Airplane Travel with A Toddler

This summer we traveled to Maine for a visit with my parents. Unlike last years trip which was pretty easy, traveling with an active 2-year for six hours was intense. Here are a few things I learned that will hopefully make your trip a little less stressful than mine:

Ipad– Make sure that you’ve got your iPad loaded with lots of different shows. Try a few new shows that your tot has never seen before, as well as a few tried and true favorites. Even though Emory loves Daniel Tiger on a daily basis, Elmo’s World, Finding Dory and Dora the Explorer were the winners. We also purchased a Speck iPad Case  that was easy to hold and kept the iPad from getting broken, when dropped multiple times from dangerous toddler hands. Headphones were a major fail, so we just turned the volume down really low and the hum of the plane actually masked the sound of Elmo’s voice.


Snacks– I’m not a huge proponent of snacking all day, but when traveling with an active toddler anything goes. We ate snacks from the moment we sat in our seats, until the moment we landed 5 hours later. Even though I brought snacks, the airline has a children’s snack box filled with a mixture of junk/healthy snacks(cookies, raisins, apple sauce), many of which I never allow Emory to have, and so of course this snack box became a huge hit. We also used a Zoli Snack Dispenser to help us keep some of the snacks in more of an organized fashion. You can also take pouches through security in a clear plastic bag( I took an entire gallon bag full), which is a lifesaver because they are still a staple easy on the go snack! Here are a few examples of  other snacks that helped keep our sanity, and our toddler entertained, even though so many made a huge mess:

  • Rasins
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Berries
  • Cheese sticks
  • Inner Snap Peas
  • Apple Juice boxes
  • Popcorn
  • Grapes
  • Seaweed

Window Seat– The window seat actually helped us to achieve a moments of peace, since Emory loved looking out the window at the clouds and lights. It also kept us away from  the aisle, which she constantly wanted to run down. We were able to set-up a little station in the corner for Em and she actually spent most of the flight standing up either watching her iPad, eating, or reading books.


Reinforcements– If you are traveling solo, make friends with others around you and the flight attendants. They will help you when you need to take a trip to the restroom or will provide a welcomed playmate. We made friends with all of the neighbors and it was a collaborative effort to keep Em happy and entertained with minimal screaming . On the way back, my mom travel with us. We took over an entire row to keep her entertained, enabling me to get a few breaks.


Books– Books are always a main staple for any type of travel. For airplane travel, you need books that are light-weight and don’t take too much space in your bag. We’re pretty obsessed with Daniel Tiger books  at the moment, so we brought along a book of 5-minute stories that lasted the entire flight. We also brought Just One You, and What a Wonderful World which are a couple of my toddlers favorite stories.

Travel Light- If you can swing it, try to share a suitcase with your toddler. It’s amazing how much gear we actually travel with and all of the coordination it takes (cart, gate check etc). We brought our amazing Mountain Buggy Nano travel stroller that was perfect for wheeling through the airport and putting through the security. For our next trip, I plan on taking a page from my friends toddler playbook and purchasing the Costco Travel Carseat since it’s super light-weight, a great price point and easy to install.


Patience– This is the final and most important tip. Your patience will be constantly tested, as you try to wrangle a toddler from not kicking the seat or running up and down the aisles. Take deep breaths and just know that the flight will end and tomorrow is another day. I also suggest having a glass of wine once you get to your final destination!

Good luck! What are some other amazing travel tips for mamas with active toddlers?

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. 

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