The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's baby is due any day now, and we're betting the royal couple are already planning their first trip abroad as a family of three. But as we all know, flying with babies and toddlers is precarious. Sore ears during take-off and landing, meal and sleep times disrupted and a lack of space to burn off energy can result in extremely grumpy little ones. So how do you prevent mid-air meltdowns (from both tots and parents!)? Well, the key is being prepared: with packing, snacks, on-board entertainment and comfort. Get all this right and things CAN go smoothly.
Here, some of our favourite celebrities share their top travel tips...
Relax the rules
Gwyneth Paltrow is our kind of parent. The actress told her lifestyle site Goop: "Keeping them entertained is important. I pack games like UNO and Battleship. And the iPad is essential! On the plane, they can play all the games and watch as many shows as they want.” Gwyn, we're with you.
Jessica Alba and her family
Buy child-friendly luggage
Actress Jessica Alba has got packing nailed with her daughters. She told Conde Nast Traveller: "The girls also have their own bags, and love the ones from Emily & Meritt because they feel fashion-forward, have big wheels so they are simple to manoeuvre, and easily store colouring books, blankets, and a spare outfit." Jessica adds that she also packs a flight bag for herself with an outfit change in case of spillages. Good idea.
We love this tip from TV presenter Holly Willoughby. The star dresses practically on board a plane when travelling with her children. She has said: "It has to be really comfy and essentially, it has to be dark because the kids get paw prints over everything." The mum-of-three is a packing ninja too, revealing: "I always have a total dirty washing bag on holiday so that when I get home it is piled straight into the washing machine and all the clean stuff is together."
Prepare to entertain
Loose Women panellist and soon to be mum-of-three Stacey Solomon is a pro when it comes to keeping her sons busy on long journeys. The star told Closer Online: "Favourite toys and games are your diversion weapons, plus essentials like water or a change of clothes can save the day." Stacey said she takes books, games and lots of snacks to distract her children on car journeys, along with a good sing along. “Make the journey part of your family adventure," she advises.
Stacey and her sons
Emirates’ flight attendant Emily Jones has a fair amount of experience when it comes to helping parents with small children on board planes. She advises packing lots of snacks to keep the little ones happy.
She says: "On-board meals won't always be served during your usual routine and small nibbles here and there are a great distraction technique. Snacks that travel well, such as dried or fresh fruit, and anything in a ‘natural packaging’ are your best friend in the air. Skins help with hygiene and freshness, so fruits with peels, oranges, banana, avocado etc. are a great addition to your carry-on. Rice cakes and Popcorn are also a tasty snack that won’t take up too much of your valuable weight allowance."
A peaceful bedtime
Emily also has some handy tor getting small children to sleep. "Try to create a comfortable sleep environment by using eye shades for children and covering any light sources for babies (e.g. put a blanket over the handset lights). Take advantage of when the cabin crew turn the lights down for sleeping as this is the optimal time for a nap as there are less distractions. Before settling your children off to sleep, make sure their seatbelts are on so that the crew don't have to disturb you."
Ask for help
Cabin crew aren't just there to serve you drinks – they can also help you with your child if you need a short break. Emily tells us: "We love to meet your little ones and are happy to have visitors in the galley which also keeps us entertained on long flights. Recently, I entertained a five-month-old baby for half an hour whilst the mother went to the bathroom and got her belongings organised. She told me it was the best 30 minutes of her 22-hour journey!"
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