Surviving Air Travel with Infants and Toddlers

With the holidays approaching, a good number of us are about to board a flight with our young children. And this makes people pretty nervous.

I travel with my infant and toddler. A lot. Not that it is always perfect, but over the years I have used some handy tips that make it a bit more enjoyable, or at least survivable. 

1) Prep Prep Prep

It takes an extra 10 minutes when packing, but good preparation will be the biggest lifesaver. The large ziploc bags are your best friend. I use one bag for each type of item- one bag for snacks, one bag for diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes, one bag for small toys. The last thing you want during an epic meltdown is to be tearing your bag apart looking for a Matchbox car or a piece of gum. 

2) It is All About the Ears

The poor little ears during take-off and landing. Help ease the pain, and it will make your whole flight more enjoyable. For babies, nurse or bottle at take-off and landing, for toddlers, lollipops and pouches work great. 

3) Really Talk Up the Drink Cart

The drink cart is by far my toddler's favorite part of flying. To him it is a magical idea where someone delivers apple juice to you. He starts talking about it days before the flight, and his excitement and anticipation really make the first 30 minutes of the flight fly by. 

4) Keep Them Busy

As soon as your toddler is able to sit and watch an iPad (do not forget the headphones!) your travel days will be significantly easier. With the 18-month and younger set, you need to be more creative. Best bet is to hit up Target dollar bin or a dollar store. Things like scotch tape, playing cards, and anything with wheels can entertain my infant for a good enough amount of time. If all else fails, out comes the iPhone to take selfies, which seems to be hysterical.

5) Just Keep Feeding Them

The amount of snacks I bring on a flight is a little gross, but new treats seem to be the activity of choice. I try to keep away from the desserts, as a toddler sugar high is no good on a crowded plane, but I try to bring different crackers, chips, things from Whole Food bulk bins, etc. On a trip cross-country, I try to space out the treats so we are unveiling something new every hour or so. 

Be strong. Deep breath. You can do it. And if all else fails, order that Bloody Mary. 


Alisa Cohen