Flying solo with boys
Flying with kids fills most parents with dread. We know how hard it is to get them into the car some days to go to the grocery store, let alone across time zones in what resembles a flying Matchbox car.
So taking on the challenge of boarding a long-haul flight with your young boys without the safety of another adult to help, could be thought of as insanity. Luckily we parents are always up for a good challenge and sometimes it’s just got to be done!
To help you out, we have brought together the expertise of six frequent flyer mums to tell you their best tips to flying solo with kids.
- Choose your airline wisely. Some have great facilities including Sky Nannies to help, courtesy airport strollers if in transit etc. Carrie from Flying with a Baby
- My best tip for flying alone with a small child (or two!) is to always have free hands, so you can hold theirs. Marta from Learning Escapes
- Plan ahead so you’re not rushing and you stay calm. Know your flight times, what time you need to be at the airport, how you’re getting there and what time you need to leave home to avoid stress. Planning is so important when you’re traveling solo and stress from being late is how I ended up having a big argument with a Chinese taxi driver at Beijing Airport. It was not pretty. Evie from Mumpack Travel
- If you can get one of your family or friends to take you to the airport it will make all the difference to one flight. At least you get a hand to get excited kids into the terminal and through check-in. Nicci from Travel with Boys
- A baby carrier and a backpack are your best friend! Using a baby carrier you can slip things like passports in front of you and leave your hands free for holding extra children, handling boarding cards etc. Keri from Our Globetrotters
- When travelling with toddlers, the temptation is to pack everything: you don’t want to be caught unprepared and so you stuff bag after bag with clothes, toys and different paraphernalia. They come in handy, especially on long flights, but can be a real burden if you suddenly need to run after your child or if you have a stroller/buggy with you. When travelling solo with the kids, I always have a backpack for me and a small one for each them and I always feel in control. Marta from Learning Escapes
- At security you will most likely have to remove your shoes, electronics, liquids, belts and jackets. Make it easier on yourself by wearing slip-on shoes, no belt, and having your electronics and liquids in an easily accessible part of your bag. Nicci from Travel with Boys
- Accept help and ask for help. People are kind and will offer to help you. Let them! I once rejected Joel Madden’s offer to help me get my bags while I was carrying Emmie at Sydney airport and I really should have accepted. Evie from Mumpack Travel
- I flew solo with my son from the USA to the UK and return when he was six months old. I was dreading the experience but had to go to attend my grandad’s funeral. I was amazed at how helpful fellow passengers were when I was travelling alone with a baby. They really went out of their way to assist me. My top tip is ask for help if you need it! I couldn’t put my son down as he didn’t like the bassinet cot and screamed every time I tried to lay him down. Two elderly ladies offered to hold him whilst I ate my inflight food and I struggled to get him back when I had finished because they were thoroughly enjoying holding him and fussing him. Lisa from Travel Loving Family
- Join an airline club or lounge if you can. Airline lounges are little pockets of helpfulness. Showers before a late flight, a place to rest and to eat a meal before flying, children play areas and meals. It’s a luxury that’s for sure, but when you’re traveling alone with kids it’s one you should consider investing in. There are new airport lounges popping up all the time that you can use independently and you can get access to lounges through some credit cards. It’s worth investigating. Evie from Mumpack Travel
- Many countries require additional documentation for children travelling with only one parent or guardian. You may be able to depart places like Australia with just your kids passport and visa, but the country you’re visiting may not let you in if you don’t have the remaining documentation.
They ask for things like an official letter from your partner saying you can take them out of the country, any custody or court orders, adoption papers, and even birth certificates for those children with a different surname to the parent travelling with them. Make sure you check the entry requirements with the appropriate embassy or consulate you’re visiting. Nicci from Travel with Boys
Flying solo with kids may not be a barrel of laughs but the flight won’t last forever and it will all be worth it in the end.
Are you going to be flying with a baby? Take a look at our tips to making it easier to fly with babies.