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I'm about to take my son on a trip overseas, should I book a early morning flight or book a afternoon flight ? Taking in the time difference we would arrive at his bed time if we took afternoon flight

  • Best in what sense? – Flimzy Aug 20 '14 at 22:01
  • Best for what? Also it would depend on where you are flying and the time zone and travel times. – Vagish Aug 20 '14 at 22:17
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    It seems like this would depend greatly on your son's specific routines and temperament; I don't know that there will be any general answers. That said, you might also ask on Parenting.SE. – Nate Eldredge Aug 20 '14 at 22:35
  • Speaking as someone with three toddler nieces/nephews scattered on both coasts, it certainly depends on the child. – choster Aug 20 '14 at 23:17
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    Many fliers would say that the best time to travel with children is after their 10th birthday. – Paul Aug 21 '14 at 0:15
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For small babies (up to 6-7 months):

Any time of the day will work. Babies sleep a lot at this time, and if they will sleep on the plane, they will. Usually feeding/nursing a young baby to sleep on the plane is the best way to go.

For older babies and young toddlers (7 months- 1.5 years):

Redeyes usually work the best I found. At this age it is very hard to entertain the babies on the plane, especially after they learn to crawl and walk. They will want to MOVE. If you can go at their regular night time, it is easier regardless of the trouble with jet lag after you arrive. Over 1 year I would personally recommend a ticket and a carseat approved by the airline for longer flights, even if you can have a kid on your lap up till 2 years.

For older toddlers (1.5 years- 4 years)

Here personality comes more into play. How easily is he entertained by something like an iPad? For us, we found that leaving locally in the afternoon, but skipping the mid day nap is the easiest. They feed you on the plane, and the kid has an early night. when going East this means you arrive close to evening time, but travel wears you out, and he just stayed up a couple of extra hours. If you kid is easily entertained when sitting still, it may be better to go during day if you can sleep when you arrive. In addition, note that most kids are really excited about the plane and the airport and everything at first, so it may take a little while to calm down to sleep.

For older kids (4-5 years and more)

In my experience kids this age usually does pretty well watching movies for an entire 8-10 hour flight, and are able to sit mostly still for a long time. Unless you have a very active kid, you should probably pick whatever is best depending on arrival time.


Of course all of this does depends heavily on the kid's personality. Is he very calm? Is he afraid of flying? Does she fall asleep easily in new places? Is she easy to handle when a little tired (as a result of jetlag)? It also depends on you. If you take a redeye and your kid doesn't sleep, are you able to function?

  • You know a handy tip when with lots of small children. If you don't live right near the airport, consider splashing out on bookend hotel rooms. So you can all have a great night's sleep and adventure, and then get on the plane refreshed. – Fattie Aug 21 '14 at 11:04

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