Flying With A Toddler? Here’s What To Pack
By Sam Bowman
Traveling on a plane can be uncomfortable and boring as an adult, so just imagine what it feels like for a toddler. Flying with a little one can be tough, but what you pack in their carry-on bag can make all the difference. The items you bring with you on the plane can be powerful tools to keep your toddler settled, happy, and less likely to disrupt the experience for other travelers. Let’s run through some of the most helpful items you should pack in your carry-on bag for your toddler.
Let’s face it, it’s unlikely you’ll get beyond the first 30 minutes of the flight without your toddler requesting a snack. It can be tempting to pack a bunch of sweet, bagged treats. After all, they’re prepackaged and can keep your toddler content for a little while. But having food with a lot of sugar can spell disaster, particularly later on in the flight. Snacks high in sugar may also make it difficult for your child to sleep, and could lead to restlessness and frustration. Here are some low or no sugar ideas:
- Crackers with minimal ingredients like Simple Mills Sea Salt Almond Flour crackers
- Packaged cheese for their little fingers to open like Babybel cheese
- Protein-packed options like Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas or Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame
- Homemade trail mix filled with pistachios, cashews, dried cherries, and dark chocolate chips
- Freeze-dried fruit with no additional ingredients like Natierra Organic Bananas or Organic Strawberries
- Homemade treats like the Feeding Our Toddlers Spinach Banana Mini Muffins or Date Chocolate Chip Cookies
All of these snack ideas tend to travel well and can take care of your toddler’s appetite in a healthy, sustainable way. Plus, it’s a lot of little items that will take them a while to eat and keep their little fingers busy. Pro tip: fill a pill organizer or a lunchbox with pre-designated sections with these snacks so you don’t have to carry a million different packages!
It’s possible that toddlers may take a nap if the flight is particularly long, or they are especially exhausted, however, sleep is never guaranteed. Regardless of the length of the flight you will likely need to entertain your toddler for most of the time. For this reason, it’s best to come prepared with several travel-friendly activities. Here are some ideas for easy-to-pack toys and activities:
If it’s a long (or overnight) flight, you might also want to bring some items that remind them of bedtime. A favorite stuffed animal, a blanket, and even a pillow will be a huge help to get them in the frame of mind for rest.
Each parent has their own opinions when it comes to toddlers and tech. While most would agree that it’s always important to limit screen time, packing a portable device might prove to be a worthwhile distraction during a flight. Whether you own a kid-friendly tablet or will be letting them use yours, it’s a good idea to preload the device with shows and games you know they love.
This doesn’t mean you need to set your toddler in front of a device for the entire flight. You can implement periods of use in much the same way you’d regulate it at home. Just be sure to also set them up with some kid-friendly, noise-canceling headphones so that they don’t disturb other passengers. Many are equipped with Bluetooth connectivity that will eliminate tangled wires and make it easier for your kid to sit still.
When you’re braving air travel with a toddler it’s important to remember that mishaps are bound to happen. It’s a good idea to pack wipes, Band-Aids, and hand sanitizer. You should also bring a change of clothes for your toddler (and yourself!) along with some resealable bags—if there’s a spill or accident you’ll want to keep soiled items away from everything else in your bag.