Our 6 Tips for Surviving a Flight With a Baby post got such a positive response and helped a lot of parents. Today, we wanted to lend a hand to all the parents flying with a toddler this summer. 3 amazing travel experts join us to share their secrets on how to survive a flight with a little one. Whether it’s your short haul or a long journey, you’re going to want to read this!
Flying with a Toddler – Secrets from Monet Hambrick from The Traveling Child
When Booking Your Flight
Always fly non-stop if possible. I know it can be a bit more costly but not having to board and de-board multiple times or dealing with a layover is usually worth the cost.
Try to book your flight with a departing time about 30mins before nap or bedtime. If your child is used to a routine and generally tired around this time, it should be easy for you to get them to sleep. If you have a shorter flight they might sleep the entire time but even if you’re on a longer one they will still be knocked out for a good majority of it.
Aisle or window seat?
If you know you will have the entire row to yourself this doesn’t matter much as your child can sit on whoever’s lap, but if you don’t there’s a lot to consider. On one hand the window seat seems like a great idea, your child can look out the window and get lost in the clouds. They can rest their head against the window and they won’t be able to kick people as they walk by. On the flip side, what about when they want to use the bathroom 15 times or you have to change their diaper more than once? What if they have a lot of energy and you want to take them for a walk down the aisle. This one is all about preference, but these are important things to consider, you know your child better than anyone.
One of the “perks” of flying with children is that you can board early, but should you? With a non-active baby, hands down yes but with a toddler, I say no. Why? Toddlers are super active and the last thing I want is an extra 30mins on the plane with them in a cramped space. I actually usually aim to be the last one on the plane so I have as little time on it as possible. The potential downfall to this is a lack of overhead bin space and having to wait to pick up your luggage at baggage claim (airlines don’t charge for your luggage if you have to check it due to there not being enough space on the plane). However, if you checked another bag, stroller or car seat at the ticket counter and have to go there anyway I just see it as one less thing to carry. This makes my life easier when navigating through the airport after I have landed and especially if I have a layover and need to rush to another gate.
Flying with a Toddler – Secrets Karen from Travel Mad Mum
Make a bag full of new little bits to play with and give one every once in a while
I usually go to the pound shop for this and get a few new things that are not going to break the bank. Pinterest is brilliant for getting new ideas. My favourite new one is gel stickers that they can put on and off the plane window. Colouring in also seems to be a winner at the moment. We always load the iPad up with new toddler apps and Peppa Pig (the favourite). Ask the cabin crew if they have a toddler kit. If they see you are flying with a toddler, they will normally give them to you, but if they forget just ask because they usually kill at least half an hour. For more detailed info, see my article ‘Toddler hand luggage essentials‘.
Bring familiar comforts
We always have the dummy, spares and the cuddly toy called ‘babeee’ that we dare not loose. I also always bring a blanket with us. This drives Shaun crazy because he thinks we can get one on the plane. It has proven useful because if they don’t have a spare one you’re screwed because either Mum or Dad is going to be cold during the night.
Ask the cabin crew for help
Sometimes they are pretty nice and helpful and will specifically ask what you may need throughout the flight. I always give them the heads up that I will need milk heated, etc.
Flying with a Toddler – Secrets from Melissa from Parenthood & Passports
Snacks, Snacks, Snacks
Planes don’t always have child-appropriate food. So when we are flying with a toddler, we bring plenty of snacks with us, more than I think would typically be necessary. While we are a bit more lenient when it comes to what we let our little one eat when traveling, we still like her to have plenty of healthy, organic options. Our favorite go-to snack when we travel is Slammers Snacks by Kids Gourmet. These pouches are packed with organic vegetables, fruits, and super foods, and our daughter loves them! She is a very independent child, and I love that with Slammers Snacks, she can feed herself without making a giant mess in the plane. They’re a crumb-less and healthier alternative to crackers and other sugar laden snacks and candy. Slammers come in seven different fruity flavors, so your little one will have lots of variety on the plane. Toddlers can be picky eaters, but these are yummy and a good source of essential vitamins and minerals. Not to mention, they’re the perfect size for traveling. We’ve been able to bring them through security just as easily as baby food, liquid formula, and expressed breastmilk.
I also bring along some other snack options just in case. When flying with a toddler, the worst thing that could happen is that you run out of snacks!
Most toddlers love books, and they are perfect for traveling. They are much more compact than toys, so you can bring several of them with you. My daughter absolutely loves the Lift-the-Flap books by Karen Katz. There are a ton to choose from and since they are thin books you can bring four or five along with you on the trip. On long plane rides, I like to pack about six of her favorite books that we will read over and over again. It keeps her quiet and the other passengers happy.
I recommend this for children of any age, but disinfectant wipes are especially a must with toddlers. The first thing I do when we get into the plane is wipe down our surroundings. The arm rests, tables, windows, walls, in-flight magazines, and the laminated inserts in the seat-back compartment. Then, I have no worries when my germ-loving tot decides to lick, chew on, or touch everything in sight. I also recommend a quick inventory of the floor beneath your seats. If there is a tissue, trash, or anything else in the floor, trust me, a toddler will find it and try to eat it.
At Kidbo, our goal is to help make parenting simple any way we can. A huge thank you to these amazing parents for sharing their flying with a toddler secrets with everyone! We hope their advice makes the skies a little more inviting for your next family trip. We’d love to hear your own toddler flying tips and stories in the comments. Join our story on Instagram too by using our hashtag #kidbo and tagging @kidboco!