7 Tips for Traveling with a Toddler on a Plane
I am a toddler travel expert. How did I become a toddler travel expert? Because I control the keyboard and I can write whatever and wherever I want. But seriously, Remy and I are always on the go. We walk, we bike, we jog, we take trains, planes and automobiles. Maybe when he turns 3, we will travel in a boat or travel on a goat… but I digress. We have spent 5+ hours in car, without using screen time. Remy has experienced 6 plane rides, all before the age of 2 and all without the use of any screen time to entertain him. My wish for you is that after you read my tips of traveling with a toddler, that you find something helpful.
Traveling with a Toddler without using an iPad or any Screen Time:
First, not exposing Remy to my iPad or iPhone is my personal parenting belief. As with any blog, you are free to choose whatever works for your family. Second, I love my iPad and would love to do a Apple sponsored post, telling your how great the newest iPad is, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is to share how I have traveled with an infant and a toddler for more than 5 hours by car and how I have been about to spend several hours traveling with a toddler, by plane WITHOUT using using screen time or allowing him to watch hours of TV. So here we go:
- Pack good quality real food. My son has a great appetite and he has always been a good
eater. My family follows a gluten-free/ paleo-ish lifestyle. Technically it’s primal. Because food plays an important role in how you feel and your behavior, my first tip is always to bring your own real food. The fastest way to turn a sweet loving toddler into a monster is to let him get hangry. Airport food is convenient, but rarely packed with any nutritional value. Plus it’s expensive to pay for what they offer in airports. If you think toddlers are difficult on an airplane, try traveling with a toddler that has come down from a sugar high. One of the top items that have helped my get to and from our destinations while traveling are the food we bring with us.
- Purchase an airline approved car seat. Why, because you don’t want to find yourself traveling to Kalamazoo with a toddler; rent a car seat that is 6 years old and pray that your child is safe. Plus if you normally spend a lot of time driving with your child, they are probably use to sleeping in their car seat. This is why it is important to try to keep things familiar and safe for the.
- Bring familiar things. We travel with a lot of crap. We take our Bob stroller, our Joovy Room2 Playard(which makes a great sleeper) and a assortment of other things that Remy has gotten use to seeing/ using on each trip. Remy knows when it is time to sleep, that going into his Joovy is where he sleeps. If you book your flight with an airline that is focused on great customer service (thank you SouthWestAir and Alaskan Air) they may not charge you for the pack and play, because it is a crib for the child and not just excess baggage.
- Take your stroller. Regardless if you use a jog stroller like we do or an umbrella stroller. It is so much easier pushing a tired infant or toddler across miles of airport and parking lot than it is to carry them. Plus, if they do decide to walk or someone else is carrying them. The Bob stroller is durable and sturdy enough to carry 2 pieces of luggage, the car seat, plus your laptop bag. $5 dollar airport dolly rent not needed.
- Rent the dolly. You can’t take the airport dolly past security, but from car to ticket agent to TSA check point, why would you want to carry all of this stuff, plus try to keep up with your toddler. $5 is not a lot of money to save you some back pain and frustration.
- Bring “new” stuff. As much as having familiar things is great, bring new stuff to intrigue your child and keep their brain engaged with the newness of a toy, a book, or any item that they have not seen before.
- Bring Music – You can use your iPhone for music without giving your child screen time, or you can bring along something like My First Crayola Mess-Free Touch Lights. This plays multiple songs and is great for a toddler who is learning to sing. You, and everyone around you, would rather hear the ABC song or Wheels on the Bus 19 times than listen to a toddler having a tantrum.
Try to time your flight with their nap time or sleep schedule. This can help you and your child out so when you try to schedule your flight so that it is super early in the morning or around the same time they usually nap. Once you get settled on the plane and feed your child, the movement of the plane should send your toddler into a peaceful sleep. If you have to spend hours on a plane with an infant or a toddler, wouldn’t you rather have them spend some of that time peacefully sleeping? In addition, bringing a light blanket and sleeping music will help produce better sleeping conditions for your child.
Last, as a first time parent who was new to traveling with a child, I suffered an extreme level of anxiety the first time we fly to Austin, Texas. There were so many unknowns like the car seat, when to board and what places are child friendly. Since becoming a toddler travel expert, I have found many wonderful parents that are willing to share their tips and thoughts with you. If you find yourself visiting any of the following ares, please look up these locals:
Houston, Texas – Please reach out to Valerie of www.onehappyhousewife.com
Maui, Hawaii – Please reach out to Sarah Burns theohanamama.com
Charolette, North Carolina – Please reach out to Stefani of craftychristian.com
Saskatchewan, Canada – Please reach out to Lily from craftlearnandplay.com
Breb, Romania – Please reach out to Cheryl of handcraftedtravellers.com
We hope this helps! Please share your traveling tips or experiences with your infant or toddler. What has worked for you? What has been your longest flight? How does your toddler do on road trips?
Please follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel!