Making Flying with a Toddler a Breeze: Tips, Tricks, and Must-Have Items

Published on 11 June 2024 at 13:29

Traveling with a toddler can seem daunting, especially when it involves flying. The thought of keeping a little one entertained and comfortable for hours in a confined space can be overwhelming. However, with the right preparation and a few savvy tips, flying with a toddler can be a smooth and enjoyable experience. As someone who loves to travel, I, Dounya Irrgang, have compiled a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the skies with your tiny traveler.


Preparation is Key

1. Choose the Right Flight

Whenever possible, opt for direct flights. Reducing the number of take-offs and landings can significantly minimize stress for both you and your toddler. Additionally, consider booking flights that coincide with your child’s nap or bedtime. A sleeping toddler is the best kind of travel companion!

2. Book the Right Seats

If your budget allows, booking an extra seat for your toddler can provide much-needed space and comfort. Airlines often offer discounted rates for children under two years old. If that's not feasible, aim for seats with extra legroom or those located near the front of the plane for quicker boarding and deplaning.

3. Plan Your Packing

When it comes to packing, think light and smart. Make a checklist of essentials and stick to it. Remember, you'll be navigating through the airport and plane with your toddler in tow, so less is definitely more.


Must-Have Items for a Smooth Flight

1. Snacks Galore

Pack a variety of your toddler’s favorite snacks. Airplane food can be unpredictable, and having familiar foods on hand can prevent meltdowns. Opt for non-perishable, easy-to-eat options like crackers, fruit pouches, and granola bars. Don’t forget a spill-proof cup for drinks.

2. Entertainment Kit

Keep your toddler entertained with a mix of new and favorite toys. Consider items like:

  • Coloring books and crayons: Compact and mess-free.
  • Stickers and sticker books: Great for imaginative play.
  • Interactive tablets or smartphones: Load them with educational games and videos (don't forget the headphones).
  • Books: Choose lightweight board books or paperbacks.

3. Comfort Items

Comfort is crucial for a happy toddler. Bring along their favorite blanket, stuffed animal, or pacifier. These familiar items can provide a sense of security in an unfamiliar environment.

4. Change of Clothes

Accidents happen, especially in confined spaces like airplanes. Pack at least one change of clothes for your toddler, and consider bringing an extra shirt for yourself in case of spills or messes.

5. Essential Toiletries

In addition to diapers and wipes, bring along travel-sized toiletries like hand sanitizer, lotion, and baby-safe disinfecting wipes. These are handy for cleaning surfaces and keeping your toddler’s hands clean.

Tips for a Stress-Free Journey

1. Arrive Early

Give yourself plenty of time to navigate the airport. Arriving early reduces stress and gives you extra time for unexpected delays or toddler-related incidents.

2. Use a Baby Carrier

A baby carrier can be a lifesaver when going through security and boarding the plane. It keeps your hands free and your toddler close. Once on board, you can switch to a more comfortable seating arrangement.

3. Gate Check Your Stroller

If you need a stroller in the airport, take advantage of gate checking. This allows you to use the stroller until you board the plane and retrieve it as soon as you land.

4. Take Advantage of Family Boarding

Most airlines offer family boarding, which allows you to board early and get settled before the rush. This extra time can make a big difference in getting organized and calming any pre-flight jitters.

5. Keep Your Toddler Hydrated

Cabin air can be very dry, so make sure your toddler drinks plenty of fluids. This can also help alleviate ear pressure during takeoff and landing.

6. Plan for Takeoff and Landing

The change in air pressure during takeoff and landing can be uncomfortable for toddlers. Encourage them to drink from a bottle or sippy cup, or use a pacifier. The swallowing motion helps equalize ear pressure.

7. Stay Calm and Positive

Your toddler will take cues from you, so staying calm and positive can help them feel secure. Take deep breaths, smile, and keep a relaxed demeanor, even if things don’t go exactly as planned.

8. Be Prepared for Anything

Flexibility is your best friend when traveling with a toddler. Expect the unexpected and be ready to adapt as needed. Whether it's a sudden diaper change or a nap that doesn’t go as planned, staying flexible can help you handle any situation with grace.


Flying with a toddler doesn’t have to be a stressful ordeal. With a little preparation and the right mindset, it can be a fun and memorable part of your travel experience. By following these tips and packing the essential items, you can make your journey smoother and more enjoyable for both you and your little one. Happy travels from me, Dounya Irrgang, and may your flights be as smooth as possible!


Dounya Irrgang


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