Most parents get nervous about flying with a squirmy baby or toddler, and the longer the flight — the scarier it is!
But having a few tips or tricks up your sleeve (or in your carry-on) will help make flying with your baby or toddler go better for everyone.
Here are my favorite hacks for flying with a baby or toddler:
1. Bring toys that they can’t usually play with at home. . . like Post-it notes!
Can’t play with Post-its at home? They make the perfect plane toy. Make patterns, stick them to the wall or seat in front of you, write notes, play memory, you name it. Plus, they take up hardly any space and can be recycled afterward.
2. Keep extra pacifiers clean and handy in to-go sauce cups.
3. Rent a tablet from Alaska Airlines with built-in Kid Zone entertainment.
On most flights over 3.5 hours, the tablets are free in first class and available for rent in the main cabin for $8-$10. They also have outlets in every seat for plugging in devices.
4. Access games, live TV and movies by downloading Southwest’s Airtime Player app prior to boarding your flight.
Download Southwest’s Airtime Player app before you board to ensure you have in-flight access to the portal’s games, television shows and movies. If you forget, you’ll have to pay $8 per device for a full day of in-flight wifi to watch shows.
5. Get two free checked bags and early family boarding with Southwest.
Southwest is one of the only airlines left to offer free checked bags. You’ll also want to make sure you check in early and board during family boarding. Families with children under six years old get to board first because seats are first-come, first served, and you’ll want to score a few seats together.
6. Fly JetBlue for free wifi and extra legroom.
Many families love JetBlue for the free wifi (so you can watch your own Netflix shows!) and extra legroom.
7. Check for kid-friendly movies on your flight before traveling with United or Delta.
I always check which movies will be playing on our flight so I can plan other forms of entertainment for my kids if the movie choices are poor.
8. Download your own entertainment before flying Spirit Airlines.
Spirit Airlines offers low fares, and you’ll lose a lot of in-flight comforts for the price. Download your own entertainment before boarding so you aren’t surprised by the lack of in-flight entertainment!
You’ll also have to pay $30 to check your bag (each way!) so plan accordingly.
9. Don’t limit screen time like you do at home.
There are certain times in life where you let your kid watch All. The. Shows. This is one of them.
10. Pack extra clothes for both of you in zip bags.
If you can get through a flight without one of you needing to change, congratulations!
For everyone else, be sure to pack two sets of clothes for your child, and at least one set of clothes for you in your carry-on bag. Stock them in Ziploc bags to save space and prevent spills.
11. Wrap your baby with the seatbelt to give your arms a rest.
12. Pack a travel hammock so your baby can always see you.
We’ve seen this $69.99 travel hammock priced as low as $39.99 on Amazon.
13. Wear a scarf to use as a breastfeeding cover.
If you’re already wearing a scarf to help cover up, it’s one less thing you have to worry about getting out of your bag with a baby on your lap.
14. Wear your baby through the security screening.
You’ll have to take the baby out for the flight, but you can be hands-free in the airport and while getting on or off the place.
15. Feed your baby or have a pacifier handy during takeoff and landing.
Cabin pressure changes are hard on babies’ ears, so have something on hand to help relieve the pressure.
16. Bring snacks your child loves, or doesn’t normally get to eat.
New snacks will be so thrilling that your child will be enthralled for at least a few minutes!
17. Walk the aisles with your toddler.
Don’t be ashamed to let your restless toddler walk the aisles with you during long flights. They’ll probably even make some friends along the way!
18. Pack a variety of small toys, books and games.
Think you have enough? Pack at least three more.
19. Have everyone wear comfy slip-on shoes.
Anything you can do to get through the security check line a little faster!
20. Get rideable carry-on luggage for each child.
Look for cheaper prices on the Trunki brand on Amazon, like this one for just $44.96.
21. Read TSA’s latest guidelines on breastmilk storage right before your flight.
The TSA currently states that a “reasonable amount” of breastmilk may be stored in your carry-on bag, and you do not need to be traveling with a child to have it packed with you.
Since guidelines change often, I recommend checking current regulations right before your flight.