Destinations Magazine

The Ultimate Guide to Flying with a Toddler

By Francoisetmoi
Over 50 moms weigh in with their best ideas on how to rock flying with a toddler. Get their top tips with specific toy and snack recommendations!

The countdown to our first family trip + Sylvie's first plane ride is on, and I realized OMG, I have absolutely no idea how these three hours in airplane captivity are going to go with a very active 2.5 yr old. So I reached out to my fellow moms on Instagram for advice on flying with a toddler, and more than 50 moms and grandmothers weighed in.

The general consensus seemed to be: Bring LOTS of snacks, compact but interactive toys, and don't-for one second-feel guilty about iPad screen time! There were such great tips and words of encouragement that I want to share them with all of you. If you have a trip planned in the near future or just hope to travel at some point with your little one, read up and pin this one for later. Below are some of the advice highlights, and you can see the original IG post here. Also, make sure to check out the toy and snack recommendations for flying with a toddler at the bottom of this post!

Advice for Flying with a Toddler from Fellow Moms

Tip #1: @ShopMeridianny says "My best tip is make no rules!" Just do what you have and want to do to enjoy yourself. iPad the entire flight? Lollipops for breakfast? I have seriously done it all with my son, and it makes a big difference to just go with the flow!"

Tip #2: "Hit up the Target dollar (or similar) section and get new toys + activities she's never seen before. Window clings, slime, stickers, etc. Gotta keep things fresh! Lollipop for takeoff and landing to help with ears. Tablet and snacks. Oh so many snacks." - @Mstarrevdesign

Tip #3: "Individually wrap up dollar store activities in foil or wrapping paper for an added treat." - @Biggerthanthethreeofus

Tip #4: "We used to travel with a ton of post it notes, any size, because he could just take them off and move them around easily. He'd have the whole area covered in them. Lol. We also always grabbed a bagel before the flight because it was a good just hold-in-hand-and-nibble-kind-of-snack, and always occupied some time." - @Sweet_domicile

Tip #5: "[Bring] new toys or hide her faves and release them at flight time. New books are great if she likes to read. A ton of snacks and a new fancy water bottle. Kiddie head phones and an ipad. You will do great! Stay relaxed and she will too!" - @katelovesvintage

Tip #6: "Pack a bunch of surprise containers. I traveled with a 2 and 3 year old and that got them entertained the entire time. I used dollar store containers with coloring activities, some had fave small toys, some had legos, and some even had snacks." - @casawatkinsblog

Tip #7: "Fill a little backpack with new fun items for the plane, (I did one for each hour and wrapped it in fun paper.) Coloring books, easy little crafts (Michael's has little packs that don't require glue or scissors). Load an iPad up with movies and games that don't require wifi if all else fails. lol. Also honey lollipops - great for the ascent and descent to prevent ears popping and great immune boosting properties. Oh and treat yourself to a glass of wine or two on the plane too!" - @lexiekeads

Tip #8: "Travel. Sized. Magnadoodle. I had our tablet ready to go with Daniel Tiger episodes, and we barely needed it. The airport Book by Lisa Brown was also great at explaining to my 2yo what was going to happen when we traveled. I think it helped alot. And yes...all the snacks." - @erika.gidley

Tip #9: "Melissa and Doug brand WATER WOW reusable water painting pads, you're welcome in advance! Also, there will be alot of newness for her. It really helped my daughter when we realized she needed more info - so explaining in detail what is going on, even down to what people might say. It helped her understand that she is aware of her surroundings. We do it not only on the journey but also when we get to our destination, 'go inside big hotel doors, get our key, and say hello...' etc." - @kelisabetpio

Tip #10: "Extra clothes for you and her (just in case of accidents/spills) more snacks than you think you'll ever need (Lunchables are a fun rare treat in our house and work as an activity too!)." - @kis_ak

Tip #11: "I always bring skin-safe cleaning wipes (wipe the tray and hands before snacking), small puzzles in ziptop bags, and a zippered toiletry bag of tiny play dough tubs and tools." - @kjrichards

Tip #12: "The rule with all my grandchildren is...don't let their feet hit the ground. If they get a taste of walking up and down the aisles you'll have a hard time getting them to sit when you have to!" - @lnkirk

Tip #13: "Let her run around alot before the flight takes off! Window seat is good for looking out too." - @kcbrodeur

Tip #14: "PEZ candy dispensers are fun. Takes a little time to eat each candy, and if you have a few of them, they double as toys." - @mmallow8

Tip #15: "Sensitive to loud sounds? Mine freaks at the engine, so noise cancelling headphones are a must. Plus a blanket or a comfort item (but not THE comfort item - don't want to lose it!)." - @jennytheshirt

Tip #16: "Target dollar section and dollar stores! Let your kid open one every few hours. It's like Christmas. Go to 5 Below and get those lights that go on fingers. Airplanes get dark and your kids are still active!" - @satokob

Tip #17: "We had a Go Go Babyz airport stroller. They are awesome for getting around the airport with an otherwise awkward car seat. Plus, they are strapped into a familiar place with lots of fun people and things to watch while they roll around." - @corinna.wells

Tip #18: "Two activity items for the plane: 1) A toothbrush-Something easy to chew on to help with little ears. 2) An empty water bottles and cotton balls. Endless entertainment of pushing them in and shaking them out." - @Quietfootsteps

In-Flight Must-Haves

Ideas to Keep Toddlers Busy
Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Book Melissa & Doug Water Wow Reusable Color Pad Travel Sized Magna Doodle

Regular Washi Tape or Roadway Washi Tape

Bristle Blocks

Coloring Books with Triangle Crayons (Won't roll away!)

More Distraction Ideas
Snacks/Treat Ideas

Thank you IG ladies for all your life-saving advice on flying with a toddler!! Do you have a tip that worked for you? Leave it in the comments so we can learn from you!

Lead image captured by Electric Lime Photography.

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Ultimate Guide Flying with Toddler

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