Traveling by Plane With Kids: My Tips & Experiences

I’m not a fan of traveling, especially with young children. I know many of us travel with our babies for one reason or the other. With the holidays being right around the corner, it’s going to be another busy time for traveling. I too, will be traveling again with Lucas. I have travelled with him twice before- once when he was 7 months and the other just a few weeks ago when he was 8 months. Both were on a plane and neither were fun.

I wrote once about my experience traveling (by car) when Lucas was about 3 months old. The plane is another issue in itself, as is having an older, active baby. Here are my experiences and what has worked for me!

I think the plane might be one of the hardest parts about traveling. Planes in general are not something I enjoy. I’m actually just not fond of them. Great inventions yes, but not friends with babies. No matter when you fly, you’ll most likely spend some time waiting. The biggest issue with this is you need something to occupy your kids. For Lucas, he is at a stage where he is easily entertained.

He likes playing with water bottles. I have a designated “airplane floor blanket” that I use for him to sit on. It has no point though, as he usually crawls right off it.

His car seat is interesting.

Sitting on his sippy cup is awesome.

No stopping this kid.

On the plane I brought an assortment of books and toys. Honestly, I probably could have done without these things. He was more interested in the people around him, the magazines in front of him and the germ infested airpot “things.”

I did end up bringing the stroller on our flight this summer. This worked out really well because I could walk him around and (try to) put him to sleep. We were delayed for 7 hours (JOY!) so this was a lifesaver. On our last trip, just a couple weeks ago, we did not have the stroller. We never once needed it or wished we had it either. I think bringing a stroller totally depends on what time of baby you have and what you’re used to using.
My carry on bag included:
  • Diapers- a lot of them– I brought more than I needed
  • 3 or 4 plastic toys- he prefers water bottles and shoes actually
  • Two board books- books are good
  • A floor blanket- glad I had this.
  • A warm nursing/cuddling blanket– glad I had this too for nursing especially
  • A change of clothes – Never travel anywhere. Ever. Without a change of clothes. Rule #1.
  • A banana and finger foods-It was nice to have a snack for him
  • Sippy cup with water- He’s a water machine I tell ya.
  • Pacifiers– what would I do without these?!

What food should you bring on the plane?

This is obviously going to depend on the age of your child. For Lucas, he is eating roughly 2-3 small meals a day. The food for us is more about giving him something to do for a while. I brought a tupperware with pieces of cheese, green beans and meat. This kept him occupied for about 15 minutes or so while he fed himself. I also gave him an organic teething biscuit to suck on for a while.
Car Seat’s…

When I first traveled with Lucas this summer, I brought a cheap car seat that came in a very handy case. Even with a handle! This was very easy to travel with. The car seat was light, it was easy to carry around, and I didn’t have to worry about the possibility of it getting ruined by someone.
But was it safe?
I didn’t feel it was, actually. Sure, all car seats are required to meet minimum safety regulations and standards. It was safe enough. But I didn’t feel comfortable with it. I was amazed at how different it was from my $250 car seat! When we flew to Alaska a couple weeks ago we brought our “regular” seat, our Britax. It was harder to travel with, but I felt it was safer and that’s ultimately what it comes down to.
We travel again next week and I’m already dreading it. Having a good attitude helps, as does being flexible and going with the flow.

What are your traveling tips? Are you traveling over the holidays with your kids? What are you packing? How long is your plane ride? Let’s learn from each other!

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

9 thoughts on “Traveling by Plane With Kids: My Tips & Experiences

  1. We took our first plane ride in Sept. and it went better than I'd expected. I didn't like the idea of a dvd player, but it worked wonders for our 16 mo old!! Plus books and dipes and snacks and yes, a change of clothes!

    I think you're right that the best thing is a great attitude. It's FUN to have a 7 hour layover 🙂 It's FUN to get all germy in the airport! It's FUN to have a screamy baby! As long as you think of it as an adventure and something that will make memories, it really can be good.

  2. Oh the joys of traveling with children! On our last trip overseas our youngest had a poop blow out before we even made it to our first gate!

    Here are some of the tips I've posted previously…

    I mention travel insurance in that post- since you're going to be flying over Canada I'd get it for the days your travelling. You never know when a plane may have to stop due to weather or something.

    I would add to that to try and find a play area as soon as you get off the pane when you have a lay over. Yes, it will be covered in germs but it help get your child's energy out.

  3. Oh and once your child starts walking one of those animal backpacks with a 'tail' to hold onto is so helpful! Especially when you're trying to get your stuff together after going through security and they just want to touch everything!

  4. This is actually the first year we are not traveling with my son. He is now at a age where i want to stay in our own home and have grandparents travel to us.
    When he was younger though my lifesaver was the boppy pillow, he did not want to be in his car seat, he would end up on my lap. There he would play or fall asleep and my arms wouldnt start hurting cause i had the boppy with me! The other thing i would bring was his teether picture album with new pictures in it, he loved looking at the new pics of the people we were going to visit, our pets, and of course mommy and daddy!

  5. My travel secret is blue painters tape…you can use it for anything — to craft little stick figure people or if you have paper puppet-like things, to use as impromptu stickers, to hang up a blanket for a little extra privacy when kiddo sleeps…I even made a spoon out of it once when I forgot one for the applesauce. Also worst comes to worst, it takes a long time for a small person to undo a whole roll!

  6. When my kids were younger I brought all you said along. I also like to ly with a company that has TV's and or radio which keeps kids of all ages occupied. No I dont agree with rotting out babies brains with TV but a couple of hours on the flight wont hurt them. If they dont have that we also have a travel DVD player. This year my daughter is getting an IPod from santa so she will have that for traveling from now on.

  7. Thanks for all the tips! We are flying across the country next week with our 5 month old, and I am so nervous. I've been researching what to bring and what to do. I've flown plenty of times, but never with a baby. If all goes smoothly, it'll be 10 hours from the time we take off, until we arrive at our destination! Merry Christmas!

  8. @Jen: Don't worry, while kids are only a few months old, flights are the most easy.

    A year ago when our daughter was only 6 months old, we took a 14h flight from Germany to spend christmas in Peru. Everything went great: half of the time, she slept in the baby basket provided by the airline and the other half she kept the cabin crew (which was nothing short of adorable) entertained. Only the return flight was a bit exhausting because we didn't get the baby basket we had booked. All in all a much smoother ride than we expected.

    So have fun and merry christmas!


  9. Hello,
    thank you for sharing those good tips and your personal experience. At Fox Rent A Car Blog we want to help families in their travel experience, by sharing diverse travel tips from attractions in different cities to helpful tips about how to keep kids entertain during long trips. We try to help make trips easier and well planned.
    Thanks again for your post.

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