I’m pretty sure we are still in the process of moving today. That’s what I was told when I scheduled this post. So, you know…here’s some practical tips for airplane travel with a toddler.
Anyway, moving to MI means that we are going to be flying less often with Ellen. When we were in MN, we did enough flying back and forth with her that I am willing to call myself an expert, and you should be willing to be leery of that.
So, what are my pro tips?
© Soffee / Dollar Photo Club
Practical Tips for Airplane Travel with a Toddler
Before the Airport
-We talked about airplanes and what was going to happen.
-I showed her pictures in books, and since we lived so close to the airport, I would point out planes when we saw them in the sky.
Packing Levels of Distraction
-We brought a familiar or comforting toy, book and snack.
-We brought an unfamiliar, new, exciting toy, book and snack.
-We brought the iPad with music and movies for the ultimate back up plan.
-Bring juice/water/whatever she drinks from a straw. Something to suck on usually helps the ear popping.
-And start with your level one distractions first. Build up to the big guns (our big gun is the iPad with her). We use our big guns when all else fails. If we pull our trump first, nothing else stands a chance.
Make It Easy on Yourself
-I was super anxious when Ellen and I flew alone, so I told the check-in guy. He gave me a spacious seat with leg room so we could spread out. He also gave my mom a pass to get through security and walk us to the gate. It was nice just having someone there to keep me calm the whole way up to the plane.
-If you can, ditch the stroller and use a carrier. be prepared to have your hands checked for bomb residue. I don’t know. they just do that to moms with carriers…
-Pack as light as possible. If you don’t NEEEEEED it, forget it. They are squirmy enough without you having to juggle luggage.
-Check your bags if you can swing it.
-Bring only one carry on (travel light); Stuff diaper things, distractions and your crap in there too.
Just in Case
-Bring your pain reliever of choice just in case! (under 3 oz of course)
-Change her diaper as close to boarding as you can. Avoid diaper changes unless it is sooooper necessary on a plane. Way too stressful and not convenient!
Take Off & Landing
-If you’re nursing, do so at take off. The sucking will help your kiddo with ear popping. Not nursing? Try a bottle, juice box or gum if they are old enough.
-Since landing is a bit bumpy, I put Ellen on my lap and give her a horsey ride right before we land. She doesn’t even notice the bump when we hit the ground.
-This is true for the entire flight, but especially take off and landing: put on a big smile and pretend you don’t hate flying with a fiery passion (is that just me?). If they see you not making a big deal out of it, it’s not a big deal.
Dealing with Other People
-If she cries, don’t feel guilty about giving in to her this one time. Sometimes it’s just less stressful for a mom to do whatever it takes to keep her kid quiet. I know you’re a good mom in every other situation and you don’t give in to her tantrums, but on a plane, you’re not really in a bargaining situation. It’s not worth the hassle. Just give in to her if you really need to. It will make your life easier.
-People are going to give you sideways glances and be upset that you brought a baby on a plane. Tough luck, people. She’s a person who needs to get from point a to point b just like you. Just pray for them and smile.
Any tips I forgot? Lemmeno your practical tips for airplane travel with a toddler.
The lovely one says
Great advice! My children (ages 3 and 7) have not been on a plan yet, but I’m trying to convince my husband that we need to go on some kind of trip this summer!
Ooh! I hope you go somewhere wonderful!
Liz Madeley says
These are some great tips. I knew that sucking on a boiled sweet can help with ear popping but obviously that’s no good for the under threes, so I’ll remember the straw point.
If you have any other good tips, be sure to let me know :)
Mandi @ Catholic Newlywed says
Thanks for the tips, I’m going to need them this week when we take our first trip with Lucia since she was 8 months (it was so easy then, now she’s walking, talking, and has an attitude!)
Yes, when they have their own opinions, things get a little sticky! Maybe she can help you pack the distraction bag?
My SIL and I always joke that we want out girls to be strong, independent thinkers – just not around us ;)
As a non-mom who travels a lot, know that not all sideways looks are anger. Some of those are sympathy, envy, encouragement and even just admiring your beautiful baby that you are doing such a great job with. I love travelling on planes with babies. They are usually so much fun to watch.
I think that is a really good point, Kathy. Thank you for pointing that out. Sometimes when us moms are insecure about something, it is easy to think everyone is judging us, when really, they might just be encouraging us like you said. Oftentimes I will see a mom struggling with her children when I am out and about on my own. I try to give a sympathetic look if I can, and I sure hope she isn’t thinking I’m judging her. Been there, done that, you know? :) Thanks for your comment!