10 Air Travel Hacks When Flying With a Toddler (Updated for 2020)
Trips are supposed to be exciting but that's not always the case when you have a child. Just the thought of traveling can make any parent's palms sweat, hearts race, and feel a little dizzy. Imagining those cute little lambs quickly turning into screaming lions can make a 2-3 hour flight quite a challenge. But hey! It doesn't mean that the trip should be a nightmare.
Whether you're preparing for a getaway or you just want to pack yourself some helpful tips because why not, these 10 easy hacks when flying with a toddler can surely save a life. Make it until the end of this post and you'll get a bonus hack!
Top 10 Hacks to Make Flying with a Toddler Easy Breezy
Anxious? Don't be! These 10 simple hacks will turn you into one confident mommy when it comes to traveling with your little one. And remember, even when unprecedented things happen (and they will), just stay calm. You got this, momma!
1. Book a Nonstop Flight (& Reach the Airport Early!)
If you can, book a flight that will take you to your destination in the shortest time possible. Arrive earlier so that you have sufficient time to confirm arrangements, secure the best seats and give your toddler some extra TLC prior to boarding. These young ones get easily bored and before you know it, they're already taking away your sanity. Waiting for a connecting flight can make them irritable or restless, thus opt for a nonstop flight instead.
While waiting, look for a small space or corner where your toddler can go in circles and enjoy himself without you worrying too much. Let the kid unleash his energy so that during the flight, he will knock out and be sound asleep. That way, you can enjoy your well-deserved peace inside the plane rather than playing tag. We know, this is a simple yet very effective hack for air travel with a toddler!
2. Download Our FREE Packing Checklist
Yes, it does sound old school but creating a list of what you need can actually save your life. Toys, cookies, juice, extra clothes/supplies, a Hygiene Kit, etc. are essential and it should be included in your carry-on luggage. Download our free checklist so you'll have an idea of what to bring when flying with a toddler.
Kids can be the most adorable creatures in the universe but don't be fooled -- these pooping machines will do number two anytime and anywhere, and the last thing you want to do is to worry about diapers and wet tissues. Level up your packing game and use stylish packing cubes from EzPacking.
Toddlers can create chaos in a snap and that's already too much to handle. As much as possible, what you want is to find serenity in other places, especially inside your bag. With the help of these travel cubes, you can easily sort items in your bag and also easily take out exactly what is needed. The cubes come in various sizes; you can use the Small Cubes for snacks and the Larger Cubes for handy toys, diapers, blankets and more. These are lightweight so there's no need to worry about extra baggage.
3. Wear Comfy Slip-Ons
Okay, we get it. You want to slay and use the airport as your runway. But as a mom, you have to deal with your highly energized kid all the time. So, instead of worrying about any discomfort due to high heels, wear comfortable slip-on shoes to make your trip with the toddler easier. You'll be using both hands: one for the toddler and the other hand for the baggage, and none for massaging your painful calf muscles.
4. Secure Aisle Seats
Although window seats give you the best view of nature's beauty, the only thing you want when flying with a toddler is to be seated in the aisle. You will never know how many trips you'll make to the bathroom so sit on the side and thank yourself later. Toddlers are like time bombs who can explode anytime and when they do, the last thing you want is to disturb the passengers beside you (who are already giving you "the look").
5. Bring Toys: Follow the Slow Release Rule
Toddlers are easy to control -- at least in our dreams. Reality check, they are hyper and curious and they want to explore everything around them. Sitting alone makes them easily bored so if you don’t want to deal with a crisis, bring toys. Toys are like magic wands that quickly turn the storm into a beautiful rainbow.
When presenting the toys though, bring out each one at a time to keep your child occupied throughout the long flight. If this doesn't work, you can keep them excited with a tablet or phone and allow them to play games or watch a movie suitable for their age. Moana is for kids and parents, am I right?
6. Take Some Sweets
Most moms avoid sugars as it makes toddlers too energetic; however, sweets may serve an important purpose. Take-off and landing can cause pain to the ears and swallowing is one way of dealing with this. You can prevent whining and other unwanted scenarios by giving your child a few chewy candies, healthy gummy vitamins or even a lollipop.
Sweets can help distract their attention whenever they're too scared or nervous. If you're concerned about giving sweets, you may opt for sugar-free candies instead. A few treats during a long flight with a toddler can save your sanity (and everyone else's).
7. "Aeroplane Police" Trick
Some mothers may feel bad about using other people to scare their child but trust me when I say that it works. This ancient trick is helpful whenever a toddler is behaving badly. But remember, you're dealing with kids and not crooks; thus, don't scare them out of their wits. If you feel bad, remember that it's far better than dealing with toddlers crawling under the seats, jumping on the chair, playing with the tables, and the list goes on.
8. Play Pilots & Other Role Play Games
It's no secret how many kids are scared of flying, and if your toddler's one of them, you can easily manage it with this hack. Play role games with your child by letting them become the pilot or the flight attendant. This does not only avoid panic and boredom but also it sparks your child's creativity and imagination. It's one of the best ways to avoid tantrums (and whining) of the toddler on the plane.
9. Carry A Mini First Aid Kit
Although planes are equipped with the basic medical tools and medicines, it's always better to carry something yourself. Bring paracetamol for your child in case he got sick or any medicine that will relieve travel sickness. You'll also thank yourself for carrying ear drops during altitude change.
10. Take Care Of Yourself
We know, part of being a mom is to give a hundred percent of yourself. However, putting all your effort into ensuring your kid is safe is just as important as taking care of your own wellbeing. Treat yourself as a priority, too. After all, you will find all these hacks difficult if you are not in good shape. Give small tasks to your partner and squeeze nap-times in for the both of you (if possible). This way, you can both make traveling fun and exciting.
Bonus Hack for Packing!
It's almost the end of the post and you made it! Great! We've got a bonus hack for you! And this one's for packing.
One of the most important things that can really take a heavy load off your back when it comes to flying with toddlers is taking care of packing. And we've got just the right packing cubes to help you get organized.
✔️ Extra Small Cube - This cutie patootie of a cube is good for packing your kids' undies and socks. It can also be used for toiletries, mini first aid kit, and a toy storage for smaller toys.
✔️ Small Cube - Roll in your tops, tights, and blouses inside this cube to save space in your luggage. You can also use this to organize your kids' toys and diapers.
✔️ Medium Cube - Fold your pants and shorts and pack them in this cube. This is also good for keeping snacks and sweets to keep your toddlers at bay when they're "hangry."
✔️ Large Cube - For bulkier clothing items, like your jackets and sweaters, pack them in this cube. When not in use, you can store your bed sheets and covers using this and organize them in your cabinet.
✔️ Starter Set - If you're traveling with a carry on, the Starter Set is perfect for you. It's got all 4 cube sizes and can fit 5-8 days worth of clothes.
✔️ Complete Bundle - For checked luggage, the Complete Bundle is going to be your best friend. It includes 2 pieces of all the 4 cube sizes, plus a shoe bag, laundry bag, and folding boards. Neat!
Anyone who says that flying with a toddler is easy has never experienced one (unless you have an angelic child). Whether you're a first-time parent or not, traveling with a child is -- and will always be -- a difficult task. Even with the presence of a partner or a handful of experiences, there will be times when you can never manage everything.
Toddlers are unpredictable and they never run out of energy... at least, for some time. Therefore, it's important to be prepared with the right hacks to ensure that you can manage your little one effectively. These hacks are easy to follow and it will not only keep your kids in line but your sanity as well.
P.S. Want more flying tips? Click here for the Best Flying Tips for Airplane Travel!