5 Tips for Flying with a Toddler

This is a collaborative post with Tots to Travel

When I first heard the news that our family would be flying long haul to Australia, my heart sunk. The thought of travelling with an 18 month old toddler terrified me – a feeling that made me feel ever so slightly sick until the plane left Gatwick a few weeks ago. However, I needn’t have been so worried…all our flights went well and with minimum fuss. So I’m here to tell you that flying with a toddler is possible but there are a few things you can do to make your life that tiny bit easier along the way!

Flying to Australia - image of father and daughter against blue sky

Consider buying your toddler a seat

This was a last minute decision on our part, but the best one we made for the trip. Our daughter had her own seat, so we were able to fit an FAA approved car seat and she was much more at ease and comfortable. I couldn’t recommend this enough, and a big improvement on a previous short flight we took, when she was on our lap. On less busy flights, it may also be possible to use empty seats so the little one has their own space to relax and can even sleep lying down.

Bring a stroller or sling to use while you board the plane

As my first time travelling long haul with my daughter, I hadn’t taken into account the time you are often standing and waiting. Especially when flights get busy, you can be waiting in queues for 10-15 minutes before you can be seated, not to mention the long walk to the gate to board the plane. Our stroller could be stored in the overhead luggage compartment, which was ideal as I could use it until the very last moment. It also helped to keep my daughter calm, as she is very independent and often doesn’t like to be held for long periods of time.

Flying to Australia - image of daughter in stroller at airport

A bottle or dummy for take off or landing will save the day

We took 4 flights in total on our trip and by the last flight, our daughter was completely at ease with take off and landing. However, having a bottle of milk or a dummy to hand, was such a life saver. It meant that she could cope with the odd feeling of her ears popping and helped her forget about it for a little while. I was also really grateful that the cabin crew were so helpful at providing us milk throughout the flight.

Remember to bring entertainment!

On our first flight, I took everything with us bar the kitchen sink but quickly realised that we didn’t need to bring so many things. However, it’s always good to bring a few books, cuddly toys and little toys such as figurines to play with. Often our daughter didn’t want these toys as the novelty of watching the onboard TV and films was at an all time high – but it was a peace of mind to have them to hand.

Flying to Australia - image of daughter asleep in car seat

An overnight stop-over to break up the long journey

It depends on your own circumstances, but an overnight stop-over can be a great thing for toddlers. It breaks up the travel and makes it a little more manageable, as well as helping with the jet lag when you arrive. For us, a 7-8 hour flight went well but getting back onto the plane after a short space of time was a little more difficult.

We thoroughly enjoyed our family holiday and found it was the little things that made it a bit easier for toddlers to travel. What seemed like a huge mountain to climb, turned out to be easier than we had ever imagined. Happy holidaying with your families too!

For more information on baby and toddler friendly holidays, as well as lots of travel advice, visit Tots to Travel‘s website.

37 Comments

  1. December 12, 2016 / 9:14 pm

    Best travel tip I ever read, and used, was to pack a clear make up bag with lots of teeny toys – you know the free magazine / party bag tat that kids love. Ours kept our kids (and the rest of the kids on the holiday) entertained ALL WEEK! (Courtesy of New Mummy Blog).
    #dreamteam

  2. December 13, 2016 / 6:49 am

    I love that you recommend a car seat for the plane! We buckle up ourselves in the plane so it always bothered me that kids could just sit in arms. Then when the news showed the kids who were tossed during turbulence I really got nervous for unbuckled Littles on an airplane. Plus it’s just more comfortable for everyone. #DreamTeam

  3. December 13, 2016 / 8:30 am

    I’m so glad you had a lovely holiday – great tips! Alison x #DreamTeam
    Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…NakedMy Profile

  4. December 13, 2016 / 9:21 am

    Some great tips. Very jel of your holiday. I’m taking my son on a plane for the first time next year but he’ll be coming up to 4 then. #dreamteam

  5. December 13, 2016 / 9:33 am

    Great tips. I love that you can now use an approved car seat on the planes, I’m not sure that was a thing when my two were little. Glad it all went well #DreamTeam x

  6. December 13, 2016 / 11:37 am

    Wow I commend you for taking such a long haul flight with a little one, we haven’t attempted it yet with all four of our children! Great tips though, I am sure that you may just have saved a parents sanity with sharing these! #dreamteam
    five little doves recently posted…Arts and crafts with toucanBoxMy Profile

  7. December 13, 2016 / 12:25 pm

    Oh I remember those days of flying with littles. We always brought a stroller to the airport; even if they wanted to walk around (which I highly encouraged them do before getting on the plane!) it was great for piling on the carry- on luggage and keeping a hand free. My boys loved watching movies and we’d pack special snacks; either something to suck on like a sippy cup or chewy fruit snacks for taking off and landing. Great tips!
    Mother of 3 recently posted…My Favorite Christmas MemoryMy Profile

  8. December 13, 2016 / 1:10 pm

    Great tips! We’re big on taking snacks and activities on board flights and 20 minutes seem to be my attention span until I get bored and want to move on. We’re doing a 11 hrs flight next year! eeeeek! #DreamTeam x
    Baby Isabella recently posted…Christmas at Weymouth SEALIFE Adventure ParkMy Profile

  9. December 13, 2016 / 1:42 pm

    Wow well done. Some great advice here. We haven’t braved planes with our little ones yet but it doesn’t sound half as daunting now! #DreamTeam
    Lucy At Home recently posted…Lucy At Home Does THE CHRISTMAS TAGMy Profile

  10. December 13, 2016 / 2:26 pm

    Wow, we’ve only ever done a 4.5hr flight with ours as the thought of long haul scares me! Great tips and reassurance.
    #DreamTeam

  11. December 13, 2016 / 3:21 pm

    We haven’t really flown much at all with our two and I never even thought about taking a car seat on the plane – but that sounds like such a great idea and must have made her so much more comfortable! Brilliant tips. #DreamTeam x

  12. December 13, 2016 / 3:31 pm

    You are so brave to do long haul. We have just flown back a four and half hour flight with a four year old and 18 month old and found it fairly easy besides take off and landing when he couldn’t be free. I think the best thing is to be prepared and have snacks x
    Michelle recently posted…Loving myself and happiness that I deserveMy Profile

  13. December 13, 2016 / 4:12 pm

    Great tips lovely. Love these kind of posts of advice from those who have been through it – just so useful. Glad it went well for you x #DreamTeam

  14. December 13, 2016 / 5:51 pm

    These are fantastic tips and invaluable or anyone venturing on a longhaul flight with a little person. Advice I will definitely remember when the time comes. Thank you for sharing. #DreamTeam

  15. December 13, 2016 / 6:11 pm

    Great tips and glad you had such a great holiday!My two have always been ok flying but i can remember a couple with a toddler on a flight that was so distressed,my heart so went out for her.We lent her our ipad with peppa pig on it and it worked a treat!#DreamTeam

  16. December 14, 2016 / 9:19 am

    Great tips. I hope you had a wonderful holiday down under. I fly to Denmark a lot with Caspian, so much he’s seems to be in a routine where he often falls a sleep on the plane, though it’s only a two hour flight #DreamTeam

    Nadia – Scandimummy x

  17. December 14, 2016 / 9:47 am

    My kids are now 7 and 8 and we haven’t traveled by plane yet! one of the reasons was my fear of flying with toddlers and how they would handle it…If I would have read your tips 5 years back, we would probably have at least 5 flights behind us! Now they are so big, they’ll be flying on their own soon!!;) #DreamTeam

  18. December 14, 2016 / 11:51 am

    Really great tips hun. I agree with you if you can afford it, it is a great idea to buy a seat for a large toddler! #dreamteam

  19. December 14, 2016 / 11:08 pm

    I’m so glad the journey wasn’t too tough for you guys! I’m dreading our first flight (don’t even know when that will be) but I’m hoping it will be similar to our car journeys where Ben sleeps within minutes of being strapped in!
    love the first picture by the way. the view is truly breathtaking! #dreamteam

  20. December 15, 2016 / 12:16 pm

    It’s always much much worse in your head than in reality. I am glad to hear you made it and had a great time! #dreamteam

  21. December 15, 2016 / 4:53 pm

    We’ve just cancelled our plans to fly back to England from Arizona to visit family. It’s a 12hr flight and the twins will be 18months. I just can’t face it!! #DreamTeam
    Twin Pickle recently posted…Toys for Twin Toddlers or Young SiblingsMy Profile

  22. December 15, 2016 / 7:27 pm

    Awesome tips:) I always use dummy or bottle for take off or landing
    #DreamTeam
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  23. December 15, 2016 / 10:42 pm

    Great tips, especially the stroller. The first time we travelled with a baby we just took a carrier because our pushchair was huge and would have had to go in the hold and we were worried it would get damaged or lost. But then we ended up being delayed in an airport for 12 hours overnight with no shops open, nowhere to sit or get get food/drink etc. Trying to carry a tired and restless baby for 12 hours straight was NOT fun. Needless to say, next time we bought a cheap one from mothercare for £30 and could push it right up to the door of the plane. Thankfully all our experiences on the planes themselves have been great with both of our children. Glad you had a great time x
    #DreamTeam
    Alana – Burnished Chaos recently posted…Words To Live By #9: Family Comes FirstMy Profile

  24. December 16, 2016 / 9:29 pm

    Having flown to Australia myself I can vouch for the stop off. We chose Singapore and took in some of the sights too. #DreamTeam
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  25. December 18, 2016 / 9:11 am

    Great travel tips, so glad the journey went well for you and you had a nice holiday. We are going to Italy in April, I’m very nervous about taking a 6month old and 3 year old on a plane, we went to Spain when Leo was nearly 2 and it was fine but the thought of travelling with 2 terrifies me!!xx #dreamteam

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