How To Survive An Airport Layover With Kids
Today we have a post from Jess who blogs at tripelio. Jess shares with us her tips for surviving a layover at airports when traveling with the family. We know kids are more settled at home but it is a big big world out there waiting for us all to explore
Airport layovers are a drag at the best of times. You’re stuck in a cramped, stuffy building, with limited things to do, for literally hours on end—not fun. However, when you’ve got the kids along and have to entertain them as well as yourself, there’s the very real potential for your airport wait to turn into a nightmare.
Fortunately, with a bit of imagination and creativity, it’s easy to transform the airport into your own personal playground or use the time to catch up on essential activities that will make the rest of the flight easier! These top tips are all great ways to keep the little ones quiet, avoid temper tantrums and survive your airport layover, no matter how long it is.
Kids Nap Time
There’s a lot of debate about this one. If your kids are going to sleep at all on the journey, it’s going to be on the plane or in the airport—never both! Ideally, naptime would be best to take place while flying as the cramped space and lack of things to do is a recipe for noisy children. However, the novelty of being in the air, and the unfortunately loud and distracting on-flight atmosphere, means that actually getting them to sleep on the plane may be an impossible task.
In this case, napping in the airport could be a life-saving decision. The only thing worse than a bored child on a long-haul flight is an overtired, bored child on a long-haul flight. To avoid the definite temper tantrum that this will bring, simply grab a few blankets, find a quiet part of the airport with a row of seats or, at least, a clean area of carpet and settle the kids down to catch some Z’s. If it’s too noisy, there are several pairs of child-friendly earplugs available to purchase online.
This old faithful is sure to never go wrong. Although many families try to avoid spending long periods of time on screens, if it’s to facilitate the educational and mind-opening experience that travel is, then it’s a worthwhile exception. Most airports now have free WiFi, and streaming sites such as Netflix makes it easy to find all their favorite films in one place. Simply grab some snacks from one of the nearby shops, find a comfortable corner to settle down in, log in and you’re good to go. The layover will fly by in no time!
However, one thing worth noting if you are planning to use Netflix is that much of its content is blocked when you’re overseas. To avoid this, you’ll need to install a Virtual Private Network (VPN). The VPN assigns you a different IP address, which means you can access the site as if you were back home. Although it’s annoying to have to purchase new software, it’s better than the temper tantrums you’ll face if the kids favorite films aren’t accessible!
If getting the little ones to sit still and stay in one place is like fighting a losing battle, taking them on an adventure around the airport is an easy solution. Especially for young kids or first time flyers, airports are exiting and novelty wonderlands where endless surprises could be around the next corner!
Either wander up or down the moving sidewalks, explore the myriad of shops or head out on a mission to find the kids area. Many airports have playgrounds or soft play areas designed specifically for children or even unique specialized attractions. For example, Singapore’s Changi airport even houses its own butterfly garden, which provides hours of fun for visitors big and small!
Leave the Airport
For those with longer stopovers, you best bet by far is to get out of the airport. Taking a break from being stuck in cramped, stuffy planes and getting out into the fresh air will do the whole family a world of good. Simply find an information desk in the airport and discuss any nearby local attractions that could fit into your time schedule. Once you’ve decided what to do, then all that’s left is to enjoy an impromptu day out in an exciting and interesting new country.
However, it’s essential that you do your research on the time it takes to get into the city. Most airports are located far away from town centers, so it’s likely that the journey could take you up to an hour. Identify all the forms of transport you can take and how long the duration of their journey will be to make sure you don’t end up arriving back late and missing your connection.