7 Tips for Flying with a Toddler

white and red airplane under cloudy sky

Whether you have a PCS on the horizon or perhaps a much-needed family vacation, traveling with a todler can be stressful. Here’s some of my best tips:

Ensure your little one has a seat.

If you are traveling with a lap infant, ensure that SATO books a ticket for them. This extra seat allows you to bring your car seat for them to be contained or extra space to lay during the flight. We have always utilized a lightweight car seat for the flights and shipped our regular car seats with our vehicles.  If you are traveling for leisure and do not want to come out of pocket for an extra seat, I always try to select a seat with empty rows or speak to the agent before boarding if there are any rows with open seats to move to. 

Utilize the luggage cart / stroller to the gate.

When leaving Honolulu International Airport we utilized a porter to assist us on getting our baggage to the gate since we were flying without our sailor. He then provided a luggage cart that I was able to place our car seat on and additional bags on to make our walk through TSA and the gate much easier.

Pack all the snacks.

Packing snacks, bottles, and beverages in a clear bag makes it easier to pull out for TSA, as well as keeps you organized for the flight. Get your little one involved and let them pick out a special snack for the flight. Pack an age appropriate treat that your little one can suck on during take off and landing to help with change of pressure in their ears (ie. Bottle, pouch, lollipop, straw cup, gum) .

Pack light and pack smart.

A diaper backpack keeps your hands free to push the stroller or hold your little ones hand. Our must haves were an extra change of clothes and masks, sanitizing wipes, chargers, headphones, inflight activities or small toys and snacks.

Schedule a flight that works for you.

Some people swear by taking red eye flights because their little ones sleep the whole way. For us we prefer day flights which take less pressure off my little one to sleep and my constant “shhhh” while others are trying to sleep. If your little one is having a hard time winding down or having sensory overload on the plane, the lavatory (as gross as that sounds) or the back of the plane has always been our saving grace for a moment to breath, soothe and regroup.

Plan for in-flight activities.

I like to pack a variety of options for my little one to choose from and keep her entertained. Here were some ideas for fun and mess-free options:

  • Sticker books
  • Magic Marker pads
  • Water Wow pads
  • Small figures 
  • Window clings 
  • Diplo blocks
  • Stamps and paper 
  • Wikki Stix 
  • Fidget tubes, poppers 
  • Brain Quest Cards
  • Light books 
  • Pre-loaded tablets with games and favorite movies

Be flexible and breathe.

Traveling with a toddler can be tiring, stressful, and overwhelming, but remember to breathe. Everyone understands traveling with a little one can be tough. I have found the flight attendants are always willing to help if I needed it. Safe travels and enjoy your next adventure! 

Follow me on IG: aloha.mama.cat and feel free to message me with any questions about traveling and Pearl Harbor!

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