Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tips for traveling with a toddler on an airplane


Every parent wants to be able to travel to exotic destinations with their child to show them the world - but many times it is not so easy. Traveling with a child, no matter how small or big, means you'll be on alert for the entire ride. You'll have more baggage, and more stress since you're on the child's schedule. And if the child has a tough flight, so will you! If the child has jet lag, so will you! As a parent, air travel can be extremely stressful because you have no idea how it will go. 

This Summer, we got a chance to travel with Maya for a long stretch of time (12-14 hours) on our trip to Venice, Italy. This was our first big trip in a whole year, since our previous trip to Italy when Maya was 11 months old (which was an absolute nightmare). This year she was much easier to travel with because she is using the toilet, had her own seat, eating our food, and is addicted to cartoons (thank god!!!) Plus, she was more aware of everything and speaks kiddie English now!

Here are some helpful tips to make your air travel with toddlers stress free:


iPad
What would parents do without it? Load a variety of cartoons and games on it to keep your little one occupied. My daughter was thrilled to finally be able to watch a Dora marathon for 6 hours! (Note: bring an extra battery charger)

Extra diapers and wipes
Wipes are handy for everything - washing hands on the go, wiping mouths, cleaning spills - bring extra. Also bring extra of diapers, since you usually can't get them at the gate. Better to be safe than sorry!

Plastic/paper bag
On one of the flights, Maya vomited after eating too many french fries. Good thing I had packed a small all-purpose bag! 

Snacks at the gate
One of the things we did was purchased snacks she likes at a convenience store in front of the gate, so that way we just brought it on the flight in a plastic bag and didn't have to lug it through security.

A few small books
I am always searching for travel size books, and the Ant & Bee series' is perfect for that. They are miniature but the stories are quite long. If you do story time before bed, it is a good bet.

Attachment item
Maya is very attached to her stuffed animals, so I made sure to bring two miniature sized animals for my bag (just in case one got lost). I also put another in my suitcase so she had something from home.


Concentration Toy
It is very difficult to get toddlers to concentrate - they totally have ADD! I like to pack a small complicated toy that they can work hard at figuring out - it bides you time when you need it! I love these Melissa & Doug Lace & Trace Pets. (Note: Don't bring too many toys!)

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Sticker book
If the concentration toy fails, you need a back up for those tricky take-off and landing times. I love sticker/coloring books from Usborne Publishing. I whip it out any time I need to keep my daughter occupied for 45 minutes, and a break from screen time.

A scarf/blanket
For overnight flights I like to bring a extra large cashmere shawl that can double as a scarf or a child's blanket. They are just so warm!

BUY THE SEAT
Usually flights will give your child under age 2 a free ticket if they sit on your lap. This is not a good idea, since there is literally no room beside you and the front seat. Airlines will sell you a separate seat for a reduced fare - and trust me, it is worth it!

Bring the stroller
Airports have A LOT of walking and long halls - which is great for when your child is awake and you can tire them out. But if they're sleeping, it is absolute torture for you to carry them as well as your bags. At toddler age, they are not exactly little anymore! Forget the baby carrier and bring the stroller! 30lbs + is way too much to carry...


So many parents avoid traveling with their children, but it really is worth a try - at least for adventure's sake! And the memories you bring back will be really fun, and so worth it!


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4 comments

  1. My advice for traveling with toddlers or infants on an airplane-
    Ask for a bulkhead seat. Lots more room to move around & you're less likely to disturb your fellow passengers with the frequent trips to the restroom that occur with a toddler. Plus more room for all the extra gear a child requires.

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    1. I find the bulkhead seats are usually reserved for infants under a certain weight so they can use the bassinet. But def in the bulkhead area and somewhere very close to the bathroom.

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  2. Ofcourse! With a baby carrier, your back's gonna hurt like mad. But isn't stroller a bit too heavy to carry around if the kid's awake and walking? Just a thought (no kids yet, so no experience. But I am bookmarking this for future :)

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    Replies
    1. It is....but usually if you travel with a stroller, the airlines will check it right at a gate. Or nowadays airports like Dubai have strollers available for all parents in case they need one, it's a great idea!

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