Skip to main content
Avoid these rookie mistakes when travelling on short flights with your kids. IMAGE: 123RF

Planning A Quick Family Getaway? Don't Make These Mistakes I Made Just Because It's A Short Flight

Just because you might be travelling short haul doesn't mean that a quick family getaway is going to be much easier than travelling on a long flight. It still takes the same amount of prep - here's how to avoid some of the rookie mistakes that I made: 


Not bringing any or enough medicine

Kids get sick. A lot. And usually on holidays or on the brink of holidays or any other time that you least want them to be ill. When you’re away from home, going to a different doctor or having to use different medicine can be very stressful. Make your life easier by packing the usual medicine kit for your kids that you use at home, and especially remember to pack a thermometer, kiddie Panadol, cough syrup, bandaids and child-friendly throat lozenges.

And make sure you pack enough! A short flight doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going for a short time, so err on the side of caution and take more than you hope to get through. I find carrying a note from your paediatrician is always helpful so you have peace of mind and not have to worry about customs, especially when you have a cranky toddler (or two) on your hands already. And please don’t forget to pack all essential medicine in hand carry rather than check in, because it's not going to be any good if it’s not immediately accessible when you need it.


Rushing to the airport

Just like a long haul flight, plan to check in early when travelling with little ones, even if it’s just for a short flight. Somehow a short flight always made me forget that the run up to actually departing is always the same and that getting to the airport in a mad last minute rush didn’t do anything positive for my blood pressure or nerves.

With the increase in traffic and roadworks literally everywhere, anticipate unexpected delays and don’t leave getting to the airport till the last minute possible. Instead, keep calm by getting to the airport early and having enough time to check in without panicking. Kids can sense your fear and panic, and it might make them more cranky and irritable, adding to your stress.


Getting to the airport under-prepared

Likewise, don’t trick yourself into thinking that the airport experience will be any different just because you’re flying two hours instead of overnight. Trust me, having your documents and passports ready to get through security and immigration smoothly, as well as having readily accessible snacks for the kids, will make a huge difference in helping you avoid unnecessary stress. 

With the increase in air travel, it's very common for flights to be delayed or for you to be sitting in a (long) queue on the tarmac waiting for take off. So don’t forget to factor in these delays and assume that you will be on and off the plane exactly as scheduled. It rarely happens so read the next point in case you’re delayed onboard.


Not carrying enough snacks and distractions/activities for the kids

You cannot afford to be without ample snacks, toys, activities and distractions for the plane rides. Short flights often take place on budget airlines, which probably won’t offer any kids meals, so you’ll have to come prepared with your own healthy snacks (after all, few things are more stressful than hangry toddlers throwing a tantrum). If you don’t already, I recommend packing something filling like a sandwich in one ziplock bag, apple or orange slices in another, and then something fun your child likes such as crackers or pretzels in one more bag so that you cover all bases.

And as for activities and distractions, pick your battles - now is not the time to advocate the dangers of too much screen time. Short haul usually means no entertainment system on board, so download your child’s favourite show on your tablet and smartphone, not forgetting to charge it ahead of time. I once went on a trip with only 30% battery - huge mistake! And one that I learnt never to repeat again!

Note: It’s also a good idea to bring toddler headphones for the flight if your child is old enough to use them so as not to disturb other passengers. 


Not packing extra clothes

Again, don’t be fooled like me into believing that a short flight means that your child will have less time to soil his or her clothes. It just takes getting sick once or spilling a drink on themselves to need at least one extra set of clothes. Ditto for you too, mummy! You don’t want to sit the entire trip covered in a drink or vomit. Dress yourself and your toddler in comfortable layers that are easy to take off and put back on.

For the latest updates on, be sure to follow us on TikTok, Telegram, Instagram, and Facebook. If you have a story idea for us, email us at [email protected].

Share with others!