- Pick Your Travel Time
- Consider Booking a Bassinet or Even an Extra Seat
- Pack Your Carry-On Luggage With Care
- Make use of the Airport Facilities Before Boarding
- Have Meals and Snacks at the Ready
- Allow Screen Time
- Walk the Aisle
Travelling with toddlers may seem like a daunting prospect and some parents don’t travel because of this. However this doesn’t have to be the case. With some planning and organising you can take some of the strain of travelling with toddlers away.
A long car journey should be pretty straight forward as your toddler will be familiar with your vehicle. Plus you can plan for stops along the way. Boredom will probably be your biggest problem, but the motion of your car often sends small children to sleep.
You may be wondering how to travel with a toddler on a plane as this presents a different set of problems. And no-one wants to be ‘that’ parent with the tantrum throwing toddler. While there are no guarantees, the following are tried and tested tips to help you with a smooth ride.
1. Pick Your Travel Time
When flying with a toddler pick a flight that works with your baby’s sleep or nap routine. If your toddler usually sleeps for 2 hours over lunchtime and you’ve booked a flight over that time, it’s likely your baby will sleep. For long haul flights, consider a night time flight, as the cabin lights are dimmed overnight and it is a more ‘normal’ time for your toddler to be asleep.
2. Consider Booking a Bassinet or Even an Extra Seat
With most airlines children under 2 years old fly for free. Some airlines even offer a free bassinet service, but bear in mind there is a weight limit for using these bassinets. Always check with your airline for their weight restrictions and measurements before you fly.
Even though ‘lap children’ usually fly for free, you might want to consider purchasing an extra seat. Not only is this the safer option, but it will also give you and your family more space, which means a more comfortable flight. You may not want to deal with a restless toddler on your lap for the duration of your flight!
3. Pack Your Carry-On Luggage With Care
Never underestimate the importance of packing your carry-on luggage for a toddler. Bring twice as much nappies, bottles, baby food and snacks on the plane as you think you will need. If your plane becomes severely delayed or canceled, you will be happy you did. Instead of bringing multiple sippy cups that bulk out your baggage, try bringing a couple of super compact universal stretch lids so you only need one cup.
In addition, when travelling with toddlers don’t forget to pack an extra outfit for yourself. You never know when an accident will happen. The last thing you want to do is arrive damp and sticky from a spilt drink or wet nappy.
4. Make use of the Airport Facilities Before Boarding
Always make sure you and your toddler go to the toilet immediately before getting on the plane. The toilet cubicles on planes are tiny enough to negotiate by yourself never mind with a toddler!
Use the airline ‘gate check-in’ service for strollers or prams, that way you can keep them with you all the way through the airport.
Under your watchful eye, let your child play and run around before boarding to use up some of that energy. Hopefully this will tire them out before flying.
5. Have Meals and Snacks at the Ready
The last you need is a hungry toddler mid-flight, so make sure you have meals and snacks at the ready. As your toddler will more than likely have started solid foods by now, packing baby food pouches and food pouch spoons is a compact way to travel. If your baby prefers warm food, a travel bottle warmer is perfect for warming up baby food inflight.
When flying with a toddler, food, and snacks especially, can be used as a distraction. So make sure you pack plenty of your toddlers’ favourite snacks to keep them happy and entertained.
6. Allow Screen Time
While it is not advised to allow your baby electronic screen time before they are 2 years old, a little time on the flight maybe a lifesaver. Consider relaxing your screen time rules just for the flight. It’s worth it for your sanity. Most parents start off with good intentions when it comes to screen time for their little ones, but you’re definitely allowed to let your standards slip during a flight! Load your tablet with games, songs and cartoons to keep them entertained for as long as possible. Make sure you invest in kiddies headphones so not to annoy your neighbouring passengers with a repeated favourite tune.
7. Walk the Aisle
Flying with a toddler on your lap and trying to keep them still is no easy task. So don’t be afraid to get up and walk up and down the aisle a couple of times, just not so much that you irritate other passengers. Try and avoid doing this during meal or service times as you don’t want to get in the flight attendants’ way!
Yes, travelling with toddlers may seem like a tall order, but with a bit of planning it can be done. You don’t need to miss out on travel or even on a much needed holiday. Travel can even be an exciting and educational time for your toddler.
Our last top tip when flying with your toddler is to remember to take your toddlers’ favourite toy or blanket. You don’t want to have to deal with a temper tantrum right before your flight if you have forgotten these things!
These are our top tips, what are yours?