Toddler Air Travel

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

What’s awesome about traveling with a kid under 2? They fly for free and all of the bells and whistles that go with them are usually free to check. Double awesome. These are basically the only perks about flying with your toddler, unless they are seen and not heard (hahaha, people say stuff like this!). I’m probably being a little bit dramatic, it really wasn’t that terrible. It was far easier when Josiah was only 9 months old as opposed to 15 months old, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Our son is an active little guy, and as you all know, the airport is just a busy place. Josiah wants to walk around and people watch, but some areas are so people dense that this just wasn’t an option. He is also a big fan of walking ANYWHERE you don’t want him to actually walk. Josiah is pretty independent, he won’t even hold your hand unless he needs help getting down from somewhere.Him wanting to forge his own path through the airport, to anywhere other than our terminal ended in tantrums. Because who wants to be held when you can walk? Amidst one of these meltdowns another amazing momma was passing us in the opposite direction, and she said the most refreshing thing one parent could say to another, “I’m glad I’m not the only one.” PREACH! Her son threw a tantrum within seconds of the short exchange.

What to Carry on

Snacks, an array of snacks. We packed all of Josiah’s favorites: veggie sticks, bunny grahams, cheddar bunnies, and some handy puréed fruit pouches


Blanket. This helped because I was breastfeeding and don’t like to be cold, or I forget to wear a tank top underneath my shirt and I’m practically naked when breastfeeding which I do not enjoy in public. If you are cool with it, go on with your bad self!

Diapers and wipes, of course! A change of clothes for your child, or two. You will have to decide on how much. Our son poops once a day, and we don’t deal with exploding diapers very often, so one was a good number for us.

A few toys, only small ones and maybe the favorites. Josiah, like most kids, doesn’t really care about toys when there are other things to be played with that aren’t toys. We brought a few little things like cars and rings.

Reusable water bottles, Why? Who the heck wants to pay $7 for a bottle of water? Josiah had his cup, and we had ours.

Stroller/baby carrier/leash. Whatever you are using to get your kid through the airport, don’t forget to pack it. I recommend a stroller because it serves two purposes: 1. It carries your stuff, 2. It carries your child. You can check it, for free, at the gate. On the way to our destination, we used a baby backpack carrier, I do not recommend this. It’s better for going to places like the aquarium or the zoo.

What to Check

Pack n’ Play. We packed this in hopes that our child would sleep better in strange surroundings, but in a familiar bed with his blankets, pillow, and stuffed bear. It didn’t really work. We learned from this trip to always stay somewhere where we can have 2 separate rooms. (Not free to check the pack n’ play).

Car Seat. If you are getting a rental car, you can add on a car seat but not being familiar with the car seat doesn’t help you or the child. Also, the car seat we got with our rental car seemed kind of old. Bring it, it’s free to check it.

Tips in the Air

Book your travel around bedtime/nap times it will make it so much easier on you! Nurse (or feed) your child during takeoff and descent. Doing this helps your child’s ears pop.

Remember those snacks you packed in your carry on? Make sure they are accessible if your child wakes up, like ours did, you will need to keep him entertained for the middle of the trip, or the end of it!Have a movie ready on the iPad, or purchase one in-flight to keep your kid distracted if possible. Josiah wasn’t super into TV or movies at the time. He just made friends with everyone around us, thank goodness they couldn’t be mad at a smiling baby.Plan ahead and relax, you got this!



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