Photo Source: Flickr
Flying with your kids can be fun or a nightmare. Being prepared helps, but sometimes you just don’t know how your kid will react, especially if you are flying at night. Red-eye flights are a blessing to many parents whose children can sleep on planes. For those parents whose children don’t sleep well during a flight, it can be a very long night. There are pros and cons to taking a red-eye flight with your kids, but only you can decide if it is right for you.
Red Eye Pros
Starts your trip right away: Flying overnight means you can start your trip right away. You can leave work, pick up the baby, grab your bags and be on your way. You can arrive at your destination and hit the ground running.
Your child will sleep: Overnight flights mean you don’t have to worry about entertaining your kid if they can sleep on the plane. We’ve had many a flight to Europe where we will have dinner, watch a movie and then tuck our boys into their seats to pass out for the duration of the flight. It’s bliss and the quietest plane ride you could ever hope for when traveling with kids.
Save vacation days: Flying with children at night means you don’t have to take an extra day off of work to get to your destination. This is an extra day to play and explore with your kids. Taking a day or two off just to fly limits the number of days you can actually spend relaxing and enjoying your family away from work. One day might not seem like much, but when you only get two weeks (10 days!) of vacation time a year, it makes a big difference.
Red Eye Cons
Your child may not sleep: The idea of your child falling asleep on your overnight flight is intoxicating. You won’t have to walk the aisles or entertain your little ones for hours. However, not all kids can sleep on planes. Some are just too excited, while others can’t get comfortable in those tiny seats. It could be a very long flight if your kid doesn’t sleep, but is exhausted and cranky. Chances are they won’t sit quietly watching a movie either.
You may not sleep: I cannot sleep on planes unless I have a sleeping pill, eye mask and ear plugs. When I travel with my kids, I can’t do this. I can’t risk something happening and my body not being able to be fully present to address any situation that comes up. So, although my children may be ready to explore when we land, I’m dead on my feet. As a person traveling with migraines, chances are my lack of sleep will trigger a headache that will have me in bed for 24 hours too.
Exhaustion is no way to start a trip: Even if you sleep on your flight, chances are it wasn’t very restful, you woke up several times and your kids are cranky too. Being forced to face a new day and explore is a miserable start to your trip. I’d rather fly all day and arrive at night so I can sleep in a real bed and wake up the next day refreshed and ready to go.
How do you deal with your kids on overnight flights?
Fun is part of any travel experience, but so is staying protected. Learn more about our policies here!