Travelling on Flights with Babies & Toddlers

Traveling on an Airplane with a Baby or Toddler

Embarking on a journey with a baby or toddler can infuse your travel experience with excitement, yet it inevitably entails navigating through a distinct set of challenges. Prior to COVID we travelled often, taking our son at less than 1 year to Panama for 3 weeks! And Mexico & California often. What my husband and I found is that with meticulous planning and the application of strategic insights, you can seamlessly transform your voyage into a delightful and stress-free endeavor. Within this blog, I endeavor to equip you with an array of invaluable insights, innovative ideas, and pragmatic guidance to orchestrate a harmonious travel experience alongside your cherished little one. From meticulously selecting the most opportune moment to take flight, to curating a comprehensive checklist of indispensable items to accompany you on your expedition, and even to discerning the most engaging and stimulating toys for your child’s amusement during transit, rest assured, I have left no stone unturned in furnishing you with a comprehensive blueprint for your journey.

Essential Items to Bring On Your Flight

Packing the right items is crucial for a successful trip with your little one. Here are some essential items you should consider carrying on to the plane:

Diapers, Wipes, and Changing Pad
Ensure you pack enough diapers and wipes to last the entire duration of your journey, including delays. A portable changing pad will come in handy during diaper changes because we all know that almost every surface in an airport and airplane is gross.

Extra clothes and blankets
Accidents and spills are inevitable, so be prepared with extra clothes and blankets to keep your child comfortable throughout the trip. It’s wise to also include an extra shirt for yourself! Heaven forbid your child gets motion sick and your shirt catches the mess; you’ll be grateful to have a spare, clean shirt!

For most parents flying with a toddler, snacks will be your lifeline. Alternating between snacks and activities will keep the flight interesting for your child while avoiding any potential meltdowns due to hunger. If your child is old enough for snacks, pack some familiar favourites as well as some new and interesting snacks. Consider buying one of these snack organizers to bring on the plane with you: Bentgo Box, Snack Dispenser, or Clear Plastic Organizer Box. Your child will love picking and choosing their snacks during the flight!
Air Canada has some info on what you can bring here.

Formula or Breastmilk
Pack formula or breast milk and the necessary supplies needed to make a bottle. It’s always a good idea to carry more than you think you’ll need, considering any potential delays. YES you can bring breastmilk on the plane:)

Entertainment and comfort items
Bring a favourite toy, a cozy blanket, or a stuffed animal that your child loves. These items can provide a sense of familiarity and comfort in a new environment.

The Best Time of Day to Fly

Choosing the right time to fly can significantly impact your child’s comfort and mood during the journey. Generally, it is recommended to opt for flights during off-peak hours when airports and planes are less crowded. Early morning or late-night flights can be beneficial as they align with your child’s sleep schedule, increasing the chances of them sleeping through the journey. This can help reduce restlessness and tantrums. In my experience, early morning flights have worked best for my kids. We’ve tried late-night flights expecting our baby and toddler to sleep and ended up with overtired, grumpy kids. We’ve even tried flying in the middle of the day, during naptime, expecting our little ones to sleep on the flight, and also end up with overtired, wired, and cranky kids! Sometimes, we don’t have a choice of the optimal time to fly because of flight cost or lack of available options, and we have to just do our best with what we have!

What to Buy at the Airport or Your Destination and Not Pack

To save space in your luggage and minimize stress, consider buying certain items at the airport or at your destination instead of packing them. These items may include:

Diapers and wipes: Many airports have convenience stores or baby care centers that sell essential baby supplies. You can buy diapers, wipes, and other necessities upon arrival at your destination to save space in your suitcase.

Baby food and snacks: If you’re concerned about carrying a large quantity of baby food or snacks, consider purchasing them at the airport after the security checkpoint. Look for options that are easy to pack and meet your child’s dietary needs. Keep in mind that airport snacks are typically pricey!

Best Toys for In-Flight Entertainment

Keeping your child entertained during the flight is vital for a pleasant and fun travel experience. Here are some of the best toys for in-flight entertainment:

Portable Electronic Devices
Tablets or smartphones loaded with age-appropriate apps, videos, or games can be lifesavers during long flights. Make sure to download content in advance and bring child-friendly headphones to minimize noise disturbance to other passengers. This Amazon Fire Tablet is popular, reasonably priced, and practically indestructible!

Lightweight and durable board books with colourful pictures and textures can capture your child’s attention and keep them engaged. These Activity Sensory Books are great for babies! Leading up to your trip, read this book to help your child prepare for the flight!

Interactive Toys
Toys with buttons, lights, and sounds can provide interactive entertainment and help distract your child during the flight. If you are traveling with a baby, pack a few Easy to Hold Teething Toys to keep your baby occupied. Don’t forget the Baby Toy Safety Straps to keep toys and pacifiers from falling on the floor! Suction Cup Spinner Toys can also keep babies occupied during the flight. Stick them to the window or seat in front of you and prevent your baby from getting bored and cranky.

Squigz Suction Cup Toys
These are perfect for toddlers! They can stick them all over the seat in front of them, the tray, or the window to keep them occupied throughout the flight. Pro tip: Only put about 10-20 in a Ziploc bag instead of all 50, it will be much less to keep track of on the flight! Doodle Board Drawing Tablets are also helpful to keep your toddler engaged during the flight. They are lightweight, easy to travel with, and they take batteries so you don’t need to worry about finding a place to plug it in to charge.

Stickers and Colouring Books
Stickers and coloring books are great for creative play and can keep your child occupied for extended periods. Look for reusable sticker sets or travel-sized coloring books with washable markers. I recommend the Water Wow! Reusable Mess-Free Activity Pad. All you need is a little water and kids can make art projects without making a mess!

My toddler absolutely loves these Melissa & Doug Puffy Sticker Activity Books. They are easy to peel and restick to continue using throughout your trip. The perfect screen-free activity that will keep your toddler occupied and strengthen their fine motor skills! We’re also big fans of this Bluey Sticker Playset. Your child can take a break from watching shows on their tablet to play with this sticker book!

Flights with Toddlers & Babies can be FUN!

Navigating the skies with a baby or toddler in tow may initially appear as a big no-no task, yet with meticulous preparation and access to the appropriate resources, it holds the potential to manifest as a profoundly rewarding experience for both parent and child alike. Vital considerations include judiciously selecting the optimal time of day for air travel, diligently packing essential accouterments to cater to your child’s needs, contemplating the feasibility of acquiring certain necessities at the airport itself, and ensuring an assortment of captivating toys to captivate your little one’s attention throughout the journey. Adhering to these meticulously crafted recommendations serves as a blueprint for mitigating stress and sowing the seeds for cherished familial memories amidst your globetrotting escapades. Bon voyage, and may your voyage be imbued with joy and tranquility!

Real. Raw. Mother. Doula. Photographer. Katey Mac // Maternal Union.

– a real mom sharing experiences and serving fellow mothers –

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