Hilton Mom Voyage Hilton Hotels and Resorts
10 Tips for Flying with a Toddler | Air Travel with Toddler

Flying with a Toddler: 10 Rules for Success

Posted in Tips | by

I officially earned my Traveling with Toddler degree after having completed two transatlantic and two transnational flights with my adorable but spirited daughter when she was 2 years-old. Here are my 10 tips for successful flying with a toddler in tow.

10 Tips for Air Travel with a Toddler

1. Reserve a bulkhead seat

Let your airline know that you are traveling with a small toddler and that you need some extra space. A bulkhead seat (just behind the bulkhead that separates coach from first class) will give you a bit more room than a standard economy seat.

2. Assemble a bag of tricks

Carry on one bag and have it brimming with small toys and gadgets that you can take out, one at a time, at intervals during the flight. Among other things, I carried coloring books and crayons, puzzles, a deck of matching cards, and a mini plastic doll house and dolls in my bag of tricks for a 10-hour flight to Europe with my daughter.

3. Pack your own protein rich snacks

Bag them in small Ziploc bags that you can dole out at intervals. Avoid sugary snacks that can lead to sugar highs, which are not fun to deal with when you’re trapped in an airplane. Some snacks that work well for long flights include: unsalted pretzel sticks dipped in a single-serving of peanut butter, cheese sticks, and trail mix made up of a few raisins and a sugarless cereal.

Read more >> Best Travel Snacks for Kids

4. Prepare for cooler plane temperatures

Pack two changes of clothes for your toddler, a change of clothes for yourself and a blanket. In-flight air temperatures tend to be cooler, so wear layers.

5. Bring a sippy cup to avoid spills

Avoid sugary drinks, but make sure your child stays hydrated by offering water throughout the flight.

6. Prepare several distractions

Don’t count on video devices to keep your toddler distracted. I’ve found that traveling toddlers can manage 15 minutes of cartoon watching at most. Bring your tablet and have a few children’s programs ready to go, but books are better. Bring along a selection of children’s books, some favorites and some new titles.

Read more >> Keeping Kids Entertained While Traveling (Without Electronics!)

7. Bring a pillow or two

I brought two standard sized pillows on a long flight to Europe with my toddler daughter. When she became sleepy, I made a pillow bed for her on my lap.

8. Pack some ibuprofen, just in case

Some children complain of earaches or headaches from changes in cabin pressure.

9. Give them a pacifier

The sucking action reduces ear pain caused by cabin pressure and is especially helpful during takeoff. If you are thinking of weaning your child off a pacifier, do so after your big trip.

Read more >> Relieve Ear Pressure Pain When Flying

10. Use up some of that pent up energy

During layovers, take a walk through the airport if you can. Many airports now have play areas for children.

Read more >> Best Airports for Long Layovers

Enjoy your flight! Finally, remember that someday soon, though it might not seem like it in the heat of the moment, your toddler will be an independent young adult, taking flight on her own adventures. You are playing a key role in setting the stage for a wonderful lifetime of travel! Have a wonderful trip together and keep the big picture in mind.

You may also enjoy:

Hilton Mom Voyage writers receive free night certificates to use at Hilton Hotels & Resorts worldwide. To learn more, visit our About Us page.

10 Tips for Flying with a Toddler | Air Travel with Toddler

Posted by:

Amy is an avid traveler and enjoys exploring the world with her two travelin’ kids, ages 5 and 13. Based in Chicago, Amy has voyaged as far…

Back to top ▴