How To: Fly with a Toddler

20140630_112324Up, Up, and Away! 

Jayden has become a pro at flying after just a handful of times in the air – he is like his daddy! 🙂 We took our first flight when he was 2 months old, then again when he was 21 months old (both times to the east coast from California, and both times as a lap infant). His next time on a plane was at 2.5 years old, then again at 3.5 years old, and most recently just a week ago at 4 years old (he had his own seat for these and I have to say, as much as I hate having to pay for the extra seat I love that he has his own space and we are able to spread out a bit!).

Flying was definitely easier when he was an infant rather than a toddler. He slept most of the way and did not require too much work (aside from having to lug so much gear around– to be discussed below). As a toddler they are more wiggly, noisier, and just plain restless – so be ready!

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Tips for flying with a toddler:

Bring LOTS of snacks – anything non-liquid will be easy to take through security; variety is key.

Bring a sippy cup that you can fill past security – as a toddler TSA is more questioning about liquids brought through that isn’t breastmilk, so I go the easy route and just pick something up after security, and most flight attendants are more than happy to give you a juice for your little one as you are boarding.

New toys-does not have to be expensive, I usually raid the dollar section at Target or hit up the local dollar store for some goodies.

New games or movies on your tablet-make sure you download them before the trip since they charge you for WiFi on board. And a pair of kiddie earphones (they keep your fellow passengers from hating you, but I also like the ones made for kids because they have volume control on it so it is never too loud for their little ears).

Blanket and Lovey – you MUST bring something familiar from home. It is a scary enough situation to be in, it would help to have their favorite stuffed animal and a cozy blanket to snuggle with.

Check in what you do not need – Strollers and car seats are free to check in on most major airlines. Do it! We tried doing the free gate check the first time around, but let me tell you, when you are rushing to catch your connecting flight it is a pain in the tush to have all that to lug around, plus keep track of your kid, and the hand-carry luggage. It is best to have on board just the necessities. The car seat on board is a personal choice. We prefer to let him stretch out rather than be confined in a car seat – he is not the biggest fan of the car seat on long car trips as it is so we would rather save the headache and make it so he has more space to play and move around instead.

Bring lots of wipes – to wipe the child, yes, but also to wipe down your surroundings (armrests, trays, etc).

Extra outfit – for all members of the family because you just do not know what will happen. As an example, on one of our flights my husband ended up getting poop on his shirt from our very wiggly child being changed on the plane changing table. Funny for me, not so much for him! But I definitely did not want to have to smell him the rest of the trip! 🙂

Baggies in several sizes – these are another must! Perfect for throwing toys into, wet/dirty clothes into, extra snacks into, etc. The list just goes on…

Travelling is a time for fun, a time to play, and a time to break the rules. 🙂 We try to keep as much structure as possible (easier said than done!) but don’t beat yourself up if things go wrong or not quite how you planned. Be flexible in your plans, and expect things to go wrong – that way you are not surprised by it, are prepared for it, and it might actually end up a fun bonus when it all happens to work out nicely in the end.

Here are some items I like for travelling:

These are fantastic because they don’t stain on anything.
Always have a bag for your checked in stroller or car seat – they will end up filthy if you dont.
Still need to convince hubby about this one since it is pricey, but I love that it becomes a little ride for the kiddos and makes travelling more fun. The Kindle for kids has been wonderful!

*This post contains Amazon Affiliate links *

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