How To Prepare For A Longhaul Flight

‘All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…’ Well I don’t know what jetplane you’re leaving on but it’s never as smooth as those lyrics for me. 9 times out of 10 the taxi’s waiting as I’m racing back into my house to find phone charger/glasses/currency etc. So to celebrate Jetlag & Mayhem’s new look, here’s a list we can all use every time we fly longhaul….

  • Check your visas
  • Keep an eye on your kids health. Any remote signs of fever, take them to doctor in case of an ear infection. You may want to travel with antibiotics in case something develops.
  • Check when your airline opens online check-in. If you’re using a bassinet, you won’t be allowed to check-in online.
  • Find out if there are any ways to skip the queues.  Does the airport offer a family lane to speed your way through security?  If not then there are sometimes options to pay extra to fast track through security (handy at certain SE Asian airports)


  • Check your suitcases a few weeks in advance of your trip. You don’t want to be scrambling round for a new suitcase on the day you fly. If you’re planning to shop, pack a foldup bag.
  • Check luggage allowance
  • Don’t start too early – packing will take as long as you have.
  • Print out all of the information that you’ll need, don’t rely on having phone/signal battery. I print out the most important documents twice, keeping one in my hand luggage and one in my checked bag.
  • Resealable plastic bags for toiletries.
  • Pack everything in packing cubes.  Label them with Sharpies.
  • Normal rules go out the window – snacks, iPads, whatever keeps everyone happy. Here’s a good roundup of toys for the under 5s
  • Autograph books for kids (especially if you’re doing Disney)
  • Change of clothes in hand luggage
  • Take some time out that morning or the night before – get the grandparents to take the kids for an hour and go to the gym or go for a walk
  • Try to get everything you’ll need for the journey before you fly.  Airport shopping with kids in tow is painful.  The exception here is liquids, as sometimes it’s helpful to wait until you’re airside and then buy any drinks/medicines that you’ll need.
  • Are you taking car seats with you?  If so make sure you have a strong but flexible bag to put them in and make sure they are well protected.  You can sometimes also slip some additional items in there.


  • Plan your route to the airport, check the traffic!
  • Some taxi services will keep your car seats until you come back.
  • If you’re parking at the airport, allow plenty of time to head from your car to the terminal (with luggage and kids).
  • Same for car hire, always factor in plenty of time to return the car and get inside the airport, especially if you have to take a shuttle bus.


  • Spare change for baggage trolleys..
  • If you’re using a buggy/stroller, find out the procedure in advance.  Can you expect to get the buggy as soon as you get off the plane?  If not then make sure you have a sling, or maybe even a Trunki.

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