As a parent, there are a few situations that you remember fondly as “BC” or before children. Traveling on a plane is definitely one of them. BC, I was the red eye flight queen. I'd depart LA at almost midnight and wake up in NYC. I can't even talk about the days of a long fight with a glass of wine and a huge stack of magazines to peruse.
Clearly, this is not an option now!! For the most part Brooks is a great little traveler, but I’ve honed my Super Momma skills to help keep air travel as painless as possible for my little family as well as all of those seated next to us.
Below are my tips and tricks for traveling with a toddler.
Involve your child
Talk about the trip ahead of time. Make it sound like an adventure. Let them help you pack some of their toys into the carry on. Find a fun book geared toward plane travel like this one. I am very lucky that Brooks loves anything involving planes, trains and automobiles.
Be prepared … for Anything
My husband makes fun of me for bringing everything AND the kitchen sink. But he sure doesn’t mind the peaceful flights! Make sure all of your electronics are charged fully before you depart. There is nothing worse that trying to soothe the savage beast by putting on a Curious George DVD only to find the battery is dead. For long flights and peace of mind, I have an external battery as back up. I found this amazing portable charger that works with, iPhone, iPad and Android and it is priced nicely. I also pack a couple of large Ziploc bags for trash or diaper emergencies. There are few smells worse on a plane than a dirty diaper. Speaking of diaper changes, I found that puppy wee wee pads are beyond excellent to use as a disposable changing pad. Totally absorbent top layers with a leak proof backing.
Bring favorite snacks
Peanuts from the plane will not satiate a toddler appetite. I always bring a plethora of Brooks’ favorite snacks on board to make sure we keep his little belly happy. Snacks they are familiar with and really like are key. Avoid overly sugary snacks. You wouldn’t want your little one bouncing down the aisles while the fasten seat belt sign is illuminated. It goes without saying that a sugar crash meltdown in a confined space will have you wanting to sky dive out the emergency exit door. Here are a couple of Brooks’ favs that are super easy for toddler in flight dining.
- Fruigees - Brooks goes bananas over all the flavors and they couldn’t be easier for on the go snacking.
- Cliff Z Bar - Organic and made with whole grains, this is a perfect hand held snack.
- Teensy Fruits - No high fructose corn syrup here! Perfect for little hands and much better for you than most of the fruit snacks out there.
Gift wrap small toys individually
I am not above bribery and you shouldn't be either! This does not have to be an expensive endeavor. Hit the dollar store and get a bevvy of treats without breaking the bank. Wrap each treat individually so they have something to unwrap about every 30 minutes or so. This Matchbox car gift set is perfect for nine separate treats and the $9.99 price tag makes this momma happy!
The Magna Doodle 2-in-1 Doodle board is perfect for your little frequent fliers. With a triangular easy grip pen and a sealed gel painting surface, this double duty toy is the mess-free art project you need for the plane. Brooks is really into stickers right now. This colorform faces play set is perfect - it won't create any permanent damage to your winged chariot but your kid will still enjoy all the good parts of stickers.
Lastly, and most importantly, try to keep calm. Children can smell fear!! Be the captain of the ship ... or this case the pilot! If you feel a meltdown coming, do what every practiced parent does and redirect to the next activity. May the travel gods bless you with stress free flights!
Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.