This is also a good idea if you will not have access to a TV in your hotel or villa (not that most rooms are fitted with one anyway) then you can watch these in the evening if you wish to help you get ready for bed. Also, if you have recently bought any Disney DVDs then they might have come with a digital download which you could transfer onto your portable device.  Something to keep you happy whilst your parents watch baseball.

7) Drawing: When I was younger, my absolute favourite pastime was drawing a brilliant picture of the aeroplane (airplane) that we were flying on, just from my rather wild imagination. If your kids are of the creative sort, maybe bring a pad of paper and some colouring pens and suggest drawing a stunning picture of the plane. It gets better… You can then ask an airhost/hostess to deliver your child’s drawing to the Captain. I can remember feeling rather special when the Captain gave me a thank you announcement!

8) Magazine or Newspaper: Occasionally at the terminal gate there might be free newspapers and magazines on offer. My parents love this, and my Dad, especially, who does not usually get to read gadget magazines, rejoices at being able to read “T3” and “Stuff!” If I haven’t moaned too much in the taxi on the way to the airport my Dad might treat me to the next issue of “Shout” or when I was younger it was “Sparkle” or “Go Girl!” I know now most little ones would want the Frozen magazine, but I was not fortunate enough for those luxuries! Kieran will load up on Beano comics too.

9) Snacks: No, I do not mean Cheetos and Twinkies (you will have enough of them when you arrive). I am talking about quality English grub. You know, Toad in the Hole and Bangers and Mash. Wait, sorry, I forgot, you can now get that all in the Leaky Cauldron in Universal Studios, Orlando (menu). I guess this means you will have to pack sausage rolls, and Walkers Cheese & Onion Crisps (chips).  Such a hardship.  Just remember the Jammie Dodgers if you are travelling with Len *wink.* Also, a sweet to suck might come in useful when you are taking off and landing, as it will ease the pressure in your ears. Try to avoid chewing gum as there is nowhere to dispose of it, but soft mints and lollypops are a good idea.

By Craig Duncan
Sausage Rolls.
By Craig Duncan
Jammie Dodgers – Len’s favourite and great with a cup of tea
By Craig Duncan
English crisps. Nothing quite like Walkers Cheese & Onion

Lastly,

10) A Watch: You are probably thinking this right know, “Gosh, some of the other tips were strange but seriously, a watch? Most people already wear one!” This is not what I mean. I suggest you get your child wearing watches and getting them to change the time over to American time.  Also, have them time the flight and counting the hours down to their holiday (vacation). I think it is nice family thing to do and gets you in the Disney spirit.  Do not forget you should set your watch back to English time if you are on a night flight coming home. That way your children will realise how late it actually is and it might make them feel tired and more likely to go to sleep for most of the flight. I know aeroplanes (airplanes) are uncomfortable but this does help, especially if you know that when you wake up you will be home and re-united with Wi-Fi and full English breakfasts. This has been proven (by us) to prevent a bad case of jet lag.

Photo by Alex Duncan
A selection of our own Watches – Disney of course

I hope that you will find these tips handy on your next visit. If you have any questions, or other tips, you would like to share please comment below.

Love always, Alex xx

Alex Duncan

Hi, I am Alex and I am 13 years young! Something else unique is that like Harry Potter I am a wizard! No, wait, sorry, I meant to say I am from England! Although we live in England I am so lucky that we have a second home in Clermont, Florida and this summer marks my 38th trip. I am attend Tonbridge Grammar School for Girls and am a 1st Kyu brown belt double black tip in karate. I have a 10 year old brother, Kieran, who wants to be the Captain of a Disney Cruise ship one day and my Mum and Dad are also big Disney fans (well they bought the house after all). I love shopping, adore Taylor Swift and I am on Twitter and Instagram. I have skills! Love always, Alex

18 thoughts on “Alex’s Top 10 Air Travel Tips for Kids Travelling With Their Parents

  • February 10, 2015 at 12:49 pm
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    Fab blog well done cant wait for the next one xx

  • February 10, 2015 at 1:07 pm
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    Thank you Emma x. More to come for sure.

  • February 10, 2015 at 1:08 pm
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    Also to all Taylor Swift fans (like me), I made sure there were exactly 1989 words in this blog post. Skill.

    • February 10, 2015 at 5:13 pm
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      Another thought. The Fuji “Instax” cameras are modern cameras; with modern film that spits out polaroid prints like the Taylor Swift Album cover shows. They are affordable and the film is affordable. The kids could take pictures on the plane of the Flight attendants (asking them) and themselves on the plane. And watch them develop. I find these cameras great ice breakers for conversations and there’s big interest in having a physical object spit out of the camera that develops before your eyes.

      • February 11, 2015 at 2:41 am
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        Hi Sam,

        I so wanted one of those cameras for my birthday but in the end of my Dad just bought me an app for my iPhone which does the same thing apart from it doesn’t print out the photographs! So is not really the same thing at all is it Dad.

        But that is such a great tip and the kids would have so much fun doing that thank you.

  • February 10, 2015 at 1:13 pm
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    These are good tips for anyone embarking on a long flight, not just kids. Thanks!

    Also, are there really 1989 words in the post? My daughter Josie will get such a kick out of that!

    • February 10, 2015 at 5:06 pm
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      Speaking of which there’s a company that’s making the film for the SX-70 again. Pricey and a bit finicky…but if you have an old one (SX-70) it might be worth a shot—Google “Impossible Project”. Apparently the Taylor Swift album has help interest in the “Project”. Fuji make another SX70 type camera now too.

  • February 10, 2015 at 1:17 pm
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    I counted them on the computer Erin 🙂

    • February 10, 2015 at 1:42 pm
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      Your editor didn’t know that. I can’t promise it still does.

      • February 14, 2015 at 6:50 am
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        🙂 thank you x

  • February 10, 2015 at 8:43 pm
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    Great post, Alex. I spend so much time with adults who like to go to Disney, I like hearing the perspective of a kid who likes to go to Disney. It’s pretty similar actually.

    Please tell me that when you sing with Erin Foster, Len is going to host a Touring Plans meet-up so we can all be your audience.

    • February 11, 2015 at 2:41 am
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      Thank you Ric. That’s very kind.

  • February 10, 2015 at 11:21 pm
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    FYI
    1975 words
    8712 characters without spaces or line breaks

    So it did come down a little from the 1989. plus I included what was in parenthesis. I assume those could be from the editor.

    My only comment would be that sleeping is my best tip for the longer plane ride.

  • February 11, 2015 at 2:48 am
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    Hi Ron, thanks, but I can promise you when it left Word it was. WordPress may have done a few edits maybe.

    Thank you for the sleeping tip. I purposely didn’t include that in this post because parents all have different views of when they and thier kids should sleep on a plane. Some are “the holiday has begun do what you like” and others (like mine) are more like you still stay in your routine until we get there.

    My tip about watches alluded to the fact that on the return I think it’s a great idea to try and sleep and go back to your native time zone. We always get excited for the journey there and back but you have to take into account that if you don’t sleep on the night flight then the next day is a washout and your body clock will be all over the place.

    So I suppose my tip on the to USA flight would be to grab a couple of hours sleep when you can and on the return night flight to sleep as much as possible.

    Thanks again x

  • February 11, 2015 at 7:26 am
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    Who better to write this than someone of the proper age with lots of experience! Nice work!
    (I’m partial to McVities and HobNobs myself.)

    • February 14, 2015 at 6:49 am
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      Thank you. Great choice of biscuits too. I hope it’s the choccie HobNobs 🙂

  • February 12, 2015 at 2:44 pm
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    Excellent post, thanks so much!

    • February 14, 2015 at 6:50 am
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      My pleasure x

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