Feeling Daunted: Travelling with a Toddler

In November, we are travelling to Melbourne for a big family wedding and I can’t wait. My Dad’s side of the family live there, as well as my amazing Nanny and needless to say, we don’t get to see them as often as I’d like. Although I feel strongly that it has made our immediate family close knit (something I love), I also feel slightly envious of friends who have aunties, uncles and cousins in their life on their doorstep.

So in the past few months, as we gear up to our big trip and the flights get booked, I am suddenly staring face to face with the reality of the situation. 22 hours on a plane with an 18 month old toddler. Yikes. All that excitement gets momentarily drained and I feel completely daunted. I mean, I can hardly stand half an hour of Emma wriggling in a cafe as I finish my latte with dogged determination. What is 22 hours going to look like? Putting my practical hat on, I tell myself this is happening, we are going and all we need is a little bit of practice.

Close up of airport departure board

In 2 days, we are jetting off Ireland. Perfect, we thought, a nice 1 hour flight to ease us in and get Emma a little more used to air travel. Now, at first I was feeling easy, breezy about a little short haul flight…surely an hour will fly by? But as the holiday creeps closer and closer, I’m getting that same daunted feeling. When I mentioned this to my parents who flew over to the UK from Hong Kong in 1986 with 4 kids aged between 3 months and 8 years old, my Dad told me that no-one really cares if your baby cries on a flight. See, I know deep down that he’s right – but I know that in the past I always rolled my eyes at children screaming on flights and I suppose I just don’t want to us to be that family, with the toddler you can’t control.

So to put a positive spin on my nervousness, I’ve been doing a little preparation for the flight….

-The first step of the plan is obviously to load the iPad with Bing and Teletubbies, Emma’s favourite shows. I reckon this could buy us up to 15 minutes and both these shows have a bit of a calming effect on her and make her giggle so definitely one to take along.

-Then I’ll bring her favourite soft toys and figurines. Emma is getting really into cuddly toys and I find it so sweet to see a really nurturing side to her come out. So I’ll think we’ll take a few of her favourites along so she can play with them in the seat. I actually tested this out when we travelled to London by train and it worked really well.

-A bit of an odd one, but a friend of mine mentioned that if you get a handful of little things from Poundland and wrap them up in tissue paper, this will keep little hands occupied for a while too. I’ve never tried this but I thought it would be worth a shot. Tissue paper is always a winner with Emma and keeps her entertained and happy!

-Without a doubt, we mustn’t forget the faithful Organix snacks and Ella’s Kitchen Mango Baby Brekkie. These are day-to-day lifesavers and will hopefully keep her hunger at bay until we reach the other side. Thankfully we’re travelling in the morning so fingers crossed the old hunger won’t come knocking…

-Accept that it may not go according to plan and try not to beat myself up about it. I’m really going to try hard to stick to that one. Because chances are Emma won’t have had her nap, so she’ll be over-tired and things may not go the way we hoped. But we’ll still get to Ireland and it’ll be the start of a lovely family holiday.

Do you have any tips for flying with toddlers? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

My Random Musings
Pink Pear Bear
My Petit Canard
My Random Musings
Pink Pear Bear


  1. August 15, 2016 / 6:42 am

    Haha, I have a post about this very thing coming out tomorrow but you’ll have successfully flown by then You’ll be absolutely fine – she’s great on the train and there’s lots to see and do to occupy her. The poundland / tissue paper idea is great. Happy flying xx

  2. Meagan
    August 15, 2016 / 9:30 am

    Good luck Bridgie and Emma!! Can’t wait to see you in November

  3. August 15, 2016 / 9:52 am

    Wow – 22 hours! I braved a 7-hour flight with the Popple a few months ago and it felt LONG. That being said, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had thought it would be. Yes, she cried, but not that much and lots of passengers came up to us afterwards and said how good she’d been. The biggest problem was keeping her entertained – having the iPad and lots of snacks is a good idea. Good luck! #bigpinklink
    Squirmy Popple recently posted…Little girls aren’t princessesMy Profile

  4. August 15, 2016 / 12:02 pm

    Arghhhhhh! No, sorry, I was being mean 😉 Good luck, you will be fine. I always try and break down the journey into 15 minutes slots and make sure I have something different for each slot but that would be a lot of activities in your case. However, you could rotate them. Stickers is a popular one for but prepared to leave the plane covered in them! Great tips 🙂
    Emma recently posted…Thrifty and Delicious Broccoli and Sausage Pasta RecipeMy Profile

  5. August 15, 2016 / 12:17 pm

    I would be feeling the same as you. I’m yet to take my nearly 3 year old son on a plane but will more than likely do so next year. I think having heard from friends, iPad is a godsend on a flight. I really hope it goes well, am sure it will do. #anythinggoes
    Rach recently posted…Celebrity Big Brother Ain’t What It Once WasMy Profile

  6. August 15, 2016 / 2:58 pm

    It is really daunting stuck on a long haul flight. Try taking something for Emma to Suck or a nice drink fot take off and landing so her ears equalise #bigpinklink

  7. August 15, 2016 / 7:57 pm

    Goodness, I wish you the best of luck! That is the exact reason why we go on holiday tor Center Parcs which is about 40 mins down the road. I’m not brave enough! X

  8. August 15, 2016 / 10:06 pm

    Mine are now older but I put my recently gathered knowledge of this issue into a post only a few weeks ago! Here’s the link if you’d like to take a look http://wp.me/p7bL00-aa BTW I would never normally put a link in a comment, hope you don’t think I’m being rude. Best of luck and I’m sure you are worrying unnecessarily xx #bigpinklink
    Sonia recently posted…Our Family Holiday in Alcudia, MallorcaMy Profile

  9. August 16, 2016 / 9:48 pm

    It sounds like you’ve got a really solid plan in place. I’m sure the journey will go smoothly, especially with iPad stocked and snacks in tow 🙂 We have yet to fly with our two but we’ve always found distractions like toys (but not all at once) very helpful on a long journey. Thank you for linking to #bigpinklink and good luck although I’m sure you won’t need it xx
    Hannah G, The ‘Ordinary’ Mum recently posted…Big Pink Link 15th AugustMy Profile

  10. August 19, 2016 / 7:24 pm

    Ooh the very best of luck. You will be fine. My Nan once flew to oz with my two year old cousin who was a really busy and difficult baby and they were surprised at just how ok it was. Load up the iPad, have lots of food….and be prepared to walk up down the aisle. Have an amazing time with your family xx #bigpinklink
    Tammymum recently posted…Butlins – Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.My Profile

  11. August 20, 2016 / 3:47 pm

    It sounds like you’ve got it all covered – the toys etc you mentioned should easily cover an hour. And if not, and she does cry, people will just have to live with it 😉
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂
    Random Musings recently posted…Blogger Spotlight: Nia Patten LooksMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge