toddler airplane travel tips

Last Friday, I was very stressed out. It was the first time I was traveling with both my boys…a 2.5 year old and an 8 month old on a plane. And I wasn’t traveling alone – my husband was coming too. But just the thought of getting on a four hour flight cross country with these guys was enough to make my head spin. I quickly realized that prayers were not enough and that I needed to prepare. With the help of solidly experienced mommas who have made many of these journeys seem like no big thing, I created my own list of things I decided to try, adding in a few tips of my own.


Pack more than you need. Pack enough snacks, milk, diapers, pacifiers, bibs and change of clothes. You just never know about delays and other issues so it’s better to be prepared than hating life when you’ve run out of formula and you’ve got a cranky baby in the plane who doesn’t care that you’re about to deplane. I found that using a diaper bookbag was critical. Think about getting one if you’re traveling – makes life much easier.  Check out this diaper book bag that Chai Momma Reena loves.

Make sure that your electronics are fully charged. Especially the kid’s portable dvd player and/or iPad. These are effective tools on a flight especially but only if they work!

Keeping toddlers occupied is key. So for this flight, I sort of kept in mind that my two year old will need new activities roughly every fifteen minutes or so minus when he was using his iPad. Two things I did were bring a bunch of photos of the family we were going to visit in Atlanta especially (I laminated them and bound them together by punching holes in the pictures and looping in a metal ring…did the same thing with is flashcards too.). He loves pictures and seeing his family and friends. This was a great distraction throughout the flight at various times. Secondly I brought several of his favorite older toys that were travel friendly. A few of his Dr. Seuss books and his Aqua Doodle invisible markers and painting pad. But the key was also to have a few new things. I wrapped them up – no one said anything when we went through security – and he had fun opening up his new treats. He got a new set of crayons, stickers and an Elmo coloring book. And then a new set of flashcards that I run together using a metal ring.

Baby wipes and paper towels are not enough for big spills, spit up’s and diaper blow outs. Bring a dish towel or two rolled into your diaper bookbag. When the milk bottle exploded as soon as we boarded, that dish towel was the only thing that saved the day..and the bag!

As soon as you’re at your gate, go to the counter and grab gate check tickets for the items such as your stroller or car seat that you are gate checking.

Special treats that your kid is never allowed to have are great for travel on the plane. For us, it’s lollipops. Jai only gets them at special times like after hair cuts and doctor’s visits. When he went crazy kicking the chair in front of us, an organic cherry sucker helped calm him down (and mommy & daddy). Plus it helped with ear pressure during landing just like sippy cups and bottles/pacifiers for babies.

Pack your suitcases with zip lock bags. I organized everything for the kids by putting the items in labelled disposable bags. It kept everything tidy, neat and manageable. I did the same for all the items in my diaper bookbag.

And my absolute favorite tip for the plane is don’t mind others around you. Keep your cool. If you’re doing everything to keep your toddler/baby under control on the flight, then don’t worry what anyone is thinking or saying. Even when you’re doing everything you possibly can to keep them quiet and happy, sometimes it’s just not going to go your way. And that’s OK. Keep calm and carry on.

Oh and my favorite favorite one, don’t look at the time. Period. LOL.



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