Tips for Flying with a Toddler

Last week Oliver hit 11 flights, and although flying should be a breeze by now, I was a little nervous flying with him this time around because he is now a toddler and busier than ever. We flew to Georgia, which went off without a hitch, but our flight home was less than ideal. Our day started at 5 a.m. and didn’t end until we got home at almost midnight. We dealt with 8 layover hours, the first 6 due to wrongly filled out mechanical paperwork, which I am very thankful they took the time to sort out. When we finally took off, we had another smooth flight, only to land and find out that our 20 minute layover had turned into a 2 hour layover. I am so thankful for airport playgrounds so Oliver could run around and burn off some energy! Our flight home was nice and Oliver fell asleep before we even took off. I thought, since we now feel like pros (haha maybe a stretch?), I’d share some tips on keeping a toddler busy while flying and during layovers.

Tips for Flying:

  • Bring lots of snacks: Airport food is outrageously expensive and rarely can you find food for kids. Plus, by packing your own snacks, you can ensure your kids are fueling up on healthy options. TSA will allow food through as long as it’s in a ziplock bag or sealed. We also pack an empty cup for water (only formula or breast milk is allowed through TSA), because flying dehydrates you, and we make sure to fill it up at the water stations before we board.
  • Window stickies: Can be found at Target for $1, and even if it only brings 15 minutes of distraction, it is well worth it! We usually try to get a window seat so he can put the stickies on the window, but they also work on the seat-back trays.
  • Wrap toys in plastic wrap: This was a suggestion given to me, and it’s genius! ┬áIf your kid likes to unwrap gifts, this is the perfect thing to keep them busy.
  • The classic coloring book and crayons: You can’t go wrong with this!
  • Favorite show,movie, or app: Probably the only time I am all for letting Oliver use the iPad. We downloaded his favorite movie (Boss Baby) and brought along some kid-friendly headphones.

Tips for Layovers:

  • Almost all flying tips also work for layovers!
  • Let them run: Let them burn off some energy! While letting your kid run around in an airport may not be ideal, it’s much better than having them fidgety and energetic while in a confined space. There are often empty gates that you can find and have them play there out of the way.
  • Airport play areas: Not all airports have these, but I’m so thankful for the ones that do! It gives them a chance to play with other kids and again, burn off some energy. Yes, there are lots of germs, but no more than those on the actual airplane, plus that’s what hand sanitizer is for.
  • Napping supplies: Whether it’s a blanket, pacifier, or lovey, nap times are essential during travel. A well rested kid (usually) equals a well behaved kid.
  • Be prepared: The weather can be unpredictable and things happen, so it’s better to be prepare for the unexpected. Extra diapers, extra snacks, etc.
  • Have patience: It’s easier to go through a long layover when you understand that your kid is only a kid, they’re still young, so tantrums happen and you can’t control everything. The more upset you get, the worse your time will be, and the harder it will be to deal with a toddler. Be patient with your kids and the airport staff! At the end of the day everyone just wants to get to their destination as smoothly as possible.

I hope you find these tips helpful, and if you have any tips of your own, feel free to share in the comments below!

Happy travels!



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