Tips For Flying With a Toddler

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.

Bermuda Beach

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.

The Gear

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!

xo, Olivia


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  1. Danna wrote:

    Fully agree with your tips, especially the random stuff. We just flew with our 2.5 daughter and brought glow sticks from the Target $1 bin on a whim. I swear she played with them for an hour!

    Posted 9.20.18 · Reply
    • olivia wrote:

      Danna! This is such a great tip! Need to think about those $1 bins when we’re in Target. Thank you for the tip. xo

      Posted 9.24.18 · Reply
  2. Yasmine Mendoza wrote:

    Hello Olivia, I just discovered you from your lovely vlog of the Cartagena trip. I am from Perth Australia married to a Colombian and we are making our first trip with a toddler to Colombia this December. I have been before but with a child adds another level of complexity. That aside I am SUPER excited. Thank you for your tips, I will use them all!

    Posted 9.22.18 · Reply
  3. Judith wrote:

    Hello. I read this post when you originally posted it, but now came back to it because we’re planning on going to Europe with our almost 2 year old. I’m actually looking for tips concerning ground transportation once you get to your destination. Do you take your car seat with you? Have you used public transportation/trains? If so, any safety tips?

    Posted 10.27.18 · Reply
    • olivia wrote:

      Hello! Europe sounds amazing! Where in Europe? I know London is similar to NYC with car seats within the city.

      When we flew to Amsterdam we took Sebastian’s carseat with us. We checked it with out luggage (it’s free to check). Once we arrived, we ordered an Uber (or cab) and they helped us get the car seat installed. My biggest safety tip would be to take your time. I always feel so rushed when I’m trying to install his car seat. Just take your time, make sure you install it correctly and you have all your luggage. We’ve traveled a lot and forgot things because we were in a rush.

      One other recommendation, if you plan on taking a lot of trains and busses in Europe, perhaps order a shuttle service to and from the airport. Might be easier than taking a car seat with you. I love public transportation (trains and buses) and would recommend over a taxi any day of the week. We also walk as much as possible. So we’d walk 30 minutes to our hotel. It was nice to see the city, as well.

      Hope this helps!!

      xo Olivia

      Posted 10.28.18 · Reply
      • Judith wrote:

        Hi! Thanks a lot for all the tips. We’ll be going to Spain (fly to Madrid and also take a speed train to Sevilla). I like your suggestion of the shuttle service or taking an Uber to/from the airport. And we also plan on walking a lot since we’ll be staying pretty close to the places we’ll be visiting and close to train stations. One of my worries is just that – carrying too much stuff and leaving something behind. Now it doesn’t sound that intimidating. Thanks again!

        Posted 10.28.18 · Reply

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