Super Smart Travel Hacks When Flying With Toddlers

Every mom with a toddler needs to have a few travel hacks in their back pocket. It’s essential for survival. 

Ok…maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but it’s partly true.

Traveling with toddlers can be a challenge. You want to enjoy your trip together, but there’s bound to be stress involved.

You have to think about what to pack not only for yourself but also for your toddler. Then there’s figuring out naps on-the-go. When you add flying on top of your travel worries, it’s completely normal to feel uneasy.

If you find yourself flying somewhere soon, try not to worry. Here are twelve easy travel hacks for moms flying with toddlers. Consider these smart tips so you can stress less and focus more on the good stuff on your trip.


How can I make my toddler fly easier?

Plan ahead. Give yourself plenty of time to research and book the airline flight that fits best with your family’s needs.

Research and Choose Kid-Friendly Airlines

You can start by looking into airlines that provide extra assistance to families with little ones. 

Look at the airline offerings.

What does their in-flight entertainment look like for young kids? Will there be movies to watch on board the flight? Do they have a fun activity for them?

You may also want to consider booking a direct flight depending on the length of your trip. 

Before choosing an airline, do a simple google search to see which ones are recommended most for families before buying your plane tickets.

Skip Shoes With Laces

If you’ve flown before, you know what getting through airport security is like. It can feel hectic.

You’ve got your lugguage, and then there’s several bins you have to fill with your laptop, Kibou, and your shoes too. All at the same time while trying to help your toddler.

Make it easy on yourself.

Plan for everyone to wear shoes you can easily slip on and off. Then you aren’t stuck with frantically tying everyone’s shoes (including yours) with a long line behind you.

Request a Bulkhead Seat

When booking your flight, you might have the option of requesting bulkhead seating. These seats typically provide extra legroom on the plane. 

This could be especially helpful when you have a car seat to carry on as well and a toddler that likes to move around. Having that little bit of extra space could save you. 

Look for these seats when booking your flight or check with the airline ahead of time to see what’s available.

Pre-Board the Flight Early

If you have the option, pre-board your flight as soon as you can. 

Most of the time families with babies and toddlers get to board the aircraft first. This allows you to set up your toddler’s car seat, get comfortable, and get all your things situated.

Make boarding the plane easier by being at the gate and ready to go when they start allowing passengers on.

Consider a Night Flight

If your toddler can fall asleep outside their own bed pretty well, you may want to think about booking a night flight. This way your little one can sleep through most of the journey.

But make sure you either take a nap before or you’re also a good sleeper on night flights too. It’s definitely your call (and won’t work for every parent and toddler). 

If you have a toddler that can sleep anywhere this may be a great option for a more quiet flight.

 little boy reaching into kibou on plane

Prep Your Kids About the Trip Beforehand

About a week prior to the trip, take some time to talk to them about what to expect (in toddler terms).

They don’t need the same run-down as you would give an adult. All the details aren’t necessary for them to know.

But if they’ve never flown before, it will be helpful to walk them through the process with security, waiting on your flight, and boarding the plane.

Be Prepared for Ear Pain

Toddlers are little humans and can feel uncomfortable pressure in their ears.

Making sure you have chewable snacks or having dum dum suckers on hand is a travel flying hack to remember.

Giving them something to suck on for extended periods of time can help with making sure their ears pop so they’re more comfortable in flight.

Enjoy Exploring the Airport In-Between Flights

If you have a connecting flight (and time allows), take advantage of the time for you and your toddlers to stretch your legs.

Pick a place to eat or see if there is a play area for kids.

Walking around the airport, you can usually find some unique art or check out one of the gift shops. You may even find a unique toy for your toddler to be entertained with on the plane.

How do I keep my 2-year-old entertained on a plane?

This can concern any parent flying with mostly strangers. No one wants to feel trapped with a screaming toddler. 

But you can ease your concerns by planning ahead and packing all the necessary things your toddler will like.

Abandon Screen Time Rules

You’re on vacation. It’s ok to let your toddler have more screen-time. Try not to stress over them looking at a screen more than usual.

Allowing them to watch movies or play games will help you keep your sanity. Just remember to charge devices and download options before boarding. This way you can avoid paying for wi-fi on the flight as well.


Bring Your Toddler’s Favorite Toys and Activities

You can’t forget their favorite (and smaller) items they love to keep them entertained throughout the flight.

Do they have a lovee they like to snuggle with? Have they forgotten about that favorite toy at the bottom of the toy box? Keep it simple, but pick things that give them comfort and better yet — entertain them quietly.

Let them have two of their favorite toys at the airport and then pack two other items to surprise them with when they get restless on the plane. They will be happy when they see something new, and it may save you when you’re in a pinch to keep them calmly distracted.

Use Noise-Canceling Headphones

Nobody on the flight wants to hear the Teletubbies singing. Your toddler may enjoy it, but everyone else will not.

Having your toddler’s headphones will definitely come in handy when they want to listen to all their favorite Netflix shows. You may even be able to squeeze in some reading or movie-watching of your own as well. 

But like all of your devices, make sure these are charged ahead of time too.

Pack Snacks and Drinks

If you have a toddler, you know it’s about impossible to go anywhere without their sippy cup and convenient snacks. 

Our Kibou is great for tucking away a baggie of goldfish crackers, granola bars, hand sanitizer, wipes, and more. You want to make sure to pack enough to keep your toddler hydrated and full throughout the flight.

 mom holding toddler on plane while standing in the aisle

At what age does it get easier to travel with a toddler?

Traveling with a toddler is tough. But when they start to show interest in the traveling process and enjoy fun events like boarding the plane, looking forward to the complimentary snacks, etc. you get the chance as a parent to witness the experience and enjoy it right along with them.

The truth is that babies can often be easier to travel with than toddlers. Once kids become more mobile, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep them entertained when traveling on a plane, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop traveling with them.

Like many things with a toddler, the more they are exposed to flying and have practice, the better equipped they become to adapt (and so do you).

How do I survive a plane with a toddler?

Pack the things for basic needs like diapers and wipes and remind yourself that you can do this.

Always Pack Extra Clothes and Diapers

This is a no-brainer for moms. Having a change of clothes with diapers and wipes on hand is a must-have.

If you need a packing checklist, check out our article on minimalist packing and how to travel light with your toddlers. It will be sure to give you some ideas for your upcoming trip.

And always when possible, try to sneak in a diaper change before you board. This may help you eliminate a change on the plane if it’s only a couple of hours.

Use a Toddler Carrier or Stroller

A toddler carrier or smaller stroller is absolutely worth it. Having a place for your toddler to rest gives you the added flexibility to carry your other luggage when they want to be held in your arms.

Having your hands free as much as possible will be needed when checking into your flight and moving through the airport. Once you’re at the gate, you can check your stroller before boarding and it will be helpful when you exit the plane. 


Stay Calm and Patient

Most importantly, try to stay calm and patient throughout your journey. 

Will your toddler have a meltdown? It’s absolutely possible. But try not to sweat it too much or worry about what hasn’t happened yet.

Yes, it’s so much easier said than done. But if you can go into the trip with more of an optimistic mindset, it will help.

Even if your toddler becomes fussy or cranky, remember, you’re not alone. Any parent raising a 2-year-old has been there and can relate.

Keep a Positive Mindset

Your kids feed off your energy. If you approach the trip from an anxious and nervous mindset, your kids will feel that and react accordingly.

One of the best perspectives you can keep is to stay positive.

Keeping a positive mindset will help you embrace everything you’ve done to prepare for the trip and help let go of outside things you can’t control like bad weather and delayed flights.

Is it worth traveling with a 2-year-old?

Absolutely! As mom’s ourselves, we fully get behind traveling with your toddlers. Of course it’s an experience that will have your occassional “crabby patty” and “hangry” moments with your little one, but it will be memories you’ll cherish forever. (Or at least you’ll have great stories to tell.)

These Travel Hacks with Toddlers Will Improve Your Flight

Keeping these twelve travel hacks in mind is sure to make for an easier and more enjoyable flight with your toddler. 

Of course you will have unexpected things happen. But hopefully, by preparing a little in advance and bringing along the most essential items, it will be a trip full of memories for years to come.


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