As babies turn into toddlers they begin to develop a mind of their own!. This can be both a good thing AND a bad thing, and makes this the trickiest age for flying. Toddlers (age 1) are active, mobile and difficult to reason with. They’re starting to get too big to be contained on a lap, but they don’t get their own seat yet. It’s not impossible to fly at this age, but it is important to go in with realistic expectations and a bag full of distractions!
Kacela’s first trans-Pacific flight was Toronto to Paris at 18 months old. This was definitely the most difficult trip we’ve ever done! The good news, it’s been getting easier ever since.
Read on to find out what to pack when flying with a toddler.</h4<
What To Pack In The Diaper Bag
There’s always SO MUCH stuff to carry when going anywhere with babies or toddlers! For starters, you’ll want a fantastic (yet functional) diaper bag for all the random paraphernalia required, and the extra stuff you’ll need when you’re stuck on a plane for (potentially) hours.
I tend to like a shoulder bag because it’s easier to grab something out of while I’m walking (or running behind a toddler chasing her around the airport!). I’ve always been a bit impartial to the JuJuBe bags. They’re just SOOO pretty and I don’t feel like I’m carrying around a diaper bag!
If you’re a bit more practical but still don’t want to “look” like you’re carrying a diaper bag, opt for a backpack instead of a shoulder bag. They’re far easier to carry when you’re running after a toddler in the airport, but access to what’s inside requires taking the bag off (the major con for me!). HapTim makes a great travel backpack diaper bag with tons of pockets for stuffing random things you’ll need on the plane!
As far as diapering goes, a toddler really doesn’t require anything different for the plane compared to going out at home. Figure out how many diapers your toddler would normally use during the amount of time it takes to get from your house to your final destination. Then, pack twice as many as you’d normally need!
You’ll want a BIG package of wipes. These can be used for everything from cleaning your little one’s bum, to wiping up spills and washing hands after a snack.
My favourite change pads are the Kushies change pads. They’re super compact and clean easily in the washing machine. I’ve used these to change my kids on the floor in the airport, the seat beside me on the airplane, even my lap if there were no other options.
Diaper Disposal Bag
No one likes a stinky diaper in the bathroom on an airplane! These little diaper disposal bags are perfect for containing the mess and the small. Pop the diaper in the bag, tie up the end, and toss it in the trash. No one will ever know it’s there (they won’t smell it at least!)
Always, ALWAYS bring a change of clothes for your little one. You might even want to bring a set of clothes AND a sleeper if you’re taking a long-haul flight. I also recommend bringing an extra shirt for yourself. You just never know where bodily fluids might end up, and it’s nice to have a change for yourself if needed.
I love squish’ems. So did my girls! They can be a bit messy when your toddler is learning how to squish out enough to eat without over-doing it. It’s just applesauce and is easy to clean up. You can buy little spoons for the ends, but the kids can never figure out how to do this themselves!! You’re allowed to bring them on the plane if you have a child under 2yo (which, if you’re reading this post, I’m going to assume you do!).
I also like Gerber yoghurt snacks or cheerios packed in a Munchkin Snack Catcher. Your toddler will be able to feed herself, which also provides entertainment as well as food! The best combination!
I always like to have liquid on the plane for my kids. They can take liquids through security until they’re 2, so take advantage of it! I usually put water in a sippy cup because it’s so important to drink water when traveling. We’re not a big juice family, but juice would work too. Make sure you bring a cup with a great lid that doesn’t spill. I always used our Safe Sippy for the plane. It has a stopper that makes it completely leak-proof, a straw and a sipper. The straw works great for saving those ears on take-off and landing.
How To Transport Your Toddler
You really have two options here, a stroller or a baby carrier. Both have their pros and cons, and honestly on most trips I’d end up bringing both!
A little umbrella stroller is easy to maneuver, can be carried with one hand if needed, easily folds up and tucks out of the way. You can go all out with a Pockit Lightweight stroller, or stick with something super cheap so that if it gets wrecked it doesn’t matter. Gate check it and you have it right until you board the plane, and pick it up right as you walk off.
If I HAD to pick between a stroller and a baby carrier, I’d choose the baby carrier. I find them super handy both on the plane and always useful at the final destination.
The most comfortable carriers for a toddler is the ErgoBaby Omni 360. You can wear your toddler facing in (ideal for when they fall asleep on the plane!), facing forwards (so they can see where you’re going through the airport), or on your back (the most comfortable for walking long distances).
What To Pack In Your Toddler’s Bag
I think it’s important at ANY AGE for my little one to learn to be responsible for something. My girls started carrying their own “backpacks” just after they turned a year old, and it was one of the best travel habits we’ve developed.
The Little Life Backpacks are my all-time favourites, and I was really sad when my girls outgrew theirs. They come in a ton of cute designs like a seahorse and a shark! They’re the perfect size for toddlers, and fit a surprising amount of stuff. They also have a chest strap and “leash” for busy airports or runaway children.
A few crayons and a small colouring book can provide a surprising amount of entertainment for toddlers. Add a few sheets of stickers to the mix and you’re buying yourself at least 10min of easy time (hopefully more!).
Some restaurants give kids little boxes of 4 crayons while waiting for their meal. I take these home and put them aside for flying. They’re the perfect size!
Always pack your little one’s lovey or special comfort item. It’s even better if you can have a back up one for traveling (just incase it gets lost!).
A good pair of little headphones give you the peace of mind that your toddler’s ears are safe while watching the onboard entertainment, a movie on your tablet, or playing games on a cell phone. Some people swear by CozyPhones headband headphones for their kids. I haven’t used them but I can see why toddlers would like them!
A Board Book (or two!)
It’s always great to bring a new (or borrowed) book on a flight. The novelty of the new pictures tends to keep toddlers engaged for just a little bit longer. I often will pick up a small board book (or two) from the dollar store and tuck it in the carry-on. It then will then live in the day pack during our travels. My all-time favourite was an alphabet book that had “Fox” for the letter “X”. Gotta love a good dollar store book!
You might also want to check out more great travel must haves for babies and toddlers!
What else do you bring to help keep your toddler distracted while flying? Share in the comments below!
Check out my Tips for Flying with Toddlers for tricks to use while you’re on the plane.
And PIN ME for later so you always know what you need on the plane!