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Plane Travel Tips with Your Baby or Toddler

Updated on January 4, 2015

Is this your first plane ride with your little one? Here's a few tips, tricks, and packing lists to help ease the anxiety of taking a plane ride.

I hope it will help other parents as much helped me on my first trip with my daughter without another adult travel companion.

Destination Check

When traveling with your small child, make sure to ask a few questions about your destination before traveling.

Car Rental Company:

  1. Do they offer car seats or booster seats complimentary with car rental? If not, can you add one to your rental?

Hotel or Resort:

  1. Are travel cribs available for the room? And if so, does it come with bedding or do you need to bring your own?
  2. If there's a pool, are their flotation devices available? If so, what kind? If not, are flotation devices allowed in the pool?
  3. If they serve complimentary breakfast or you plan to eat at the accommodations, do they have high chairs?

Remember the old adage: There are no dumb questions.

Ergo Baby Carrier, wearable in 3 positions & comes with a sleep hood.  Perfect for airplane travel.
Ergo Baby Carrier, wearable in 3 positions & comes with a sleep hood. Perfect for airplane travel.
Munchkin Cool Wrap Bottle Bag
Munchkin Cool Wrap Bottle Bag | Source

Making Your Little One Comfortable During the Flight

  1. A photocopy of your child's birth certificate is acceptable ID for domestic travel. If traveling outside of the United States, a passport is required. (Please note if traveling without the other parent listed on the birth certificate, you may be asked for a note from the other parent to travel. Cruise ships are notorious for asking for this documentation. Without it, you may not be allowed to sail.
  2. Baby food and breast milk/liquid formula kept in a separate easily accessible package and take it out of your carry on. It'll save the rooting around your diaper bag. These items need to be placed in plastic bins to pass through security(Suggestion: Place these items in a soft sided cooler made for baby bottles)
  3. Using a baby carrier is ideal on the plane when you haven't purchased a seat for your tot. They allow you to get off and on the plane semi-hands free. It also allows the child to nap with the close comfort of their parent.
  4. Cabin pressure and loud engines can wreak havoc on a delicate ear drums. When you child indicates they are feeling discomfort, rubbing their ears in small circular motions can relieve some of the pressure.
  5. Just as adults can get dehydrated during flights, a baby can as well. Ask your pediatrician how much water is safe to give your child.
  6. Relying on the kindness of strangers can be so helpful. If someone offers to hand you your bag or fold up your stroller. Let them. It's one less thing for you to check off your list.
  7. One of the greatest TSA rules ever, your child does not need to take off their shoes as long as they are under the age of 12. I tend to put my child in feetie pajamas to fly as it will keep them warm with out excess clothing to carry.

Did You Know?

Diaper bags are not counted as your carry on, but as your infant or toddlers carry on. You still get one bag and one personal item.

Please note: Some carriers charge for every carry on. Please check with your airline to make sure that you can carry on bags without a fee.

Things You'll Need for Baby

In the Diaper Bag:

  • Snacks, for yourself and the child
  • Diapers, one diaper per hour of travel
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Wipes
  • Extra Outfit
  • Diapers
  • Lightweight Blanket, for keeping baby warm or quick breastfeeding
  • Pain reliever
  • Extra Pacifiers
  • Plastic bags for soiled diapers and clothing
  • Washable bibs
  • Extra Bottle or Sippy cup for water
  • Disposable Diaper Pad, your diaper pad takes up valuable space and being able to leave it behind in the trash is convenient,
  • Tissues

In the Suitcase:

  • Two outfits per day, unless laundry is available at destination
  • Socks, shoes or booties
  • Lightweight sweater or jacket for unexpected temperature changes
  • 2-3 favorite toys
  • Swimsuit
  • Pajamas

  • Diaper Rash Cream
  • Sun Block
  • Baby Soap/Lotion

  • Sun Hat
  • Hair Accessories, such as, comb, brush, barrettes or ponytail holders

  • Feeding items (Sippy Cups, bowls, utensils)
  • Powdered Formula

  • Playard Sheet, in case the hotel doesn't have one

Other Necessities

  • Stroller- lightweight, compact strollers are ideal, but an umbrella stroller works, but with less storage.
  • Portable Crib or Playard, only necessary if one is not available at your destination.

Easing Everyone's Travel Anxiety

One thing parents should keep in mind is that as they have anxiety over their child's behavior, your child's own anxiety level rises. Children are usual up for any new adventure, but the tight quarters, loud noises and number of behavior requests will be a lot to handle. One of the most important things you can do when your child before you board the plane is explain to them what a plane ride is and tell them their will be expectations for their ride to your final destination. Make sure they are able to hold a favorite toy and if they're old enough, some sort of electronic entertainment will provide a welcome break to the behavior corrections.

Encourage your child to be friendly and courteous to fellow travelers. This doesn't mean walking up to complete strangers and starting a conversation, but waving and saying hello and thank you goes a long way to making others feel comfortable with tiny tot travelers.

What do you forget for your child at home most often when traveling?

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    • Nicole Henley profile image

      Nicole Henley 4 years ago from San Leandro

      I couldn't agree more.

    • msginger profile image

      Mirmana 4 years ago from AMSTERDAM

      Great tips! Though if the plane's air-conditioning isn't working, prepare for a stressful journey. I would also recommend not travelling with the cheapest airline, that's a mistake I will never make again.