Home Family & Relationship Experts Reveal Top Tips to Keep Kids Entertained During Long-Haul Flights This Summer

Experts Reveal Top Tips to Keep Kids Entertained During Long-Haul Flights This Summer

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With summer holidays just weeks away, AttractionTickets.com has seen a 42% increase in sales of Orlando tickets in the past six months, suggesting more people will be preparing for long-haul flights.

But with the allure of far-flung destinations comes the challenge of keeping children entertained during extended air travel. The confined space of aeroplanes, paired with the potential for boredom, might leave some parents fearing for other passengers’ comfort and their own sanity during the flight. In fact, searches for ‘how to survive a long-haul flight’ are up 86% year-on-year.

To help alleviate parents’ pre-flight jitters, experts from AttractionTickets.com have analysed Mumsnet data using AI to find the most popular, tried-and-tested advice to keep your little ones busy during long-haul flights, along with three lesser-known tips.

Pre-flight preparation is key

  • Download films, shows, and games for their tablets or phones beforehand. This ensures you can keep your kids entertained even with limited wifi. Always download more than you think you will need so you can be prepared for unforeseen delays.
  • If your child is able to carry a bag, let them carry their own backpack filled with their colouring books, crayons, travel games (card games or magnetic), and a new activity or sticker book. Most airlines will provide children with their own hand luggage allowance so make the most of it. Not only does this maximise the amount of entertainment you can bring on board but actually being responsible for their own belongings can be exciting in itself for small children. Mumsnet user Iheartmysmart said: “First time we had a longish flight with [my son], I packed him a surprise ‘adventure backpack’ and gave it to him on the flight. There was really nothing exciting in it: two comics, a small book, a colouring book, crayons, a few snacks, a hot wheel car (not to actually play with on the plane but he was obsessed with them), a pack of cards, little things like that. He loved unpacking it on the flight and it gave us a bit of respite from the endless ‘are we nearly there’ question.”

In-flight entertainment

  • Start with screen time (tablet/phone) to keep them occupied during takeoff and during some initial flight time. Headphones are essential to avoid disturbing others but can also be good to block out some of the plane noise, which can be unsettling for some children.
  • Transition to quieter activities like colouring, puzzles, or sticker books when the flight settles. Travel games like UNO or ones with magnetic pieces work well for some interactive fun that can easily be managed from a tray table.
  • Read books or listen to audiobooks for a change of pace. It’s also good to encourage activities like this before attempting to nap to help your little ones wind down.
  • Give everyone the chance to stretch their legs and burn some energy by taking walking breaks when the airline permits. Mumsnet user BriarHare advises: “I would take headphones that fit them; airline headphones are [rubbish]. If your kids have noise-cancelling ones, even better.” Digestive28 adds: “The excitement of the screens helps a lot. But agree to take your own headphones.”

Additional top tips

  • Pack a variety of activities to cater to different moods and attention spans. For example, just because your child loves colouring now, doesn’t mean it will keep them entertained for the same amount of time during a flight.
  • Try to rotate activities throughout the flight to prevent boredom and to keep the toys and games engaging.
  • Be prepared for a mess. Bring wipes or a small rubbish bag for the inevitable chaos, especially if art skills are involved.
  • Consider a surprise bag with a new, small toy or two, revealed at intervals during the flight. Mumsnet user Itisbetter said: “Buy lots of cheap little things and wrap them up together to go in [their] bag (we use old magazines). Do enough for one present every t30 minutes and get an egg timer.”

3 Wildcard travel tips

When analysing the Mumsnet data, AttractionTickets.com also unearthed three unique hacks for travelling with kids you might not have heard of.

Foot hammock

If you are travelling in economy, chances are you will be wishing you had somewhere you and your kids could put your feet up. This genius product attaches to your tray table and creates a hammock to rest your feet, giving you a place to kick back and relax. Foot hammocks are brilliant for helping your kids get more comfy – who knows, they might even have a nap! Make sure to check your airline’s safety regulations before bringing one onboard. Some flights won’t allow footrests unless the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) certifies them.

Modelling clay

For crafty kids, modelling clay can be a great activity that can be done from the comfort of your tray table and provide hours of fun. Once one model has been created, simply start again with the same clay. This is a travel hack most suitable for older children who are less likely to make a mess and care should always be taken to ensure there is no damage to the upholstery. 

Travel snack box

This hack is genius for kids who like to graze. Plastic organiser boxes can be marketed as craft or bead organisers but they double up as brilliant snack boxes. Fill each section with a variety of tasty treats to keep your kids entertained. The compartment size can be adjusted and a clip lid will keep the food fresh.

Oliver Brendon, CEO of AttractionTickets.com, added: “Going on holiday should be hugely exciting, but it is totally understandable that parents might feel nervous about keeping their children entertained in a small space for long periods of time.

“We hope that by revealing some shared wisdom, parents who are planning amazing holidays to Orlando and beyond this summer might be able to learn an extra trick or two to make their journey feel a little easier.” 

If you’re planning a long-haul flight to the US, head to AttractionTickets.com to check out its amazing offers on theme park tickets to Walt Disney World ResortUniversal Orlando ResortSeaworld Orlando and many more.

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