Wednesday, August 26, 2015

My Tips For Traveling By Plane With A Toddler Who Doesn't Like To Sit

Happy Wednesday everyone! I am starting to get out of my "post holiday" funk. I actually had to resort to an energy drink on Monday afternoon in order to keep my eyes open. It is totally worth it though! All week I have been having flashbacks from our week away! It was just a really great time! 

There was one thing that I was not looking forward to when we planned our trip, the plane ride! Being the frugal parents that we are, we decided to fly out to the cottage being that Sam's ticket is free until he turns 2! The weeks leading up to our trip Sam had been getting better at walking and was becoming very insistent in his practicing. He doesn't like to sit very long right now and I was beginning to worry about the hour and a half flight. 

Surprising both Ryan and I, Sam was a CHAMPION on both flights! Here's a few tips that I found helpful while dealing with Sam on the plane! 


Our flight TO Halifax was at 9 AM and the flight home was at 1 PM....Anyone who knows our schedule with Sam would know that both of those are routinely his nap times! What was I thinking? I wasn't, we didn't have many options for flights. So, my game plan was to hopefully tire out Sam before we had to board! Both the Ottawa and Halifax airports have these children's play areas! They are great! We would get through security, grab some food and then keep Sam actively moving until it was time to board! We were successful in tiring him out and on BOTH flights Sam fell asleep before we were even in the air! He didn't sleep through the entire flight on the way home but enough to keep him happy. 

2. Do NOT listen to the family boarding call. 

If you've flown before, you may have heard the airlines announce pre-boarding for people who need assistance or people with small children. DO NOT LISTEN! I appreciate the "help" but this boarding takes place and it means that you would be sitting on the plane 20-30 minutes longer than if you were to be one of the last ones! It is hard enough to keep a toddler entertained for the flight that I don't want to dock on any extra time! 

3. Umbrella Stroller! 

Our very first ever flight with Sam, we didn't bring a stroller. We figured he was small enough and we had his car seat. It was a huge mistake! For our next flight, we invested $40 in an umbrella stroller! It has been AWESOME! Sam buckles into the stroller as we are making our way through security and to our gate. He then sits in it as we walk down the long hall way to our plane. This way, he is strapped in and cannot get into anything he isn't suppose to. Right before you get on the plane you leave the stroller with the attendant and its waiting there for you when you get off the plane! 

4. Stay on the plane! 

Once the plane lands people are pretty antsy about getting off of it! It's like a herd of cattle all trying to be the first ones off and through the door! It can be a little chaotic. We have learnt to just stay put until we are some of the last people off. This allows us to methodically get things gathered before getting off. It's means a little longer on the plane but we find it is worth the wait. 

5. What we packed! 

This trip, Sam had his very own backpack! We used his daycare backpack and filled it with all the stuff to keep him busy. I think that the key to keeping him entertained is that the stuff  is new to him! I have been gathering a little pile of stuff to keep him entertained that he never saw until we were on the plane! This was the things that worked well for Sam! 

a. An old spice bottle with pipe cleaners! This may seem really simple but Sam LOVED this. He would take the pipe cleaners out and then put them back in. Over and over again! This kept him happy for 30 minutes! 

b. Dollar store caterpillar. I made a quick trip to the dollar store before our trip to get a few items for Sams bag. I spotted this little guy and thought Sam would think it felt cool. I was right! It was a favorite! 

c. Used book! I also grabbed a couple of used board books for Sam that had flaps in them! Books are always a hit with him. 

d. Snacks, snacks and more snacks. Oh, and something to wash it down! 

Gold fish, cookie, granolas, crackers...we had it all! I also brought two sippy cups of milk (1 extra in case we had plane issues). If you are travelling with a child under the age of 2, you can bring more then the recommended liquids. I also brought an empty sippy cup so that we could fill it with water or juice!  

The fact that Sam fell asleep for both flights was a HUGE help! Murphy's Law! I packed all these fun things that we hardly got to use! Flying with a toddler is not easy, but if you plan ahead it can actually go very smoothly! 

Happy Wednesday! 



  1. This post will come in handy for the next time we travel with Rylie for sure...those 2-hour drives to Deacon are guaranteed naps for part of the way and zero fun the rest! I like the pipe cleaner idea!! I will definitely be using these tips!!

  2. Flying with a busy toddler is no joke! When we flew out west (just Noah and I) I was soo nervous. He did fall asleep briefly. We always gate check our regular stroller and I agree with waiting to get on the plane and off haha. We lucked out on the way home with Noah having his own seat and man was that nice!!

  3. When we flew to Florida, they didn't call for family seating. I was shocked/surprised. At one point I wanted that because addison fell asleep in my arms and I had to stand there holding her for over 10 minutes. She just about fell out of my arms. It was a nightmare.