If you’re taking advantage of the school holidays with a much needed getaway, buckle in for the flight! New research from Cheapflights.com.au suggests airports across the country will be adopting the brace position as tens of thousands of Aussie families take to the skies and 75 per cent of holidaymakers head overseas.
With short flight times, the results show the Asia-Pacific destinations of Bali, New Zealand and Thailand are the top picks for Aussies over the school break, attracting 16 per cent, 11 per cent and 10 per cent of travellers respectively. There are some brave parents taking their kids on adventures further afield however, with Adelaideans planning to visit Germany, Sydneysiders bound for Hawaii and Brisbanians set to jet to Japan. Back at home, 36 per cent of domestic flyers (9 per cent of total travellers) will choose to visit Sydney.
The research also found:
• Nationally, Los Angeles, London and Manila made the list of top international destinations.
• Sydney and Melbourne airports are expected to be the busiest with more than two thirds (69 per cent) of all school holiday travellers set to pass through their gates.
• Given the variations in school holiday timings across the country, the most popular departure dates will be: o Friday 25 March from Brisbane and Melbourne o Saturday 9 April from Perth o Friday 15 April from Hobart o Saturday 16 April from Adelaide and Darwin o Friday 22 April from Sydney.
• Aussie families lucky enough to be getting away are extending their trips with a fourteen night stay most common (13.9 per cent), followed by seven (13.5 per cent) and ten nights (9.9 per cent).
Often excited planning can turn to dread for parents as they face the many challenges of airports – from negotiating lengthy security queues to steering luggage trolleys while keeping hold of the kids. To ensure the focus remains on fun, Cheapflights.com.au has compiled a survival guide with five top tips to keep parents sane when flying with children:
1. ‘Mummy, Where’s Piggy?’ Preparing for a getaway seems straight-forward, but best intended packing plans often go pear shaped when kids are involved. While most remember passports, insurance and tickets, how many parents arrive at the airport, to find a beloved toy has been forgotten? Dealing with an inconsolable child is never going to end well so prepare a travel checklist, and check it and check it again to make sure you have all essential items. As a rule for carry on, pack what you need for the flight and the first day of your holiday – you can stock up on the rest at your destination.
2. It’s in the Bag Can you carry what you have and manage your child? Try and minimise the number of bags you take and if the kids are big enough to look after their own, test they’re comfy and easy to manoeuvre. These days some kids’ bags also double as ride on toys, which is handy for tired legs in seemingly endless queues, taking the rascals for a ride through the airport or doing the last minute dash to the gate.
3. Prepare to Screen It is a requirement that customs staff screen everyone regardless of age at the security checkpoint. Explain to your child what to expect and the importance of staying close to Mum and Dad while waiting in line. To avoid any surprises that may set of the security alarm and cause your child distress, also remember to check everyone’s pockets for small toys or coins.
4. Happy Kids are Snacking Kids Hungry kids are often grumpy kids! Before arriving at the airport, check with your airline what food and beverages are allowed. If you’ll need to preheat milk or formula, aim to do so before boarding as airlines generally have limited facilities on board. If you can’t find a parent room, ask a friendly barista for assistance. Packing a few favoured snacks will also help keep kids ‘topped up’ between on-board meal s and can be used as distractions.
5. Don’t Forget Baggage Claim Sounds like blatantly stating the obvious, but you may be surprised how many overtired parents are escorted back through customs to collect forgotten items like a stroller or car seat. Quickly check you have everything before proceeding through arrivals – even take a look at your packing checklist again. For more tips or to search your next family vacation, visit Cheapflights.com.au