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School's Out: How to Travel with Children

Whether you're jetting off to an exotic location on the other side of the world or going on a short trip to visit relatives, family vacations can be an exhilarating experience. But they aren’t always straightforward. As with many things in life, throw a couple of excitable kids into the mix and it all becomes a lot more challenging. Here we give our tips to help ease the stress of travelling with children.

Leave plenty of time

Hurrying through security and making a dash for the gate is taxing enough at the best of times, so it’s something you definitely want to avoid if travelling with kids. The best way to keep everyone calm on your journey is to give yourself plenty of time for arriving at the airport.

If you’ve young children, it’s worth checking the airport’s website to find out what’s on offer to keep them entertained while you wait. London Gatwick, for example, has a number of free play areas, complete with seating for adults, dotted throughout its departure lounges.

Find somewhere to watch the planes

Kids often find watching the planes take off and land fascinating. It's also a great way to get everyone excited about the holiday. Lots of airports are designed with this in mind, with floor-to-ceiling windows that are ideal for checking out the runway.

Nagoya Central Japan International Airport features a 300 meter long 'Sky Deck' pier that’s ideal for watching planes take off and land. If you find yourself in Zurich, be sure to drop in on the Wingwalker Bar to treat the kids to a ‘Young Aviator’ ice cream topped with sweets. The bar also offers superb views of the airplanes coming and going.

Check out the lounge

When you've been through duty free and done all your shopping, you might well be looking for something to keep the kids out of trouble for a little while more. This is when having access to one of the airport's lounges can really pay off, but do remember to check online ahead of your arrival, as not all lounges allow access to children.

An example of a great child-friendly lounge is the Escape Lounge at Manchester International Airport – it boasts all kinds of airport facilities to entertain youngsters. As the brightly coloured décor suggests, the Escape Lounges are designed to be family friendly. Inside you'll find TVs and games consoles, as well as food and drink. A contained space with plenty of entertainment means the kids will be busy and safe, letting you kick back and relax.

Keep them well fed

Most airports offer an impressive range of cuisine from all over the globe, meaning you’re sure to find something to suit your kids’ taste. Sticking to regular mealtimes is an important part of keeping everyone's body clocks in check and keeping crankiness at bay.

Bring a healthy picnic to keep the kids fuelled. Small, fiddly snacks are a good way to distract them when waiting around. Pack a few drinks but remember you won’t be able to take these through security, so be ready to restock on the other side.

Research the most family friendly airports

Not all airports are created equal. If your family is headed on a long-haul trip that includes a layover, be sure to research family friendly stops. Getting stuck in a dull airport for several hours will be testing for youngsters and adults alike. Stop off in one of the world's leading airports, however, and the fun of the vacation starts early.

Singapore Changi Airport regularly ranks as one of the world's favourite airports. That’s great news, as it's also a popular place for layovers on long haul flights. The airport is packed with fun activities to entertain the kids, including cinemas, swimming pools and games consoles. There's even a butterfly garden for something a little different. Choose your layover destination wisely and the only problem you'll have to face is convincing the kids to leave.