For the first 30 months (2.5 years, for those of you who just rolled your eyes, hehe!) of Grey’s life, we refused to travel on an airplane. Every family vacation was within reasonable driving distance, and traveling that required us to fly meant that Grey was going to spend some quality time with his grandparents while we were gone.
Sadly, one of our major concerns about flying with our toddler was actually other people. As you may know from experience or just from browsing the web, the friendly skies aren’t so kid friendly. Grey has a tendency toward intense responses and those responses can be loud. Nevertheless we decided it was time, and if we wanted to see our family in Texas without enduring a 14-hour drive we were going to have to brave it.
Grey did just fine. Yep, not a single (major) meltdown. In fact, he didn’t even seem to notice when we took off for the first time. So how did we do it? I think we owe about 90% of our success to the fact that Grey is just awesome, but the other 10% was preparation.
Here are my Misguided Mama tips for traveling with a toddler:
- A week or two before you head out on your adventure, prepare your toddler by talking about your trip, and what will be happening as you travel. i.e. going to the airport, taking the shuttle bus, etc.
- Pack a carry-on specifically for your toddler (we used a small backpack). This is what we packed:
- On The Go Coloring Fun Pack
- Small plastic figurines/Playskool Heroes Action Figures that he could open and play with (the newness factor really helps here)
- Small Drawing Pad
- Colored Pencils
- The Original Slinky Jr (again, in the box so he could open a new toy)
- 3 or 4 snacks
- Sippy Cup
- JLab Over-ear Kids Headphones
- If you can, apply for TSA Precheck. The airport security line can be intense, intimidating and stressful for everyone–add a toddler to the mix and it might be you having a meltdown instead of your toddler. Precheck made our airport experience much more pleasant.
- Get to the airport early enough that you can walk (or run) around with your Toddler–explore and make it an adventure. This is also a great time to get all that excess energy out prior to the flight.
- Make sure you have all the necessary apps for in-flight entertainment. Many of the airlines don’t tell you that you have to download the app before you can watch movies. Netflix or Amazon Prime’s download features are also an excellent option.
- Make sure you have something your toddler can suck or chew on for take off and landing to avoid ear pain. We used a pacifier, but we also brought some toddler-friendly gummies that he could chew in case the other option backfired.
- I also packed a backpack with all the necessary diaper bag items: diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, any meds we might need (Tylenol, Benadryl, Tummy Drops, etc.), change of clothes for Grey, and a small blanket.
Happy Toddler Travels!!