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Tips for flying with a toddler (for stress-free air travel)

Tips for flying with a toddler (for stress-free air travel)

Long flight with toddler

Are you flying with a toddler for your family vacation? Find here all the info, best tips and essential items for traveling with toddlers on a plane.

Family travel can be stressful, especially with young children.

Disrupted routines and the confusion of travel can result in unhappy kids. This is especially true for babies and toddlers who may miss their naps or just the comforts of home.

But what if I told you that flying with a toddler doesn’t have to be a nightmare?

In this post I’m sharing tips and essential items for traveling with toddlers to make your next family vacation easier.


Tips for flying with a toddler


1. Travel During Times when your Child Sleeps

I know it is a big concern for parents and we keep ask ourselves; will my toddler sleep on plane?

Airplane travel with toddler is an exciting adventure for kids so they tend to be awake longer and shift their nap times.

Traveling late at night with a toddler may not sound like the ideal start to a family vacation but it can make for smoother travel if the timing is right.

Traveling a couple hours after bedtime gives you the chance to walk around the airport until your child falls asleep and then board the plane with the child sleeping. Hopefully they’ll continue to sleep through the night!

If you are travelling with toddlers on long haul flights it is likely he will sleep for hours, making it easier for parents to have a rest too.


2. Safety matters

Most airlines have a safety policy for paying seats from kids above 2 years old.

If you are flying with a toddler on your lap they will be required to stay on your lap at least for taking off and landing, using the extension seat belt provided by the airline. Flying crew are there to help and will explain how to use it and assist on anything else you may need.

However, unless the flight is fully booked, it is possible that your toddlers can sit on a free seat beside which is better for your comfort and that of your child too.

In that case, you want to have a safety harness for the rest of the trip.

This FAA certified harness is specifically designed for aviation travel and takes less than 1 minute to install. You can adjust to fit almost every size seat. Read specifications for age for child, weight and height.


3. Have your toddler plane activities and toys at hand

If it is not possible to travel during the night, your best bet will make sure they are entertained for the duration of your flight.

There are times when the best you can do is walk up and down the airplane with your child but if you have turbulence you might be required to be seat for long times.

That is when activities come in handy. Don’t rely solely on flight entertainment here. Most games available on your in-flight entertainment systems will be too advanced for toddlers. And there is only so many films a toddler can watch.

Some air companies have little goody bags for kids with coloring book and a small set of pencils. I have found that these are not hugely entertaining, if they are available at all!

Instead, bring your own entretainment. Only you know what your kid loves most, which games they like playing, what activities grab their attention.

I have a long list of activities to keep kids entertained during travel, these are for kids of all ages, but also include tips for traveling with a toddler.

A good tip to keep in mind it is that you have limited space, both as storage in your bag and for a place to play. So take the small packaged, non-messy games and activities to the plane.

Some of the best toys for toddler on plane

If you are looking for best airplane toys for toddlers, here are some ideas:

Washable markers


Reusable Sticker Pads


Fine motor toys


Puzzle to go


Travel activity bag


LEGO Creative Suitcase Kit (213 Piece)


Art backpack


Felt Stickers


Magnetic play toy



If you are travelling with older kids who are learning how to read and write, the hangman is always a fun game to practice words.


You don’t have to worry about losing bit and pieces of your kids’s toys on the airplane for. This geniusfoldable tray is the perfect accessory to take on the plane with you.


4. Cuddles and Comfort

Young children, especially toddlers, thrive on routine and comfort.

Travelling with a toddler on a plane is normally the opposite of everything they know.

You may not be able to stick to their routine while traveling but it does not hurt to bring along the comforts of home.

Thisairplane inflatable bed for kids is an accessory that will give your child more space to sleep, so they won;t take more of your own space either. Check with your airline if they allow its use beforehand.


Comfort is just as important for the child as it will be for the parent so make use of travel accessories when you can! If you are traveling with a baby this infant airplane baby seat will help you ensure safety and help you keep closer to your baby without sacrificing comfort.


Bring soft blankets, stuffed animals, and a few toys for quiet play while traveling. These toddler travel pillow for airplane are so cute and comfortable, they will sure love it.

They will also enjoy watching a familiar movie on a tablet while wearing headphones. Bring your own, ear covering headphones from home.

Airlines normally only give the small earphones, standard adult sizes. Small kids have a really hard time keeping it in their ears. So bring along a headphone that is safe for kids.


5. Talking about Plane Travel

Older toddlers can understand short sequences of events in a story so having a quick chat about the day of travel might calm their fears.

Explain how your family will board the plane, what happens during take-off, and what your child will be doing while the plane is in flight.

This is also a good time to answer any questions your kids might have about traveling, trying to include them and walk them through all the steps towards the final destination.


6. Reward Good Behavior

Giving kids incentives for good behavior can work well in situations where they know fun awaits.

Plan a special reward like an ice cream cone or a favorite activity to be given at the destination for good behavior while traveling.

You may also want to have a couple of dollar tree “gifts” to give them every time they have followed instructions or after a process in the trip. These gifts will also be handy to keep them entertained during the flight.

Remind your child that the reward is waiting if they start to have a melt-down in flight.

This will give them a chance to turn off the tears or bad attitude and listen as you help them through their feelings of stress.


7. Airplane snacks for toddlers

A hungry toddler isn’t a happy toddler so be sure to pack snacks that they can enjoy while traveling.

Sure you can pack all the healthy items in a lunch box but little treats work just as well, like it is a special occasion.

Having a lollipop during the flight can help ease pressure in the ears during take-off, and prepackaged snacks are a simple distraction for busy kids.

Traveling by plane with toddlers doesn’t have to be stressful if you’re prepared and flexible.

Keep in mind that little kids can’t always comprehend what we as adults do while flying to a new destination. Try to give them as many comforts of home as possible and stay patient. Soon your family will be pros at air travel!

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Tips for Traveling by Plane with Toddlers