Top tips on how to keep your kids entertained on a long haul flight

Holidays are brilliant fun - but if you have young kids it can be a challenge keeping them entertained on a long haul flight. The prospect of an eight or nine hour flight with bored and restless kids might feel daunting, yet it doesn't have to be. If you're well prepared, that long haul journey will fly by - pardon the pun - and act as the perfect start to a great holiday!

camel ride on holiday

Here are a few tips for keeping your kids entertained on a long haul flight:

Pack plenty of snacks 
Kids get hungry frequently, and on a long haul flight there will plenty of occasions when they're asking for food. On a long haul flight, you're likely to get at least a couple of meals but don't rely on those to keep rumbling little tummies appeased. Treats like crisps, sweets, chocolate and biscuits will help to keep kids satisfied and entertained. Food is a great distraction, and so having lots of little snacks can occupy minds during a flight.

On a long haul flight there's ample time for a good old nap, and if the kids can get their heads down for a couple of hours that means some blissful peace and quiet for parents. But it can be hard to get to sleep on a plane, and the last thing you want is a wriggling, fidgeting small person right next to you. Pack a travel pillow, a familiar blanket from home and a favourite teddy from home - and you might find it all a lot more conducive for some excellent and rapid snuggle time.

Spare clothes
Think about it - a long haul flight in the same clothes can sometimes make you feel a bit uncomfortable. Factor in the commute to and from the airport and your kids could be in the same set of clothes for 12 hours or even longer. Why not pack a comfy t-shirt and pair of joggers, onesie or a pair of pyjamas for your kids to change into? The switch into relaxed clothes will help them chill out. There are good tips on dressing children for flying here.

Films & Entertainment 
With long haul journeys, expect some in-flight entertainment with movies and TV programmes available. But there's no guarantee your kids will like what's being screened, so play it safe and either download favourite films on to their iPad or tablet - if they have one - or bring a handful of DVDs and a DVD player. If they get engrossed in a film for a couple of hours that's a decent chunk of the flight taken care of. Do the same with music, and games too. As Travel Republic note in one of their recent blogs, 'technology is your friend when it comes to keeping the kids entertained.'

Notepads and pens 
Of course, entertainment doesn't just come in electronic form. Younger children, particularly, will enjoy doodling and drawing so pack a couple of notepads, pens and pencils; perhaps some quiz books and word searches. Older kids might like Sudoku (or they could download an online version). Don't forget good old fashioned classics like noughts and crosses either! You could ask little ones to draw a picture of what they think their 'holiday' will look like, or write a list of everything they want to do on the holiday.

These are just a few suggestions - armed with plenty of fun things to do, there's absolutely no reason why any long haul flight can't be enjoyed, and you and your family can travel the world. The best thing is, the more regularly children fly, the more used to the experience they'll become.