As we all know by now, and if you don’t you’re about to, toddlers are… special, as in, out of their little tiny minds. However, that doesn’t mean we should stop dead in our tracks with travel. Instead, I would actually encourage you to travel with your little ones, as we all need a little break from the reality of life. Even the kiddos.
Bringing your lap-child on a plane for the first or fifth time can be stressful and unnerving as it can be a guessing game as to how it’s going to go. But there’s ways to decrease the amount of stress you’ll be feeling on your flight.
5 Tips to Survive Flying With a Toddler
- Pack your carry-on accordingly: First off, try to use a small-medium bag for your carry-on since you’re already going to have a few things to lug around the airport, i.e. your child. Packing snacks and toys are a MUST for your carry-on! Pack 2 or 3 toys that you know your child loves and 2 to 3 different types of snacks. Pack along an electronic, such as a tablet if you have to. Whatever it will take to keep your toddy busy for a few + hours (depending on where you’re traveling to). Other things to pack: diapers, wipes, an extra pair of clothes, binky or bottle for take-off and landing, tylenol.
- Take advantage of the middle seat: This is a big one and it’s proven (by me) that it works half of the time. If you’re purchasing at least two seats on a plane, buy the window and aisle seat, but leave the middle seat open. Nobody will buy the middle seat if there are already two people in that row, unless it’s their last resort or they have serious issues. If you are lucky enough (and you just might be!) to have the middle seat open, you now have a free seat for your toddler to sit, nap, and be free (and it makes such the difference)!
- Decide between a stroller and wearing your toddler: They are two very different options, but can be a make-it or break-it on if your airport experience will suck or not. I like both options. The stroller is a great option because you have extra storage space and don’t have to worry about carrying bags around, and only have to worry about your child. However, wearing your child (if they are small enough, of course) is a great option as well. By wearing your baby, you are now hands-free and can easily move around the airport AND the airplane’s cabin. Note: when taking-off and landing, you are not allowed to “wear” your child; I learned this the hard way by getting in “trouble” by a flight attendant.
- Choose the right flight times: Another very important factor to having a decent flying experience. In my opinion, I think the best flight time for you and your child is around the time they go to bed. This way, and fingers crossed, they will (hopefully) fall asleep and sleep most of the time. That’s of course, the best case scenario, which I achieved twice with my little one! If you can’t find a time around their bed time, then I would suggest a flight in the very, very early morning, and the key here is to try to keep them asleep the whole way to the airport and continue that onto the plane. This way, you won’t have to stress about them falling asleep, as they will already be sleeping!
- Don’t get to the airport TOO early: I mean, obviously, right? Because if you get to the airport with too much time between checking in and boarding, you will have an ansty and bored toddler. And then you’re going to bring that same child onto a small aircraft where they have even less room to move around? Nuh-uh, don’t do it to yourself or your child. It will NOT be pretty! Give yourself enough time where you aren’t rushing around thinking you might miss your flight, but not too much to where you are already losing your mind and you haven’t even gotten on the plane yet.