Traveling with one child is stressful enough. Traveling with a baby and a toddler can feel downright crazy. Even though it seems like a lot of work at the time, exploring together and creating new memories is always worth it.
After 5 flights with Lawson and Sybil, I’d like to think we’ve learned a thing or two about traveling with a baby and toddler. These are my 10 tips for flying with a baby and toddler.
10 TIPS FOR FLYING WITH A BABY & TODDLER
- Figure out what time works best for your kids and their schedule. For us, it’s the morning. A 10am flight is the sweet spot. We don’t have to get them up earlier than normal and get the majority of flying time done before they get really cranky in the afternoon.
- Bring new or forgotten toys. Every 2 year old seems to go through a sticker phase. They are perfect for flights since they easily fit in your bag and can be put on trays, windows, seats, etc. Just remember to remove them before you get off the plane! If we have a flight coming up, we hide Lawson’s iPad a few days beforehand. I always try to add a new show to keep him occupied.
- Request bulk head seats whenever possible. You have to store your carryon luggage in the overhead bin, but not having to worry about the kids kicking the seats in front of us is worth it. They have a little more room to roam, which we’ve found beneficial.
- Food is the ultimate distraction. The best kind is anything that comes in multiples. Think fruit cups, pretzels. If it takes them longer to eat it, the better.
- Take yourself out of the equation. Eat before you board the flight or better yet before you get to the airport. You’ll have your hands full taking care of little ones.
- Wear the baby in a carrier or sling and put the toddler in a stroller. We take an umbrella stroller since it is lighter than our double or jogging stroller. It folds up easily and is checked at the gate.
- Rent car seats through the rental car agency. If we’re going on a longer trip, we’ll bring our car seats. For shorter trips, it’s easier to rent them at our destination. Rental car agencies typically have a maximum for renting car seats. It varies from agency to agency and it can pay to shop around.
- Every so often I bring a book or magazine. I think maybe this is the trip they nap at the same time. I’ve never read them. Do yourself a favor and leave them at home.
- Stay calm. You will have tense moments. Your baby will cry and your toddler may kick and scream. They will miss naps. Try to stay calm. If you’re anxious and frustrated, your little ones will be too. We once took a 6 hour red-eye from Hawaii when Lawson was 14 months old. We thought he’d sleep the entire flight. Instead we were the ones with a crying baby while everyone else was trying to sleep. We didn’t make any friends on that flight, but we did survive.
- Invest in TSA Pre-Check. The security lines are generally shorter and you don’t have to go through extra steps like taking off your shoes. These can make a huge difference when you’re trying to wrangle two kids through security too.
Tomorrow I’m tackling my first solo flight with Lawson and Sybil. I’m slightly terrified by the thought. I take comfort in knowing many parents have done it before me and somehow everyone survives.
Do you have any tips for flying with a baby and toddler? I have a feeling I’m going to need all the help I can get!