Hey there The Memoirs of Megan readers! I’m so happy to be here on Megan’s blog today! My name is Ariel and I blog over at Dreams To Do. Since Megan is on vacation right now I thought I’d share some of my tips on flying with a toddler…
Back in January 2011 when my daughter was just 18 months old, we took a wonderful family vacay to Hawaii (you can check out our awesome pics HERE). Leading up to the trip I was SO excited, but equally as nervous about the flight. Five+ hours trapped on a plane with a wiggly toddler did NOT sound like fun! However, thanks to my careful planning and packing skills, the flights were a breeze (ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but they were definitely not as bad as I imagined).
Here are my top tips/suggestions for flying with a toddler:
- Go shopping before your trip and stock up on new toys/books/games for your little one. You don’t have to spend a lot! I hit up the dollar bins at Target for things like: little coloring books, a slinky, and a light up wand toy. Basically, just little items that will peak your kiddo’s interest when they get bored/fidgety – stuff that is brand new and exciting for them!
- Cheerios + colorful pipe cleaners = genius activity/snack combo! I don’t remember where I got this idea, but basically your toddler can practice hand/eye coordination while stringing cheerios onto the pipe cleaners. This packs down super small and is a GREAT on plane activity.
- Speaking of snacks… bring a TON! Food is the ultimate distraction when a toddler gets bored/fussy. We brought crackers, dried fruit, applesauce (a little messy), and the ultimate life saver… Dum Dums! Seriously, pack a stash of little lolly pops for when all else fails. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
- Pack for your child, not yourself. All I brought on the flights for myself was my wallet, chap stick, and one magazine (which didn’t even get looked at). Your #1 priority on the plane will be keeping your kiddo happy. Besides, you probably won’t have much time for yourself, so don’t waste precious packing space.
- Carry on a backpack. Backpacks allow you to go hands free when in a busy airport and stow easily under the seat in front of you. You don’t want to have to risk sticking a rolling suitcase in the over head compartment and not being able to get to it when your toddler is having a meltdown in your lap.
- Don’t forget your toddler’s favorite things! Does your toddler take a pacifier? Have a special blankie? Don’t forget them! And if you have back-ups, pack those in your checked luggage.
- Don’t expect your toddler to sleep on the plane. Yes, there is a very good chance that your little one will sleep at some point during a long flight, but don’t plan on it! If possible, plan your trips around nap times to avoid major meltdowns if your kiddo doesn’t sleep. On our way to Hawaii we flew at night and Leila fell asleep right away – it was awesome! But on the way back, no such luck. We had our work cut out for us.
- Book your seats near the back of the plane. It is so worth it to be as close to the bathrooms as possible. Also, we noticed that there were a lot of other families with kids sitting near the back of the planes (again, probably for the bathrooms) which was nice – when fussing ensued, we didn’t feel as guilty because the people around us were supportive.
- Other carry on essentials for the little one: a ton of wipes (because messes happen and it sucks being sticky with soda when you’re trapped on a plane with the fasten seat belt sign on) and a change of clothes/jammies to put them in if you’re flying at night.