There is nothing as incredible as a family vacation somewhere exotic and far away. The only trouble with that is that the most exotic and far away locations are, well, far away! You may feel great once you have removed yourself from the hassles of home, and the farther away they are, the better it sometimes feels, but getting there can be especially stressful in itself, and it is really difficult when there are children who are going to be coming along for the ride.
There are ways to break up your flights when you are traveling over a single continent, with multiple stops in multiple places to make your vacation that much more varied and keep your kids from losing interest or from getting bored because they are sitting for too long in one place.
If you have kids and you are crossing an ocean for your vacation, though, there are not really many convenient ways to break up your flight and let your kids relax and unwind a little, as anyone who has ever traveled from the United States to Australia well knows. Keeping your kids entertained for these long periods of time can be a difficult challenge.
If you are going to be on long flights with your kids, there are things that you can do to help things run as smoothly as possible. For one thing, when you get to the airport, lead them in activities that can be quietly active. Have a competition for who can do the most jumping jacks (just watch out for other passengers) or otherwise allow them to tire themselves out. You can keep this up on the plane, walking in the aisles a little when the seatbelt sign is off. Do not skip naptime for young kids in hopes that they will sleep on the plane, though. Often with children, the more tired they get the harder it is for them to fall asleep. Then you will just have a cranky child on your hands.
Make sure that you have some of their favorite quiet activities on hand, whether it is coloring books, toy cars (if they can play relatively quietly with them) or stories. Don't let your children carry these special activities on, but rather dole them out over the course of the trip, giving them a new thing to do each time they become bored or overactive with their current activity.
Another great idea for keeping your small children entertained is to make a point of buying them a special toy like a stuffed animal, just for the trip. Hopefully they will spend much time making much of their new toy, and less time thinking about having to sit still.
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