8 Easy Tips for Flying with a Toddler

easy tips for flying with toddlers on a plane

As we begin planning our summer vacations, we begin thinking about cars and planes. What’s the easiest way to travel with kiddos and babies? To be honest, I find ups and downs to both. But if I am heading anywhere over a 10 hour drive, I prefer a plane. I shared some of my favorite and easy plane traveling hacks with infants, but I’ve had some people ask for tips with toddlers. And honestly, I think toddlers are harder. I love them to death, but goodness, flying with them takes some practice and patience! Below I have compiled 8 easy tips for flying with a toddler!

One of our hardest flights was a nonstop flight from Newark, NJ to Honolulu, HI. We had just driven six hours the day before to get to the airport and did not think through the times that were on our ticket. Instead we just bought the ones that were the cheapest and gave us the most time in Hawaii. Looking back, that was a little silly of us. We were in Economy (as we always are) with an almost two year old for 12 hours during the DAY. He napped for a total of ONE hour and–mind you–I was about 23 weeks pregnant. How we survived that trip was definitely by the grace of God. But the tips I am about to share with you definitely helped! (Also, we had an entire NIGHT flight on the way home and he slept for ALL of it. It was ahhhh-mazing….well as much as a flight with a toddler can be 😉

easy tips for flying with toddlers on a plane

8 easy tips for flying with a toddler

1. Bring snacks. I don’t mean one to two, I mean a bag dedicated to solely snacks.
At the time, Emmett was completely dairy, egg and gluten free. I remember looking up a muffin recipe that was free of all these things and making a batch of them. We stored them in a giant ziplock bag and ate them throughout the trip. I would recommend bringing your toddler’s favorite snacks and new snacks too. Make sure they are easy clean up snacks too. Things that come in bags or wrappers and can be easily thrown out are great. A spread of celery and peanut butter is cute and healthy, but really not as easy for a trip.

2. Bring small activities and favorite toys…(and I don’t just mean ANY activity or toy). You don’t have much space if you are flying–like most people–in Economy (If you are a lucky duck and get first class you will have more options!!). Bring activities that don’t have tons of pieces. You will be hunting them down the rest of the flight! Books, invisible marker pads, these amazing Melissa and Doug On-the-go Water Pads, etc. At the point of our Hawaii trip, our son couldn’t care less about TV and so it was no help. If your kiddos likes TV (and you’re like me and would prefer to be without it), just take advantage–it’s one day!

3. When possible, plan your flight overnight. I shared earlier that our flight home from Hawaii was overnight. My son slept the entire time. If the flight is a little more expensive, but you can swing it, it might be in your best interest. But I also understand budgets and that is important too <3

4.Bring an umbrella stroller. Traveling with an umbrella stroller is so helpful going from gate to gate. It can even become a makeshift bed if you need it (we did this when our son was a baby, but hey, it might work when they’re older too!). The stroller is a great way to keep you child contained and will be gate checked for FREE. You can still bring your other stroller too if you will need it and just check it in with your luggage (only downside is you are then responsible for 2 strollers on your trip).

5. Accept people’s help. People are oftentimes nicer than you think. People either love or don’t love kids and you’ll know pretty quickly. Accept. their. help!

6. Try to get an aisle seat. I think this is pretty self explanatory. Easy access to the bathroom. You’re not bothering people. And…..brings me to my second to last point…..

7.Walk up and down the aisles. When the seat belt light goes dim, get up and walk. It’s good exercise and it helps keep kids entertained.  You will also find those people from tip #5 (keep them in mind ;))

8. Have grace. Your trip is most likely not going to be fool proof. You might have a meltdown (or 20) and you might have the child crying while your face turns beat red. Even if people are upset, just continue to do your best. You will make it through. The flight will end and you will make it to to you destination!

I would love to hear about your tips. My husband and I tried to come up with this list together, but I am sure there are other great tips to add <3 Also, share where you are heading next. We are thinking Florida…but with 2 kids this time! HELP 😀

waves and lilacs



14 Comments on “8 Easy Tips for Flying with a Toddler”

  1. I definitely agree with this post! We flew with my first son when I was also about 23 weeks pregnant, and he was probably around 20 months. We picked snacks that were really chewy, so that they would help him pop his ears during take off and landing.

  2. Great tips! Snacks are a must, for mom too, lol. Overnight flight is a great idea, haven’t tried that one yet. Last year we flew with our two year old and I scheduled an early afternoon flight and woke him really early so he’d nap on the plane, worked like a charm!

  3. We had a family holiday last year – 2 grandparents, 5 sons, daughters and spouses plus two grandchildren and almost 2 year old and a 2 month old fantastic time and yes these were the kinds of things that helped make the travelling more stress free. The wrong kids seats in the hire cars and the losing of luggage did not help though.

  4. These are such great tips!! I flew with my twins when they were just 1 a few times, and when they were 2 with a newborn… attitude is everything!

  5. These are all great tips! The last time we flew with kids was with the oldest just before he was 1 – it was perfect right during nap. We’re flying with the littlest in June – but leaving the oldest with his grandparents for the weekend because I do not know if I could do it with both!
    The water wow books are excellent though! We love them!

  6. Great tips, Bethany! I wish I read this before our Disney trip 😂 seriously, flying with a toddler was SO much harder than when he was a sleepy infant.

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