Yoo Hoo! So I do not know if you people realise but it is definitely quite a big thing picking out your next blog post topic, especially when you are “international” and can’t just pop to the parks for some quick research without missing quite a few days of school. I do not think I would mind as much as my teachers…
I had my lightbulb moment on the train coming home from school. I was sitting with a friend who usually gets the bus, not the train, home. We were gossiping like a pair of average thirteen year old girls (yes, I am now a teenager, whoop) and she said to me, “to be honest, you have travelled by train so many times now that you could probably go to Disneyland Paris all by yourself.”
This made me realise that I am quite an experienced traveller now and an expert on aeroplanes (airplanes) to and from Florida. Why would I want to go to Disneyland Paris when I have the option of Walt Disney World? Where instead of adding layers of clothing I can wear shorts and flip-flops. So I’ve decided, thanks to this deep inspiration, that I should write a blog post highlighting and sharing some of my favourite travel tips which will make up an aeroplane survival kit for children travelling with their parents.
Well with that out of the way, let’s get on with my tips!
Survival Kit with Top Tips
1) Headphones: I know that this seems silly but I find the airline provided headphones uncomfortable and useless on the older planes. The newer Airbus A380’s (which sadly do not fly from London to Orlando) are so much quieter that any headphones are fine. Good headphones can also double up as a sleeping method on any flight. I always find it easier to go to sleep listening to Taylor Swift (please feel free to substitute for your favourite artist or band), or you can casually just have a jamming session because you feel like it. Alternatively, if you are lucky enough to own noise-cancelling headphones (wish list) these are great as you can do all these things and have a bit of peace and quiet too.
2) Tablet or Smartphone: I know not everyone owns one of these or even has access to one, but in this day and age some Year 7’s (6th graders) at my school have better phones than me! During a 9 hour flight you can definitely get through some Candy Crush levels, so an iPhone, iPad or other smartphone or tablet can keep you entertained and hopefully satisfied.
Many of the American airlines also provide USB charging from the seat so you will not ever have to worry about having no power left to send that first American tweet when you land. The British airlines have some USB power in economy (coach) but nearly always provides it for premium economy passengers. Please check with your airlines for information on what they provide.
Many kids do not like flying as they find it boring or scary. I am told I was always quite well behaved on flights when I was young, but I guess my Mum and Dad knew my tips. If your children are worriers and are scared something bad might happen, then distracting them with games and films (movies) is a good idea. Just be careful, as films (movies) about planes crashing are probably not the most helpful!
I have flown with many different airlines and each one offers something different. Again, the American airlines seem to be a little more advanced and are now offering Wi-Fi on international flights at a cost. This is great for me (not my Dad who has to pay) as I find myself lost if I cannot message my friends. Others might feel the same if they do not have access to social media, just like my Mum with Facebook. Therefore, if you are like her, then I wish you luck without Wi-Fi.
It is well worth taking a few hours sometime before you fly to update your Apps and download some new games. We survive this by sitting together, about a week before we are flying, and surf the app store attempting to find some new games that will occupy us for the flight.
3) Ultrabooks and Laptops: If you are travelling from “across the pond” like moi, then you might find it useful to use the 9 hours to do something productive on your computer. I am not for one minute suggesting that listening to endless Taylor Swift albums isn’t productive, of course it is as I need to learn every lyric so that I can sing with Erin Foster when we meet up. Nevertheless, if you unfortunately had to book your flights out of the school holidays then here is a little trick for you parents. Do not let your children have their games, comics, mp3 players, phones or tablets until they have completed that maths assignment or the English essay that was set by a grumpy Headteacher (Principal) when you asked to take your family holiday (vacation) out of term time. This is an incentive for your children to complete their homework before the real magic begins, as it is not taking time out of your family trip to Walt Disney World. Let’s face it, when you arrive you will be so excited about the pools and parks that you will have absolutely NO time for homework.
I have recently tried this approach of distraction, I like to plug in my headphones into my laptop and write a blog post. It is quite exciting to write whilst on the aeroplane (airplane) as you know soon enough you will actually in the “Magical Mickey Land.” And yes, once written and posted, I do show most of them to my English teacher afterwards.
4) Disney Podcasts: talking about getting in the mood! Disney podcasts are a great way to get pumped for your Disney holiday (vacation). Especially ones like “WDW Today”, “The Disney Dish” and for us Brits, “DisneyBrit” as they offer a great way to find out any last minute tips for last minute planning. My Dad also enjoys ‘The Best of You Tube,’ as he says that it is a good way to be watching the funniest videos on YouTube without actually watching them!??
5) Book (preferably on an eReader like the Kindle): You might think this seems like an obvious thing to include when packing your carry on but so many people forget them as they have their other gadgets. As with the tablet and phone, a week or so before you go, have a little search through the Kindle store. There are HUNDREDS of free books available so you can download any that take your fancy – the more the merrier. This way if you finish one, you have more as back-ups; and if you do not like the book, it is not the end of the world as you have other options and they were free. The downside of bringing good old-fashioned paper books is that they weigh you down like a tonne of bricks. A Kindle is lightweight and convenient; it also survives those excited splashes from the swimming pool, whereas you might find a book ends up rather soggy…
*Caution: I am not saying your Kindle is waterproof. Please do not drop your Kindle in the water – Thank You*
6) Downloaded TV Series or Film: In addition to the inflight entertainment, which on most flights from the UK is like an On-Demand Sky (Cable DVR) system, you could also download a TV series or film to watch during the flight. It is as simple as plugging in some headphones into your tablet or laptop and catch up on any missed episodes of your favourite shows. I like to just have a collection of old “Outnumbered” episodes (if you have never watched this charming BBC TV series then I highly recommend it) even if I have seen them a gazillion times, they just never get old. This is also a good idea if you will not have access to a TV in your hotel or villa (not that most rooms are fitted with one anyway) then you can watch these in the evening if you wish to help you get ready for bed. Also, if you have recently bought any Disney DVDs then they might have come with a digital download which you could transfer onto your portable device. Something to keep you happy whilst your parents watch baseball.
7) Drawing: When I was younger, my absolute favourite pastime was drawing a brilliant picture of the aeroplane (airplane) that we were flying on, just from my rather wild imagination. If your kids are of the creative sort, maybe bring a pad of paper and some colouring pens and suggest drawing a stunning picture of the plane. It gets better… You can then ask an airhost/hostess to deliver your child’s drawing to the Captain. I can remember feeling rather special when the Captain gave me a thank you announcement!
8) Magazine or Newspaper: Occasionally at the terminal gate there might be free newspapers and magazines on offer. My parents love this, and my Dad, especially, who does not usually get to read gadget magazines, rejoices at being able to read “T3” and “Stuff!” If I haven’t moaned too much in the taxi on the way to the airport my Dad might treat me to the next issue of “Shout” or when I was younger it was “Sparkle” or “Go Girl!” I know now most little ones would want the Frozen magazine, but I was not fortunate enough for those luxuries! Kieran will load up on Beano comics too.
9) Snacks: No, I do not mean Cheetos and Twinkies (you will have enough of them when you arrive). I am talking about quality English grub. You know, Toad in the Hole and Bangers and Mash. Wait, sorry, I forgot, you can now get that all in the Leaky Cauldron in Universal Studios, Orlando (menu). I guess this means you will have to pack sausage rolls, and Walkers Cheese & Onion Crisps (chips). Such a hardship. Just remember the Jammie Dodgers if you are travelling with Len *wink.* Also, a sweet to suck might come in useful when you are taking off and landing, as it will ease the pressure in your ears. Try to avoid chewing gum as there is nowhere to dispose of it, but soft mints and lollypops are a good idea.
10) A Watch: You are probably thinking this right know, “Gosh, some of the other tips were strange but seriously, a watch? Most people already wear one!” This is not what I mean. I suggest you get your child wearing watches and getting them to change the time over to American time. Also, have them time the flight and counting the hours down to their holiday (vacation). I think it is nice family thing to do and gets you in the Disney spirit. Do not forget you should set your watch back to English time if you are on a night flight coming home. That way your children will realise how late it actually is and it might make them feel tired and more likely to go to sleep for most of the flight. I know aeroplanes (airplanes) are uncomfortable but this does help, especially if you know that when you wake up you will be home and re-united with Wi-Fi and full English breakfasts. This has been proven (by us) to prevent a bad case of jet lag.
I hope that you will find these tips handy on your next visit. If you have any questions, or other tips, you would like to share please comment below.
Love always, Alex xx