the essentials for flying with a toddler

Flying with a Toddler: Your Ultimate Guide to Stress-Free Travel

Spoiler alert: This is not going to be a blog post with a list of 43 toys you need to buy for flying with a toddler that will guarantee perfect behavior on your next flight!

Traveling with a toddler can be an exciting adventure, but it can also present some unique challenges. From navigating airport security to keeping your little one entertained during a long flight, flying with a toddler requires careful planning and preparation. But fear not! With the right essentials and a bit of know-how, you can make your journey a smooth and enjoyable experience for both you and your child.

In this blog post, we'll explore the essential items and strategies to make flying with a toddler a breeze. Whether you're a seasoned jet-setter or a first-time traveler, these tips and tricks will help you stay organized, reduce stress, and create lasting memories with your little one. They may still have a meltdown in the middle of Concourse C or push a roller bag down the escalator (...sure, it’s funny now), but with these essentials for flying with a toddler, you will feel confident about getting everyone where they need to be safe. So, buckle up and get ready to discover the secrets to a successful flight with your toddler.

Wear a backpack.

Life will be so much easier if you have both hands free and can move quickly. A backpack gives you compartments for all the things – water bottles, snacks, chapstick, hand sanitizer, wipes, etc. – so you don’t have to go on a deep sea diving mission through your purse every time someone needs something.

Practice safety rules with your kids.

No one plans to lose their child, but things happen, and you want to do everything you can to be prepared. Before your trip, start talking to your kids about what they need to do if they ever get separated from you. Repetition helps them remember, so try to practice the plan with them every day.

  • Make sure they know your first and last names.
  • If your kids are old enough, have them learn your phone number and address. Making it into a song or clapping it out can help them to remember.
  • Teach them WHO to ask for help.
    • Find another mommy or daddy.
    • Find someone in a uniform or with a name tag.
  • Teach them to stay where they are.

If you get separated from your toddler, make it easy for someone to find them.

There are lots of ways to do this. Here are some ideas:

  • Take a picture of your kids in what they are wearing before you leave so you have a current picture and can easily describe what they’re wearing.
  • Dress them in bright colors.
  • Put some kind of identification on them:
    • Put an Apple Air Tag on the sole or tongue of their shoe
    • Write your name and phone number in Sharpie on their arm or back
    • Write your name and phone number on duct tape and put it inside their shirt or shoe
    • You can buy temporary tattoos with your contact information on Etsy
    • Safety Bracelet IDs

Bring wired, kid-friendly headphones.

Your toddler likely will not wear the complimentary headphones given out on the airplane. Be sure to bring some kid-friendly headphones AND the jack-wired cord that comes with them so you can plug them in on the plane! If you’re like me and lost the wire, you can get an inexpensive replacement.

Get a few new, compact toys for the plane.

You really don’t need much! Think about your toddler and whether they will be content watching movies the entire time or will get bored. Plan the number of toys you bring accordingly! Here are a few favorite airplane-friendly novelties:


This one goes without saying! There are few things worse than a hangry toddler. These snack bags are genius for keeping things cold! They have ice packs built in and are TSA approved.

Great snack storage option! Put all kinds of different snacks inside and have your little one help you make it!

Have a change of clothes for everyone in your carry-on.

You never know what could happen!

Car Seats & Strollers

  • Check your airline’s rules, but most will allow you to gate-check strollers and car seats.
  • Some of the top-rated compact, lightweight strollers for travel are Ergo Metro+, Babyzen YoYo, Zoe Strollers, and Baby Jogger City Tour.
  • If you are looking for a travel car seat, Cosco makes a great option that is inexpensive, highly rated, and lightweight.
  • If your toddler is big enough for a booster seat, the BubbleBum Inflatable Booster Seat is fantastic for travel.
  • Most car rental companies allow you to rent car seats too!

See our full list of Must-Have Travel Items here!

What are some other tips for flying with toddlers? Drop them in the comments @momsoncall.
We hope that these tips will help you to travel confidently, embrace the chaos and enjoy making memories with your incredible little ones! We love to see our Moms on Call families in action, so be sure to tag us in your traveling adventures. We’ll try not to get too jealous!

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