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5 essential items to take on board when flying with a toddler

Flying with a toddler can seem like an insurmountable challenge — after all, a simple trip to the store is hard enough! As experienced flyers, we have travelled all over the world (with kids in tow) and have a few tips up our sleeves for travelling with toddlers.

We recommend you bring along the following items …

5 essential items to take on board when flying with a toddler

1. Entertainment options

Flying (particularly long haul) is boring enough for adults let alone energetic children. As such, bringing along a range of entertainment options is key.

They should require very little space, and be relatively quiet, and could include:

  • Movies/cartoons on a tablet (if the plane doesn’t have seatback TV).
  • Colouring books
  • Stickers
  • A book for you to read together.

Ideally you should hand them over one at a time — as the previous activity becomes less appealing. This can help prevent your child tearing through them too quickly.

2. Something for your child to suck on!

The first time your ears pop can be an uncomfortable experience — particularly for young kids who have narrower ear canals, and may not understand what is happening.

Whilst a sucking or chewing motion helps them pop, the handy lollies your airline may offer aren’t necessarily age-appropriate. Alternative options include:

  • A dummy
  • A teething ring*
  • Breast or bottle feeding during descent (although your child will need to be upright)*
  • Yawning frequently (trying to trigger your child yawning)
  • Ensuring they stay awake during take-off and landing (we swallow less while asleep)
  • Giving your toddler an age and weight appropriate dose of paracetamol or ibuprofen half an hour before takeoff (and landing if a long haul flight)

* TSA liquid limits don’t apply to food for baby food, bottled breast milk, or teething rings.

3. Things to munch on and drink

Make sure you bring a variety of food and drinks for your toddler. Don’t worry about spoiling their appetites — this is as much about keeping them occupied as it is about nourishment. While babies generally need only breast milk or formula, toddlers need something more. Consider bringing along some of the following items:

  • Granola bars or cereal bars
  • Fruit snacks/crisps — get the pouch kind to easily ration
  • Cereal — the individual pieces take more time to eat
  • Mini candy bars — probably a last resort, or reward for behaving well
  • Crackers can come in small, pre-packaged serving sizes
  • Small packets of crisps

4. Pack light, but smart

Minimising what you bring onto the plane makes travelling easier, but make sure you pack your carry-on bag to be prepared for the worst (delays and/or lost luggage). Essential items should include:

  • Toiletries for everyone
  • Extra clean outfits for everyone — multiple outfits for infants.
  • More snacks! — even if you have a bunch in your diaper bag.
  • Their favourite blanket or ‘lovey’ (if they haven’t packed it themselves)

5. A tired toddler

If you have a kid that can fall asleep anywhere, bringing them onboard already tired is the way to go.

Playing at home beforehand, wandering around the airport, or scheduling an evening flight are all easy ways to ensure your child is tired before setting foot on the plane.


This blog post is sponsored by Skyscanner

Still feeling overwhelmed? Vist the Skyscanner website for more useful tips for travelling with toddlers

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