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Whether you’re visiting relatives in New Zealand or soaking up the bright lights of Hong Kong, travelling with kids can really make those grey hairs sprout.

And the stress seems to ramp up days before the trip – youngsters spit the dummy for random reasons and teens whinge when they realise they might miss the Aussie tour dates for Taylor Swift.

But family travel can be much more Zen-like if you follow these three tips.

Travelling From Sydney Airport with Kids in Tow? 3 Fair Dinkum Tips for a Stress-free Family Trip

Get There By Car

The thought of saving cash by travelling to the airport on public transport is appealing — but when you’re coordinating a big family group, it can also be a recipe for disaster.

A delay due to a truculent teen’s lengthy make-up regime can set you off track from the start, and if the bus or metro are running late, you might not even make it for your flight.

Plus, everyone gets hot, sweaty and frustrated and it’s not always easy to find a seat.

Better by far to travel by car in comfort and take advantage of affordable airport parking in Sydney — then relax with a cold schooner once you’re airside.

Car family roadtrip canva RF

Head for the Play Zone

If you’re worried about young kids becoming bored, distracted and downright annoying, head straight for Sydney Airport’s children’s play zone – it’s an oasis filled with enough electronic games and gadgets to keep kids entertained for hours.

Gone are the days when kids marvelled at planes taking off or got excited when they spotted a wheelie suitcase — so the geniuses at Sydney have installed interactive touch screens that offer everything from Aussie Rules to band practice.

And while your little ones are expending their pre-flight energy, you can chill out nearby and catch up with the latest news on your mobile — the perfect plan.

Retail Therapy

Older kids might need a bit of a holiday bribe to keep onside — so giving them some spare cash to spend on retail therapy might put the smiles back on their faces.

Sydney airport shops have something to suit every taste and budget, from Burberry’s luxury couture to Pandora charm bracelets. And skate and streetwear can be found at Surf, Dive n Ski, while they’ll pick up a new pair of shades at Sunglass Hut.

You might even bag a bargain for yourself at the duty free — spoiling yourself at the start of a holiday can set the right tone and you probably don’t recall the last time you bought something special for yourself.

How do you keep your kids entertained at the airport? Share your advice in the comments section.


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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



  1. Sydney is a fascinating place

    • It is indeed! One of our favorite cities :)

  2. Definitely one of Australia’s mot kid friendly airports. Some of the best family-friendly facilities at an airport I’ve seen. Great tips.

    • Totally agree with you Margaret – glad you enjoyed the post :)

  3. We found the free wifi in Sydney to be a godsend – was a great distraction for the kids.

    • Yes indeed – tech savvy kids are easily distracted! Be cautious of open public hotpspots when you’re traveling though as anyone on the same network can technically see your data if they know how – you could definitely hook up a VPN to your kids devices so that when they surf the internet their devices are protected :)

  4. We will be flying in from Europe and have a five hour lay over before a domestic flight to Brisbane. The play area; is this at the international terminal? Do you know if we can use it if we will be leaving the terminal? Otherwise is there anything in the domestic area?

    Thanks a lot

    • Hi Lois, yes, the play zone is in the international terminal – if you have a layover my best advice would be to proceed to the domestic terminal at your earliest convenience, so that you don’t miss flights etc. You might find that customs, immigration, and rechecking your bags takes up a decent amount of time anyway.

      You won’t be able to circle back to international as you’ll have to catch a bus over to domestic, and they are completely different buildings. They have a range of airline lounges in the domestic terminal though if you’re a member of any airline alliances, otherwise I would recommend packing some distractions for the kids in any down time you might have at domestic.

      Have a wonderful trip!

  5. Are the airline lounges here friendly enough to enter with kids? We plan on using the Qantas club with our Oneworld status.

    • Yes they are :) I frequently spend time in the Qantas club and there are always (well behaved) children around :)

  6. Good tip to arrive by car, though otherwise, we used Uber, and the surcharge for adding a car seat was $10.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience with Uber Lillie. Glad you had a good experience :)

  7. We treat our children to fast food when we’re traveling, and as they’re not normally allowed to visit McDonalds, this works effectively as bribe to make sure they behave appropriately.

    • Can’t beat a good bribe :D!

  8. It’s great to hear that Sydney has a Play Zone – Melbourne airport has no real areas for children as such. It’s not as large when compared to Sydney but would definitely be nice to see similar facilities being Australia’s second largest hub.

    • Absolutely … I’m starting to hear of a number of big city airports undergoing renovations and upgrades, and most seem to center around making more family friendly areas, so let’s hope Melbourne picks up on this trend!

  9. The best kid friendly airport I’ve visited is Singapore – we usually head for the pool on the roof of the Ambassador Transit Hotel. You don’t have to clear immigration or customs and the kids can swim for hours – it’ a BRILLIANT way to tire them out so they’re knocked out by the time they board the plane. There’s also a jacuzzi and bar, + shower facilities.

    • Thanks for the tip on the pool at Singapore Peggy – I’ve been through Singapore on a layover so many times and had no idea!

  10. Our family loves watching planes land and take-off, so we usually try to pick seats in the terminal which face the window. The kids love it – they’re so entertained.

    • I’m entertained by planes taking off as well and I’m 30 lol :D Great tip Chelsie … happy travels :)

  11. Thank you Meg Jerrard for sharing such an article.

    • You’re most welcome, I’m glad you enjoyed it :)

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