Having recently taken our first flight with our three children (aged 9, 9 and 12) I thought it would be useful for me to share some of the things I learnt on this journey. You don't want to make the mistakes I did and end up with no sleep in an overpriced hotel when I could have secured cheap airport parking and driven after a good nights sleep!
1. Plan your flight times - OK of course it is cheaper to fly at 1.00 am but can your child cope with that? You want your first day on holiday to be as much fun as all the others, so book wisely.
2. Book your seats in advance - we made this mistake this year, having not taken a package holiday for over a decade, I assumed very few people would pay the extra to book their seats. I was wrong. Luckily I found this out and was able to book our seats, if I hadn't the five of us would have been in completely different areas and what child wants to fly alone for the first time next to two strangers?
3. How will you get to the airport? - this year we opted to travel by train and stay in a hotel at the airport. Yes the train fare was really cheap as we booked a long time in advance but we had so much angst due to the strikes and reduced timetables on Southern Railways. Then we also got no sleep at the airport as it was too exciting for the kids and too hot in the room. Next time we will definitely drive our own car so we are in control of our timings and don't have to struggle with big cases.