A Guide To Travelling With A Toddler

Hopping on a flight and travelling somewhere new is one of the best feelings, and sharing that excitement with your family makes it all the more special. Yet, travelling with a toddler can be tough if you’re not well prepared. Whether your holiday is taking you on a two hour or twelve hour flight, following this guide will make the journey as comfortable as possible for your little one, yourself and also the other passengers.

Don’t Show Anxiety

Firstly, of course you will be nervous about flying with your toddler as they can be so unpredictable. But, one thing you can do to minimise any potential tantrums is to ensure your child doesn’t sense your anxiety. It’s amazing what our children pick up on, so be prepared, pack the car the night before and ensure the entire process from leaving home to boarding the flight is as seamless as possible. If you’re calm and relaxed, it is more likely your child will be too. If they do become unsettled, do everything you can to remain calm and hopefully your toddler will respond to your patience.

Buy An Extra Seat

Most airlines allow children under 2 to fly for free on your lap, yet if you have the budget available, it’s best to purchase an extra seat. You can have your child safely seated on your lap for take off and landing if you’d prefer, but the extra room will allow you to relax more during the flight, as well as providing your toddler with their own play area!

Time For Toys

It’s best to pick travel toys that won’t make any permanent mess and ones without any tiny pieces that could potentially be hurled at other passengers. Toddlers are curious little people who are interested in interacting with things and learning. So, aim for colourful and interactive toys that will keep them mesmerised for a good amount of time.

Things like stacking cups, shape sorters, textured books, gel window stickers and aquadoodle mats are all exciting for your toddler and will create minimal mess. Try setting aside a couple of brand new toys for the journey, making them even more exciting for your child to play with.

Change of Clothes

Every parent knows the importance of packing a spare change of clothes wherever you go, and this doesn’t change when you’re flying. Whilst I’m sure you will do anything you can to prevent a poo explosion or yoghurt attack, sometimes these things just happen. So, prepare yourself with at least two spare outfits and you should be good to go.

Have A Walk Around

Your child is likely to get fidgety throughout the flight, so don’t be afraid to take them for a little walk up and down. This will help them release a bit of energy and provide some cute entertainment for the other passengers. Perhaps they might be a bit more patient if they do decide to scream the plane down… we’ve all been there!

Changing Nappies

The dreaded moment has arrived and you’ve had a whiff of something that needs to be removed, immediately! Ideally, it’s best to change the nappy in the toilet so you can get some privacy and also relieve the other passengers of any unpleasant scents. If there is no changing table in the toilet, ask the attendants about the best spot and it’s likely that they will find somewhere convenient for you.

Investing in a travel changing mat before your trip is also a good idea as it is far easier than using a towel or muslin cloth. Take your time and keep your toddler comfortable. Dispose of dirty nappies in zip lock bags so the toilet isn’t overwhelmed by any unwanted odours.

Snacks, Snacks and More Snacks!

Toys will keep your child occupied for a few minutes at a time, but something that will really get them interested is snacks. Have a variety of different sweet and savoury options for your little one to munch on throughout the flight. If your child is anything like I am, when they have a full stomach all they will want to do is go straight to sleep, so it’s a win win. Try fruit, yoghurt pouches, vegetable sticks and a few treats to keep them occupied, but don’t forget your coverall bibs to avoid having to unnecessarily change a wriggling toddler in a tiny space. Also, wipes. Bring wipes!

Jet Lag Hacks

If you’re heading on a long haul flight, try your best to book night flights so they have time to rest, as it’s likely they will adjust to time differences best this way. If this isn’t possible, travel with a large, thick scarf to replicate night time and figure out the best hours for them to sleep in relation to the time difference you’ll be facing.


Flying with a small child can be daunting, but the flight will be worth it for the amazing memories you can make when you’re away. Of course there might be hiccups along the way, but be calm and prepared and your child is much more likely to relax too.

Guest Author: Natalie Wilson

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