Flying with Toddlers – 9 Top Travel Tips
Traveling with young children can be stressful. Most non-children accompanying travelers fail to realize that parents and guardians often feel more anxious about boarding a plane with their babies and toddlers than any other person.
The parents and guardians are the ones being judged, looked down on, and hear the mumbling comments of the others criticizing the choice to travel with their family while they try to entertain and occupy their young ones.
Traveling by airplane can add more anxiety to the already-established stress.
If this sounds like you, do not worry. You will soon discover nine top traveling tips to help ease your anxiety and stress before booking your next flight.
- Flying with Toddlers – 9 Top Travel Tips
- How can I save Money Travelling with kids?
- Should I get a Seat for my Toddler on a Plane?
- Choose Direct Flights or Extended Layovers
- Airport Bathrooms are Essential
- Can you Board the Plane Early with a Toddler?
- Do airports have strollers to borrow?
- Gate Check Bag Stroller
- How do I keep my toddler’s ears from popping on a plane?
- How can I get my toddler to relax on a plane?
How can I save Money Travelling with kids?
Planning months in advance is ideal but not always possible. When traveling with toddlers, unexpected costs may occur during a trip, so saving money on the flight is the first step to having plenty to spend until the return home.
Some airlines offer discounted tickets for advanced purchases, the number of seats reserved, one-way travel, round-trip travel, or unique destinations featured and promoted at any given time.
If you are a frequent flyer, you may already be signed up for your preferred airline travel program. Most times, these programs will award flight points for air miles traveled and the number of flights in a quarter or year, turn dollars spent into airline points, or even attach to specific credit cards for general-purpose spending calculated into airline points.
When enough points accumulate, they can be redeemed for discount tickets, including travel packages, airline spending money, or even cover the entire expense of airline tickets.
Another option to save money on tickets is to use travel websites known for their deals. Most travel sites such as Expedia, Travelocity, CheapOAir, and Kayak offer travel bundles too.
Bundles can include round-trip airfare, hotel stays, rental cars, and occasionally event or attraction discounts in select areas.
Not all airlines will partner with these websites, so it is best to compare them to find the best price for the airline you want to fly with and verify they serve the travel region.
Should I get a Seat for my Toddler on a Plane?
It may sound backward since the goal is to save money, and children under two are permitted to remain in a parent’s lap for free, but the truth is that toddlers are active and will not want to sit still the entire flight.
Purchasing a separate seat for your child will allow them to move around more, be safely buckled in should an event occur, free your arms for other things, and enable the family to spread out more for longer flights.
Choose Direct Flights or Extended Layovers
Getting a toddler to understand what a quick turnover means is like teaching a fish to fly. Depending on the length of the flight, a direct ticket with no layovers will minimize the number of plane changes, seat moves, gate anxieties, time change adjustments, and potentially lost luggage.
If a direct flight is unavailable, choose a flight with an extended layover that allows time to relax, walk around, enjoy the local scenery, eat a meal, and use the restroom before rushing to a connecting flight.
Either of these options will be beneficial to maintain your toddler’s temper and energy. Also, early morning departures are handled better than night flights and are usually less crowded.
Airport Bathrooms are Essential
Just like going on a road trip, take advantage of using a restroom before traveling, even if you don’t think you need to.
Airplane bathrooms are known to be small and awkward. Use larger facilities on the ground before boarding to prepare for take-off.
Whether in diapers, pull-ups, or potty-trained, it is a good idea to double up on diapers and pull-ups for extra protection against leaks or accidents that end in wet clothing.
Can you Board the Plane Early with a Toddler?
Although pre-boarding requires extra time on the airplane, the spare time can be well-spent by quickly locating your seats, explaining the airplane rules to your toddler, and storing items in the overhead bin.
Non-aisle seats and FAA-approved child safety restraints are safer for children when flying; ask a flight attendant for help if a seat has not yet been prepared with a child harness system.
Do airports have strollers to borrow?
Larger airports can be confusing, and finding the correct airline gate can feel like a maze. Rather than carrying your toddler or being required to walk at a much slower pace not to lose them, there are airport strollers and carts that can be rented to help get from point A to point B.
Gate Check Bag Stroller
Ask for a gate check tag if you choose to bring your stroller. Place the tag on the item, use it as needed throughout the airport, and check it in with the other gate check items before boarding the plane.
How do I keep my toddler’s ears from popping on a plane?
While planes are engineered to maintain cabin pressure, the elevation climbs and descents can still be painful. Most children, including toddlers, will have sensitive ears.
Sucking and chewing generally ease this pain. Bottles, teething soothers, pacifiers, and EarPlanes are excellent tools to have in your carry-on.
How can I get my toddler to relax on a plane?
Not all airplanes will have onboard movies or child-appropriate shows lined up. It is up to you to distract, entertain, and comfort your toddler.
Smartphones and devices will work in airplane mode. Your child will be entertained if everything is already downloaded and does not require Wi-Fi access to view.
Pack some headphones and pre-load your device with child-friendly content of their favorite shows, movies, songs, games, and books.
Their favorite toy or stuffed animal and a small blanket will keep them comforted while in flight. A notebook or coloring book and a small box of crayons can be used for coloring when the tray table is folded down.
They can be packed neatly in a carry-on bag with their cups, bottles, FAA-approved snacks, soothers, extra diapers, a change of clothes, cleaning cloths, and personal antibacterial wipes.
Once everything has been planned, booked, and reserved, the final tip is to enjoy your time with your toddler.
There will always be someone who has a comment or a judging look, but you have taken steps to create the best traveling experience for you, your toddler, your family, your friends, and all the other passengers.
If your child starts to cry or want attention, remember everything will be ok, and the chances are rare you will ever see any of those other people again.