Thanks to all the time we spent going back and forth between the northeast and Florida last year, Nate had over 8 flights under his belt by the time he turned one. Since he was still in the baby stage, my goal was always to try and get him to sleep during the flight (it was hit or miss) and if he was awake I’d just try and keep him occupied with breastfeeding lol. Flying with Baby Nate was one thing, but Toddler Nate is a whole different ball game so I wanted to share our go-to in-flight gear + some toddler travel tips!
Snacks + Entertainment = Happy Toddler
1. Kid’s Headband Headphones | 2. Heavy Duty iPad Case | 3. Busy Board | 4. Wipeable Mats | 5. Travel Snack Tray | 6. Reusable Puffy Sticker Play Books | 7. Disposable Bibs | 8. Spill-Proof Tumbler | 9. Cotton Sweatshirt | 10. Kid’s Joggers | 11. High Top Sneakers | 12. Stroller Travel Bag | 13. Collapsable Stroller
We used all of this gear on our recent trips to Florida and the Bahamas! We got lucky with flights that lined up with his wake windows so I just made sure to have lots of things to keep him entertained (aka snacks, an iPad, books and toys.) I also included in my carry-on all the things we typically bring when we eat out at a restaurant– disposable bibs, a mat to put on the table + his water cup.
If your kiddo is under 2, consider buying them their own seat. Sure, if your flight isn’t full you could end up getting lucky and have an extra seat in your row, but that’s never guaranteed. I’ve flown with Nate as a lap infant and have bought him his own seat and definitely prefer the latter. Even if your kiddo ends up in your lap for most of the flight, it’s still nice to have space to spread out and put them down if needed. I typically always breastfeed Nate during landings and takeoff, so having the seat next to me empty is a game changer, not just for our comfort but privacy too.
How do you handle the car seat + stroller? This is what we do: we check the car seat as baggage right when we get to the airport and then we keep our stroller with us until boarding and check it at the gate. I’m almost certain that every airline is required to waive baggage fees for car seats and strollers so you can always bring these free of charge. When Nate was a little younger and we flew, there were a few times that I did bring his car seat on the flight for him to sit in (I had purchased him a ticket/his own seat.) If you’d prefer to do that, just make sure your car seat is FAA approved. We used the UPPABaby Mesa with no issues! In terms of stroller, we are big fans of the UPPABaby Vista. Yes, it’s a little heavy, but the quality is unmatched and it’s so easy to breakdown and fold up. Highly recommend getting the Vista travel case. We keep it with us as carry-on baggage folded up in the bottom stroller basket while we’re in the airport and then pack up the stroller once boarding begins. It has wheels and you can roll it right down to the gate agent.
Snacks, snacks and more snacks. Our last flight Nate literally snacked the entire time. I think he was honestly more entertained by the endless food than his iPad LOL. How cute is this spinning travel snack tray? I plan on packing this with all his favorite treats for our flight to the Bahamas. Other essentials: a wipeable mat that you can lay over the airplane tray, a travel cup for water/milk and disposable bibs. In terms of specific snacks– I packed Nate a bunch of squeezable pouches, crackers + some cut up fruit and cheese.
Screen time rules do not apply when traveling. While we don’t do screen time at home, flights are a different situation and completely fair game. I have a hard enough time as an adult not going stir crazy on a plane… Can you imagine how small kiddos must feel? On our last flight we prepped our iPad in advance with lots of Netflix downloads. I went for slower-paced series like Llama Llama, Trash Truck and Puffin Rock and avoided the overstimulating shows aka Cocomelon, Baby Bum, Gabby’s Dollhouse, etc. We also used these toddler headband headphones that have a volume-limiting feature to protect littles’ ears.
Save new toys + books for the flight. If you can, try and pack a few new activities that you can “gift” your kiddo on the flight. The last time we traveled these re-usable sticker books were a hit! I’ve already heard really good things about these poppers.
Try to book a morning flight/during your kiddos wake window. This way your kiddo will be well-rested so if a nap doesn’t happen– it’s not the end of the world. You’re also less likely to experience flight delays and issues at the airport. If a morning flight isn’t an option, then I’d opt for one that’s during a wake window (unless you’re confident your kiddo will sleep on the plane.)
Get to the airport early. Especially if you have a lot of baggage or don’t have TSA precheck. We all know that everything takes 2-3x as long with kids. Plan accordingly!