Doing research on toddler travel tips, talking to mommy friends, and having a solid plan really helped. All flights went great and my girl was on her best behavior. I’ve compiled the advice and made a list of what worked and didn’t work for us:
- Bring a stroller! I can’t believe I ever considered leaving it home. Thank you to my super smart mommy friends for their advice on this one. It doubled as a toddler trapping device and luggage cart. And when we had to literally run to make one of our flights we could move quickly. *Bonus: You get to cut to the front of the security line at all airports! Just follow the handicapped entrance signs with your stroller.
- SNACKS! Have a lot of them. More than you think you will need. We brought little boxes of raisins, apple sauce pouches, cheese crackers, fruit snacks, marshmallows, PB&J sandwiches, dried fruit, animal crackers, and cereal.
- Good behavior prizes. A friend suggested wrapping a few new toys to give out during the flight. If she was good I gave her a “present” which in turn kept her busy! I did things like a new book, DVD, sticker book, etc.
- Electronic devices. We brought her Leap Pad 2 (with a few new games installed), mini DVD player, and our Kindles (new apps installed).
- Headphones. We brought these headphones for the airplane and they worked great! They don’t get too loud so I never had to worry about volume in her little ears.
- Wikki Stix. These little buggers are awesome for traveling. We spent a long time making various people and animals and playing with them. She loved it! The best part is they aren’t messy, don’t come apart, and you can reuse them.
- Wipes. Definitely bring a lot of wipes in your carry-on.
- Ibuprofen. We decided to give Penelope a dose before we left for the airport as a preventative measure. I know this won’t be for everyone.
- Small travel pillow/blanket. We ended up using our sweatshirts but I wish we would’ve had a better option. By the time we were on the last leg of our flight heading home my girl was exhausted. If we would've had a pillow and blanket it could have encouraged more rest time on the plane.
- Child's backpack. We really love this backpack. She was able to carry her own things and it wasn't too heavy. She still uses it daily.
- Other must have items in my carry-on: Extra clothes, favorite stuffed friends and lovey, band aids, extra batteries, sippy cup, extra baggies (big and small), DVDs, and chargers.
- Silly putty. I thought this would be a great “present” to bring along. It was actually a big mess. It’s stringy and pulls apart. I took it away and hid it. I would also stay away from play dough or anything like that.
- Small toys. I read they weren’t recommended and listened. You don’t want to be searching the airplane floor for a beloved small toy.
- Suckers. At least for us this was a bust. I bought ring pops for takeoff to help with the pressure change. They turned out to be a sticky mess. There was a constant line of sugary drool down her chin. Red licorice worked much better!
A few other items I wish we would have brought along for the trip: Outlet plugs and a power strip. We were fortunate to be staying with family and they had everything we needed. I ended up borrowing these items from them. Our toddler travel bed was up against a wall that happen to have 2 outlets right by her face. She generally leaves them alone but I didn’t want to take a chance.