Now that we've been back from our Roman holiday for almost a week (it's seems like yesterday and also forever ago that we were there), I thought I'd share some tips about what made flying more enjoyable for Bunny and Wallie, who are 7.5-years-old and 5.5-years-old, respectively.
The first best thing we did was to book a flight that left in the afternoon from San Francisco. This meant that once on the plane, the girls did some activities, ate dinner, brushed their teeth, then settled in to sleep for the night. I do need to add one GINORMOUS caveat in that we flew business class (thanks to Tata), and so the girls were sleeping on beds, but bear with me. The timing of long flights is super-important. We've done plenty of 5-7 hour flights in coach that we timed with nap or bedtime to make sleeping (for the girls, anyway) easier.
Be sure to dress them in comfortable clothes (like sweatsuits or leggings and cotton dresses for girls) and bring along anything (yes, blankies and stuffed animals) that will help them sleep better.
THE BEST SUITCASE FOR KIDS
Another thing that my mom did was get the girls real, adult-sized (but small) carry-on suitcases, the kind with the four independently-turning wheels (aka "spinners") that you can push along with just a finger. Rather than having to lug heavy backpacks full of coloring books and snacks that you end up having to carry anyway, the girls (mostly) happily wheeled their suitcases along. Another bonus, they were easy to get open to find whatever it was they needed, and they were roomy enough to shove jackets (and any Duty-Free items you happen to buy!) into.
FUN KID ACTIVITIES FOR AIRPLANES
The fact that the suitcases were rolling meant that we load them up with plenty to do. Into each suitcase went:
- new coloring books
- grade-level activity books
- homework (for Bunny)
- a book of sticker "paper dolls"
- one of those giant sticker activity books
- blank journals (one for each)
- a "learn how to draw" book
- two chapter books for Bunny (could have brought more, she finished one on the plane and one within two days of landing)
- 3 "I Can Read" books for Wallie—Miss "I Can Read It All By Myself" is all about the Level 2 books, and thank god they are skinny, plentiful, and cheap.
- a box of crayons
- a pack of markers
I also packed:
- An Italian word book for kids
- Changes of clothes for both girls
- Snacks (kids often get hungry at times when there is no meal service)
- A hairbrush
- Extra hair ties
- A toiletry kit which includes soap and lotion (I brought this one from Noodle & Boo, which was sent to me for review and it was fabulous. Perfect for my kids' sensitive skin.)
- Toothbrushes (which we didnt need thank to the Club World "tuck kits"
- An empty spray bottle (to fill on the plane and hydrate--the air is so very dry)