We have been on a plane with Max quite a few times, however, they have mostly been short-haul to Spain, only a two hour flight, We have a long plane trip coming up soon so I have been looking at some of the top ways to entertain our toddler. I have been with him to the states before but he was 10 months old and was an absolute dream. He wasn’t walking yet, slept a lot and I could keep him busy with finger foods, milk and books. But, a long haul flight with a now toddler? Hmmmm…. He isn’t ‘hyper’ in that he will sit and watch a movie / programme with us, so as much as I hate it, I think we will be downloading lots of ‘In the Night Garden’ on the ipad, to try and pass some of the time…
Here are some of my other top tips for toddler travel:
- Snacks, snacks, and more snacks – Max eats pretty much the same as any toddler, ie. not that much, but as any parent knows, food will keep their attention, keep them full and keep them quiet. Treats with Max are occasional too so he loves it when he gets something like a lolly. They work well as they are tasty but can take quite a while to finish too. Plenty of drinks and water too – I find that planes can be quite dehydrating. Remember you can buy more after going through the security if need be.
- Ask the airline – I guess it depends on your airline, but if it is a long haul flight airlines are pretty accommodating, so ask them for things. Plastic cups, ice, straws… all seem a bit random but toddlers love to play with them or stack them.
- Pack a play bag – Using a ziplock bag, put in crayons, paper, playdough etc – things that aren’t too messy but they will enjoy
- Don’t pack too much of your stuff in the hand luggage – no point taking up precious space with your magazines or books. Do you really think you will much of a chance to read them? Be realistic and put in your hold luggage. I know Max would just rip any magazine of mine up into 1000 pieces!
- Pack a new toy - desperate times call for desperate measures and if you can whip out a brand new book or toy they will love it. This will take up time as they explore their fun new toy and in turn, keep them quiet. No need to spend a fortune, you could even swap toys with a friends little one, just for the journey. As long as it is something that they don’t recognise and it’s new to them it’s all good.
- Travel with a backpack where possible – with the airport, security, boarding and being on the plane, there are lots you will need to be holding like boarding card and passports, as well as all things toddler (plus, the actual toddler) so having your hands free will help make this all a little bit easier.
- Scroll though pictures on your tablet / phone – they love to see pictures of themselves and, depending on what stage they are at, if they are talking they will recognise and be able to point out ‘mummy’, ‘daddy’ etc
- Try to fly when it is nap / bedtime – You then know, that at some point they will go to sleep! They will probably be asleep on you and mean you can’t really move during that time, but at least it will be peaceful and you could watch a movie or sleep yourself.
- Think about your destination and the other people on the plane – This is more for reassurance and peace of mind really! We are going to Florida, so I know not everyone will be travelling with kids, but I think everyone on a plane to Orlando should be expecting that there will be a lot of children and possible noise. And again, not everyone is fussed about children but if they need to walk up and down the isle, maybe strike up a conversation with someone with similar aged kids (and if there are any grandparent looking-types on the plane, they tend to always love making faces and chatting to the little ones).
How far have you travelled with a little one? How did you find it?