Traveling is a big part of our lives. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s important to me to instill a strong sense of adventure in Sebastian. Our first family trip happened when he was just a few months old. After that trip, I shared these tips and more recently these tips. As Sebastian gets older traveling can sometimes hold new challenges, particularly when it comes to flying. Honestly, it can be tough. After a few dozen flights we’re starting to get the hang of it with a busy toddler. I know a lot of parents can get pretty nervous when it comes to getting on a flight with their little one. Here are some of our tips for flying with a toddler.
Worth The Time & Money
As the old saying goes the best defense is a good offense. There are a few things you can do prior to your trip to help make it a successful one. I like to pack the day before. This goes for both parts of the trip. It saves time and reduces stress on the day of travel. Also, you’re less likely to forget things if you’re not in a rush.
If you travel frequently, consider applying for Global Entry. We just got it and it makes traveling so much easier. I really can’t stress this enough. Having this also allows you access to TSA Precheck too! The application fee is $100 and it lasts for 5 years. It’s a really easy process that you start online. We went downtown after an international flight to answer our quick set of in-person questions. When you come back into the US you get to skip the long line at customs. Easy as pie. Just remember to put in your number when you purchase your ticket. We hope to have Sebastian approved in the next month or two.
Thanks to our American Express card we’re able to access the Delta Sky Club Lounges. This is such a lifesaver. I love it even when traveling alone. We’re able to go grab some snacks, coffee, and water before the flight takes off. It’s nice to have a place to unwind after going through security. If you fly a particular airline often, I recommend looking into their lounge options.
I know a lot of people tend to book flights according to what’s the cheapest but when traveling with a toddler sometimes it’s best to spend a little extra on a ticket for a more enjoyable experience. We tend to book our return flights earlier in the day. When we travel later, Sebastian is just too tired and it makes for a very long travel day. If your kid is a great sleeper on flights then the opposite might work better for you.
This is one of the most important things to have when we fly. Running out of snacks can send you into panic mode. This is especially important for us because we tend not to feed Sebastian very much right before a flight. He has a history of getting car sick on the way to the airport. (Important note: Always have at least one change of clothes with you!) Kids get hungry on the plane and it will help keep them occupied. Below are some of the things we might have on us for a flight.
- Banana chips
- Animal Crackers
- Milk in a thermos
- Water in a thermos
- Sippy cup x2 (We love the Nuby cups)
- Apple (Put it in a plastic bag or this reusable one. You can use it to put the core and any other trash in the bag)
Keep Them Busy
There are a number of things we use to keep Sebastian busy on flights. Don’t be afraid to use some screen time as well to keep your little one entertained. You’d be surprised at what will keep them happy too. Sebastian loves to take the lid off of things. So he’ll take the lid off of an item, fill it up with his fluffy craft balls and put the lid back on. It’s amazing how long he’ll do this for. Here are some ideas for what to bring with you on your next trip.
- iPad + charger
- If you fly delta download the Gogo in-flight app
- Download other kid-friendly apps (Toddler Flashcards, Funny Food, First Colors, Baby Blocks, ABC Circus, Smart Shapes, Magic Fingers)
- Coloring book
- Craft items
- Small toys
- 1 book
- Magnetic things
We love the Fjällräven bags for travel. We have a small one for Sebastian and a larger one for me. When we travel as a family, we bring both bags. When it’s just one of us traveling with Sebastian we take the larger one and combine everything. I make sure to take at least 3 diapers, wipes, an extra plastic bag, napkins, and a change of clothes.
For a stroller, we’ve been using the Pockit Lightweight Stroller. It folds up and almost looks like the size of a smaller carryon. Most people have no idea it’s a stroller once it’s folded up. I love the UPPAbaby but it’s just too big for travel. Not having to lug around a huge stroller through the airport is such a relief. You just fold the Pockit up and put it on the belt for security and you’re good to go. As much as I love this stroller, it’s not very durable. We don’t put it under the plane so you have to be careful when traveling. I’ve been hearing good things about the Babyzen YOYO. I’ve also seen it a lot at the airport recently. It looks durable and stylish. This stroller looks like a great everyday and travel option.
The Most Important Tip
Have a cup of coffee. Take a deep breath. Put a smile on your face. Anyone who has ever traveled with kids has been there. I’ve found being friendly to everyone while traveling has paid back tenfold. I can personally attest that the person you snap at in line while your kiddo is in full-blown meltdown mode will be the person who sits across from you on the plane. People will talk to you and even offer you help (seriously, take it if you need it) and overall just try to offer support. You’ll make life a lot easier on yourself if you make friends along the way while traveling with kids.
To make my own version of the saying, traveling isn’t just the journey. Matt and I have had bad flight experiences and amazing trips, so try to focus on the end result. If you have any questions, please ask me below. I’m more than happy to answer them!