Tips for Airplane Travel with Toddlers

Traveling by airplane with young children can be very difficult.  Unlike car travel where you have the opportunity to stop every few hours to allow your toddler to exercise, an airplane confines you to a relatively small space for the duration of the flight.  If you have a particularly long flight, this can be very difficult.  Even flights of two hours in length can seem much longer when you have a cranky toddler on your hands.  There are, however, a few tips for making airplane travel more comfortable and enjoyable for you, your toddler and your fellow passengers.

The first tip is to consider purchasing a seat for your toddler on your flight.  Many airlines do not require children under a certain age to have their own seat.  Although you are allowed to travel with your child on your lap, this may not be the most comfortable way to travel for you, your child or your neighbor.  Airplane seats are very small and adding an additional person, albeit a small child to this situation can make things uncomfortable for everyone involved.  Many airlines have three seats per section and if there are three travelers in your party, including your child, you may have the luxury of purchasing a seat for your child between you and your traveling companion.  This will give you and your companion a little more mobility and will make your child as comfortable as possible.

Longer flights can be very difficult for young children.  Try to bring along games or toys that will keep them entertained.  If they enjoy watching movies and you have a portable DVD player, you could bring along a few favorite movies for your child to watch during the flight.  This may help to keep them occupied for significant stretches of time.  This is particularly effective if the child has not watched their favorite DVDs in a few days.

The food available on airplanes is usually pretty limited so it advisable to bring along nutritious snacks to keep your child from being hungry.  Milk and all natural juices are good beverage choices.  Also snacks of fruit, cheese or crackers are convenient for travel and nutritious for your child.  Avoid giving your child sugary snacks such as sodas and candy because these can make your child feel over stimulated.

It is very likely that your child will begin to annoy your neighbors if he does not behave well on the trip.  In the best case scenario, you will be seated near someone who loves children and may help to keep your child entertained but there is always the possibility that you will be seated near someone who is easily annoyed and not tolerant of children.  In either case it is best to be polite to your neighbor, acknowledge your child’s behavior and let them know you are doing everything possible to keep your child still.

Bringing along a change of clothes and spare diapers is a must when traveling with children.  Although the space for changing your child is very limited, in an emergency situation, you may have to make due and figure out a creative way to change your child if their diaper leaks.  Also, bring along zip lock plastic bags to put dirty diaper or soiled clothing into if you do have to change your child.  This will help to contain offensive odors.




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