We've learned and grown from our personal experience with flying with a toddler.
Our first flight was five and a half hours long from Atlanta to Portland to see my folks in Vancouver. We thought we had prepared, but boy were we wrong...
Within two and half hours of the flight, our daughter was screaming to get out of the plane. We had to walk up and down the aisles for the remaining flight, embarrassed as could be.
Did I mention the flight was 100 percent booked?
Imagine standing in front of the entire flight trying to get a little girl to stop crying nonstop for the remainder of the flight.
We had a parent tell us, as we were walking to baggage claim, that we did the best we could, and not worry about the nightmare that just occurred.
From that point on we learned from that situation, and prepared differently going forward.
Here's what we learned:
Under the Age of 2
Tip: Typically, if your child is under the age of two, they can ride in your lap for free. For long flights, I don't recommend this. Bite the bullet, and pay for the seat.
Tip: Airline attendants can pack your stroller on-board with the coats.
Tip: Make sure you pack a cooler for food and teething toys.
Tip: Chilled chamomile tea helps with teething by calming the nerves.
Tip: Bring your car seat, so the baby can sleep comfortably.
Change of clothes
Plenty of snacks and bottles.
Extra zip-lock bag for soiled clothes.
Milk, juice, and formula for a baby are exempt from the three-ounce liquid rule.
Tip: Make sure your baby chews on a pacifier or toddler chew gum during takeoff to help reduce pressure in the ears.
Ages 2 to 5
Tip: We also recommend informing the airline ahead of time about any allergies. Typically they'll not serve nuts if there is a tree nut or peanut allergy on board.
Tip: If you're traveling out of the country, you should get travel insurance as your primary health insurance doesn't cover you or your dependents medically while abroad.
Tip: You should book for a row in the back of the plane to minimize attention. Usually, there are restrooms in the back, and your toddler can stretch.
Tip: Always book a direct flight as getting back onto a plane can add to the frustration or better yet, humiliation.
Tip: Some would say to pre-board before everyone else onto the plane. I disagree. The least amount of time on the plane the better.
Tip: Some airports have play areas for kids to get energy out prior to the flight.
Tip: Try Natural Calm for Kids, which is a magnesium supplement that may relax the child. There are several brands that provide the supplement.
Tip: If your child still takes a nap, flights during this time may help them sleep. If you can do a late-night flight, that may help too.
Book a window seat so the child can lean against the wall to sleep.
Tip: Download the GoGo Air app before your flight. Not all flights have entertainment provided. This app applies to most if not all airlines. Just in case the plane doesn't have TV on the back of the seat, you can always access movies, shows, and games on your phone on this app for free.
Tip: Finally, if you have a toddler, ask a flight attendant if they have wings to pin on their clothes to make them the child feel like they're part of the flight crew.
Follow these tips, and you should be good to go on your
next flight to adventure!
About the Author:
Shawn Plummer is an insurance expert training advisors for over 10 years, a parent of a feisty little girl, and blogs for The Traveling Parent and The Annuity Expert.