In my opinion this is the trickiest age for flying. Toddlers (age 1) are active, mobile and difficult to reason with. They are 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! These are my tips for what to pack when flying with toddlers, to help make it as easy as possible.

Essentials for Flying with Toddlers1. Stroller

what to pack when flying with toddlers

Calais pushing Kacela around in our free umbrella stroller. It’s been around the world and it’s still rolling!

A little umbrella stroller is easy to maneuver, can be carried with one hand if needed, and is cheap enough 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.

2. Diapers, Wipes, Change Pad & Disposal Bags

As far as diapering goes, a toddler really doesn’t require anything different from an infant or baby. Pack twice as many diapers as you’ll need, a BIG package of wipes, and find my favourite change pad and disposal bags on my Infant and Baby posts.

3. Snacks

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. I also like Gerber yoghurt snacks packed in a Munchkin Snack Catcher.Essentials for flying with toddlers

4. Sippy Cup

I always like to have liquid on the plane for my kids. They can have liquid until they are 2, so take advantage of it! I usually put water in a sippy cup because it is important to drink water when traveling. We’re not a big juice family, but juice would work too. Make sure you bring one that has a lid, or 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.

Essentials for flying with toddlers

5. Little Life Backpack

These are one of my all-time favourites, and I’m really sad that we are outgrowing ours. They are 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. See “What to Pack in a Toddler’s Carry-on” to see what we would pack in ours.

what to pack when flying with toddlers

6. Entertainment/Toys

A few crayons and a small colouring book can provide a great amount of entertainment for toddlers. 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 are the perfect size! Add a few sheets of stickers to the mix and you’re buying yourself at least another 10min of easy time.

7. Headphones

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.

Essentials for flying with toddlers


8. Pack a board book or two

For some reason I always like 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!

Essentials Toddlers

Check out my Tips for Flying with Toddlers for tricks to use while you’re on the plane.