Layovers With Kids

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For all the flying we have done, my kids have ONLY twice traveled with a layover. The first time was when little man was almost two. Our flight to Fort Myers, Florida were cancelled due to weather and we had to rebook for the next day, but stopping in Atlanta. Then last year, when we went to Hawaii, we opted to arrive on Maui which necessitated changing planes in LA.  I always say I am lucky to live in New York, because you can fly direct MANY places.

So today’s guest post is about layovers with kids, and how to handle them with (or without) little ones. The writer is Alex who blogs at Inspire a Better Life. He lives in Sydney, Australia.

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Chances are at some point in your life you’ve had to look for cheap flights, and sometimes you passed on a straight flight and went for one with a layover just because it was cheaper. A 6 hour layover may not have seemed too bad to you when you were booking the flight… but now… you’re here in a foreign airport with your kids for 6 hours and time could not move any slower. Don’t worry though I’ve got a list of how you can take this challenge head on and avoid the temper tantrums.

Flying With Kids | Flying Tips | Flying with Toddlers | Airport Layover Tips | Airport Layover Activities | Layovers With Kids | Layover Tips | Layovers Tips | Layovers with Toddlers |

Do Your Research


It pays to do your research on the airport you are landing in for your layover because when you land you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for or where you’re headed. Usually on airport websites you’ll be able to locate charging stations, play areas, rest areas, showers, etc. From here, you can get an idea as to what the airport offers when you land and usher your kids in a direction without walking around in circles clueless which can lead to grumpy kids.

This is more of a general tip, check if you need to pick up your luggage and re-check it in, or if it makes the connecting flight on its own. This will be sure to save you some time.


Carry Ons


Unlike flying by yourself or with friends, you can’t just fly with one piece of checked luggage and a handbag, oh no! You’ll definitely be making use of a carry on piece of luggage or two with your partner. These things will be your lifesavers during layovers. Be sure to pack a spare change of clothes for your kids and yourselves because guaranteed with the energy of kids and their constant fidgeting something is bound to spill on the plane or during the layover.

Some other items you’ll need include: entertainment devices, chargers, adapters, a toy, or a favourite toy. Don’t underestimate the power of your child’s favourite toy because it can make the difference between a happy child and a temper-tantrum-throwing child.




It’s tempting to whip out the electronic devices after landing to get your kids to stay in one spot as you get your bearings, however they’ve just sat around for the last however many hours you’ve flown. A great alternative to get your kids up and about and moving is to find the kids play area or playground at the airport. Some airports have specialised attractions, like Changi Airport in Singapore features a butterfly garden INSIDE the airport.

An alternative to when the airport doesn’t have a designated play area, make your own with an empty departing gate. You’ll usually find these at the end of the terminals, but you may have to move sometimes as gates are put into use. Another tip is to make sure you know how long it will take to get to your gate from where you are to make sure you have time to walk there.

When they’re bored, you can never go wrong with a pack of crayons and a blank notebook. Children’s imaginations run wild they’ll never stop finding random things to draw and keep themselves entertained.




If your layover is a domestic layover, you’ll be able to pack snacks like fresh fruit and vegetables on your flight. Just be sure to throw them out at quarantine when you arrive at an international airport. Packing healthy snacks will be your friend when it comes to traveling with kids; you’ll be able to avoid the sugar high and consequential crash which comes with eating refined sugar snacks and drinks.

If you get stuck on ideas, there are plenty of health snack options online!


Last resorts


No one can blame you for wanting a bit of peace and quiet during the final hours of your layover so bring out the devices for the kids. Just be sure you warn them about stranger danger, and keeping an eye over the luggage. However, you shouldn’t fall deep asleep as you can’t always be too sure with kids so always be aware, you may even sleep past your boarding time which will be a hassle.

If you need free Wi-Fi, this map reveals Wi-Fi passwords at airports around the world!


Alex Johnson a part-time blogger living and working in sunny Sydney, Australia after moving up from Melbourne. His passions in life are writing, and travelling, and writing about travel. He says, “My drive in life is to pursue each day to be better than the previous day.”

Check out his blog Inspire a Better Life   and you can follow his adventures on Instagram and Facebook.

Flying With Kids | Flying Tips | Flying with Toddlers | Airport Layover Tips | Airport Layover Activities | Layovers With Kids | Layover Tips | Layovers Tips | Layovers with Toddlers |
Walking through the Raleigh-Durham airport with this diva.



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Photo via Visualhunt


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36 Comments to “Layovers With Kids”

  1. these are great tips! I’ve never flown with my youngest, and my older child has only flown direct flights. A lot of this also applies to just waiting for your flight when you have to arrive so early. I flew to NYC last summer from Springfield, Missouri. I was flying with a group of students, and we had to be at the airport at 4:00 am for our 6:00 am flight. We connected in Atlanta. On the way, we only had a two-hour layover, so we had an early lunch and then it was pretty much time to board. But on the way home, we had five hours. Even without younger children, it did feel long. I walked around a lot! I will keep this in mind for when I do fly with my youngest!

  2. I travel frequently with my kids and have had many layovers, so I’m used to this. You hit on all the main points so good job. Sometimes on a longer layover my kids like to walk around the airport with me when we go to get food and snacks. Generally they’re really well behaved. 🙂

  3. I have travelled too much alone with the kids to still think a 6h lay over can be a good idea. If it says anything over 3, I look for another option. I have done 6h in dubai Airport with a baby and a toddler in the middle of the night… IT IS NOT FUNNY!! I learned… but if you don’t have the choice, I got some good tips here – parks in the airports are always a nice little thing.

  4. Laci

    I’ve never flown but this sounds like you have it down pat definitely will have to remember this in the future as I have two little’s ones that will be tagging along.

  5. I don’t have a choice to not have layovers when we went home to Indonesia. So my son got used to it. The author wrote the main points though. I also liked to live the plane the latest, walked slowly after we got out of the plane (because we had hours to spend), sometimes took a paid shower, and of course, walked around the airport to kill the boredom.

  6. Great tips! A blank notebook and a box of crayons is my go to entertainment tool, too. To encourage my children to stretch their legs, we often go look for the moving walkways and escalators. My kids LOVE those! I didn’t realize that some airports have kid play areas now. Awesome!

  7. Sharon

    I live in Atlanta so I feel just as spoiled as you! We are the hub for Delta so we can get direct flights almost anywhere. That came in pretty handy for our Honeymoon to Oahu! Love these tips for whenever we do have a layover. I agree that you should spend time walking around to stretch your legs a bit.

  8. Although I don’t have any kids myself this is a really interesting and well written post – A few friends of mine that do travel with their children will I’ sure appreciate this post – I will definitely be passing this onto them 😀 And I’ll also keep it in mind for the future when I do have kids and travel with them 😀

  9. Our last layover was not ideal; my husband left his iPhone on the plane and we spent most of the layover trying to track it down (we didn’t find it, but the airline ended up finding it and shipping it to us weeks later; thanks Southwest!)….we’ve encountered a few airports with play areas, which is always nice…and way cheaper than paying for a restaurant meal!


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