Tips For Flying With A Toddler


Travelling with a toddler on a plane is the trickiest stage. My eldest (born in 2011) had completed over 40 flights before she turned four and my youngest is attempting to catch up! Flying with a baby was definitely easier in comparison (the younger the better.). Once they start to crawl and toddle –  life gets a bit more complicated. My youngest decided to learn to crawl just a week before we flew on another trip to Australia from the UK. Perfect timing- not!!!

I can’t promise every flight will go well, but I can definitely pass on my tips and tricks for flying with children which have worked for this stage – which haven’t put us off long haul flights!

Flying With A Toddler Tips – Toddler Travel Tips That Really Help

  • If flying long haul – aim for a night flight. Even if you have to put them down for a little nap before you head to the airport- it’s well worth doing. Every time we have done this, we have had a good solid 8 hours sleep from the kids and I’ve even managed to watch a movie! It can take a bit of time to get them settled to sleep- but these sleep tips when flying may help you too.


  • Check in early and leave plenty of time for security. Prepare your child and explain that teddy will have to through the xray machine but they will have him back.


  • Choose your seat carefully. I always recommend having a look at seat guru and checking out the airline seat map too. If you have a newly potty trained toddler- you may prefer to be near the loo.


  • Wear them out pre-boarding. Make use of the airport soft-play, if they have one. Here is a list of airport soft play I’ve compiled for all over the world. Please let me know if I need to edit!
sairport soft play at capetown airport

Airport soft play at Cape Town Intl airport

  • Again, if flying long haul and it’s a day flight, consider boarding last with your toddler and have your partner board a bit earlier with all the travel gear you have. There is really no point in keeping a toddler restained on a plane longer than necessary! With a short-haul flight- it is often a bit easier just to get them on and settled, and this can be the case for a very late flight too.


  • Bring a pillow or something like a Travel Snug. They really do help to settle little ones. Use the airplane blanket to make a cover over the seats to shield from the cabin lights too.


Tips For Flying With A Toddler, Travel Snug

  • Pack ALL the snacks! Don’t underestimate how much they will snack on the flight! Bring what you think and double it! Raisins, bananas, apples, breadsticks, mini sausages are all good. Avoid sugary sweets as all that pent-up energy will have nowhere to go. We do save a lolly for the descent though- just in case the change in pressure irritates their ears.


  • Order a child meal. If your toddler is over 2, then you can order a child meal on most airlines ( long haul flights). These are less spicey and generally more appealing to kids. There are a few airlines which offer toddler meals too. More details are on my ordering baby and child meals post.
Ordering baby child meals, emirates airline. airline meals

Emirates child meal


  • Pack some toys just for the flight. Packing it in a small backpack that they can manage helps too. We choose a couple of favourite toys and some new ones. Here are some suggestions for the best travel toys for kids.


  • Pack spare changes of clothes in ziplock bags. This makes it so much easier to grab if you any accidents happen. Always have a good stash of wet wipes too. Have essential medicine packed also. For more packing tips, have a look at my packing checklist.


  • Stretch your legs and walk around the plane if need be. The larger A380’s have a lot of space!




Let me know how your flight goes and if you have any more tips that have worked for you?


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Tips For Flying With A Toddler | Flying with a toddler is the trickiest stage I've found. My eldest (born in 2011) had completed over 40 flights before she four and my youngest is attempting to catch up! #familytravel #tmom, #jetsetkids #flyingwithkids








1 Comment

  1. such good ideas. Yes, we travelled from the UK to australia when my son was 2 1/2, he was excited about his own seat and tv, but we had no idea you could order them there own meals, so he spent most of the time eating fruit and bread rolls from our meals as he did not like anything else, big lesson learned there!! our on board bags were filled with water, snacks, puzzles, games and toys for him to keep him as occupied as possible! we also told him when we switched planes that is when we would get him into his pjs and that is his bed time, this worked well, he knew what was expected of him well in advance. he slept for a good 6 hours which let us get a bit of sleep also. the only time we really had any issues is when the plane landed and everyone is waiting to get off, he did not like having to just sit there and wait, there was loud screaming from him, which he did really well through the whole flight, so a little tanty at the end, was forgiven!

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