two young children traveling in a car

If there’s one thing you can count on with toddlers, it’s that they can be a challenge to travel with! Between their short attention spans and inability to sit still for very long, traveling on a plane with a child between the ages of one and three can test the patience of any parent. Here are six tips for traveling with toddlers.

1. Book Early Morning Departures

Early morning departures are best when traveling with toddlers. They’re up early anyway, so it won’t be too tough to get them up and going. Plus, they are still young enough that they will nap once on the plane. Early morning flights are also much less likely to face delays at takeoff and landing, and they’re less crowded. As the day moves on, the chance for delays increases.

2. Dress in Layers

Even if you’re not going somewhere with a drastic climate change, you still should be prepared for the fluctuating temperatures on the plane itself as you deal with in-flight heat or air conditioning. Dress your toddler in comfortable layers, and stay away from buttons and zippers that can slow down the bathroom process. Also, avoid shoes with laces and instead opt for slip-ons to avoid delays going through airport security.

3. Plan a Packing List

It’s easy to over-pack when flying with a toddler, so create a packing list before you leave. Highlight items that will need to be packed last minute, such as a comfort item or a charging tablet. As you pack, check off each item.

Here’s a good jumping off point for your list:

  • Comfort item: Pack a lovey, favorite stuffed animal, or pacifier for mid-flight snuggles and comfort. Be sure to bring enough binkies in case one falls on the floor.
  • Sanitizer, wipes, diapers, and pull-ups: A good rule of thumb is one diaper per hour of travel.
  • Electronic devices: Now’s not the time to enforce strict screen time rules. Make sure all devices are charged and ready to go. Pre-load the tablet or phone with their favorite shows and movies in case they have to watch offline.
  • Kid-size headphones: Pack comfortable headphones so they can enjoy their favorite show uninterrupted. If you have two toddlers who want to watch at once, bring a splitter so they can each have their own set.
  • Art supplies: Take along some art supplies such as a small box of crayons, blank paper, a coloring book, and stickers to keep them entertained for a bit.
  • Plastic bags: It’s inevitable that you will need an extra bag for wet clothes, dirty diapers, and trash. Bring a few plastic grocery bags.
  • Water bottle: Bring an empty, clean, leak-proof water bottle that you can fill once you get through security.
  • Healthy mess-free snacks: Generally, you will want to avoid sugar, especially before takeoff, so pack a mix of healthy, fun, mess-free snacks, such as dry cereal, pretzels, crackers, granola bars, and string cheese.

4. Avoid Aisle Seats

Do yourself and everyone else on board a favor and choose a middle or window seat for your toddler. Aisle seats can pose a danger for toddlers and, more importantly, will give them a bit too much freedom of movement. Their hands and feet can get bumped by people continually walking up and down the aisle, and the beverage cart with hot coffee could be within their reach. You also don’t want them running up and down the aisles when they get a little stir crazy.

5. Beware of Germs

Do your part to avoid travel-related illness by making sure your toddler’s hands are clean throughout the flight. Wipe down hands and tray tables with sanitizing wipes, and don’t send your kid to the bathroom without shoes on, no matter how comfortable they may be. Things tend to jostle around in flight, and that’s not always water on the floor.

6. Choose a Kid-Friendly Airline

Even more so than parents, airlines want to keep toddlers happy and occupied. That’s why many carriers offer a variety of kid perks to entertain the littlest of travelers, from their favorite TV shows to kid-approved snacks and headphones. Check with the agent at the gate before boarding to see if you can board early with your young children. This will give you more time to settle in. Also, look for airports that have family lounges so your kids can burn off steam before boarding, suggests Parents.

Book a Tour of Country Home Learning Center Today

While we don’t fly with your children, we do take them on field trips and outings to broaden their view of the world. Come see what we do in our toddler curriculum today and book a tour.