Travel Tips: Flying With a Baby or Toddler

Hi Friends,

This is probably the thing friends and followers ask me about the most, so a post is long overdue. Not to mention, this post has been sitting in my drafts folder for close to a year!

Flying with littles can be stressful and for some, the anxiety of even thinking about flying with your kid may prevent you from traveling at all. We have been flying with Paige since she was 13 weeks old and our longest direct flight with her is 8 1/2 hours with no issues. Just last week she flew her last time as a lap infant so we have nearly 2 years of practice to share the things that have worked for us.

Bring disinfectant wipes and wipe down ALL the things on and around your seat including trays, seatbelt, windows, armrests, controls for air, etc. Planes are cesspools and NEVER get cleaned. A lot of people fly when sick and some people are just gross. Not only do I do this for the baby’s sake, but I do it so Cole and I don’t get sick every time we fly as well.

Bring more snacks than you think you need: Once your little is eating real food bring all the snacks. If they are still nursing or bottle fed be prepared to have those ready if needed for comfort. Even a sippy cup of water could do the trick.

Take advantage of the kids in flight entertainment or bring an iPad if you allow your kids screen time. We have not used the iPad yet because we haven’t had to, but before our first long flight to Costa Rica we started watching a little tv to get her interested for short periods of time for the flight.  It ended up putting her to sleep after a few minutes so it was a win. Most airlines have a kids section in their offerings so check it out.

Nurse, bottle feed or use a pacifier during takeoff and landing: The cabin pressure sometimes hurts our ears so imagine how it may feel for the little ones. I have always nursed or given Paige a paci for takeoff and landing and we have never had any issues with her ears. I have also heard to bring lollipops if you kid does none of these things and is old enough to eat them safely.

Use your carryon for all of the baby’s stuff: I have had the misfortune of my luggage getting lost far too many times to not be overly careful in this department. I make Paige’s suitcase my carryon so there is no possible way her luggage gets lost. Also, I have everything I need in arms reach without having to pack her diaper bag to the gills.

Gate check the car seat and stroller: There are several reasons I do this. I like to be able to have the stroller while waiting for the flight.  Whether the baby is in it or its holding some of our carry on items it’s still helpful. There is less likelihood it gets lost or damaged at gate check than regular check in as well. I want as little opportunity for those 2 items to break or get lost as possible. Imagine arriving to your destination with no carseat or stroller? Or a damaged stroller or carseat that can’t be used safely anymore? That could really ruin the start of a trip. Order covers for both on amazon too so your stuff doesn’t get all germy.

Bring lots of diapers and wipes in your checked bag: Some people like buying these items once they get to their destination, but not me. I like to put them in my bag for a few reasons. 1, I know I can get the brands I like in the right size and 2, on the way home that means there is more room left in my suitcase for things I know I am going to buy on vacation:)

Take advantage of early boarding: People with babies get first dibs at boarding after first class, veterans/active military and those who need extra time. So take advantage while you can! This gives you time to get everything you schlepped for the baby put away and ample time to thoroughly wipe down all of your seats. If you have an especially active toddler this may backfire and your time may be best spent letting them run wild in the terminal. You know your kid best, so follow your gut here.

Book flights on or around nap/bedtimes: We have had success booking first thing in the morning, around nap times and also red eyes. The hope is that they will sleep when they usually sleep. When Paige was small enough to fit in the dock a tot we laid that across our laps and she slept in there very comfortably. We also book a hotel near the airport the night before we leave for any early morning flights to make that morning easier.

Bring a small backpack filled with toys: When Paige turned about 12 months old we got a little backpack and filled it with all kinds of toys. As a toddler her favorites are crayons, coloring books and stickers. We get most of these things from the 99 cent store so we’re not sad if we leave them somewhere.

Well that covers it! Do you have any go to tips or tricks for flying with a little that I may have missed? Please share in the comments below.

Happy Travels,

H