Traveling via Airplane with a Toddler- 5 Tips to Make it an Easy Trip

Parents know for a fact that airports and airplanes aren't child-friendly most especially when you are traveling with children below the age of 4. Usually, children ages 4 and above have already started attending school and know to some degree how to act in public areas, are attentive and listen to instructions, and are disciplined. For babies, parents tend to travel during the time they know their babies will be asleep, at night if it will be a long flight or maybe in the afternoon just in time for their nap. This will make the flight go smoothly for everyone. Babies, fortunately, are also small enough to handle in your lap and both of you won't feel cramped in your seat on the plane (spaces between seats are very small) if ever you need to place your baby in your lap for feedings. For a toddler, basically, all rules are thrown out the window. In my opinion, they are the toughest travel companions. Makes me wonder what kind of havoc I gave my parents at that age when we were traveling.

My son seeing an airplane for the first time.
Davao International Airport
Photo by: The Tired Mama-ph
I have read articles regarding the tough times' airport and airplane staff give parents. Strange, children don't fly for free unlike for public utility vehicles where parents don't have to pay for their child's fare just as long as the child sits on the parent's lap. Parents pay for their child's or children's seat/s at the regular price of an adult thus, children should be given every bit of courtesy as one would give an adult. Those seats aren't cheap. I paid for my child's airfare but, ended up having him sit on his father's lap roundtrip. It was OK, at least I had an extra seat to put my things when I had to rummage through my son's baby bag just to get him his toys. Another thing I would like to point out, airports and airplane companies know that a number of adults will be traveling with their children so, it should be appropriate that airports would have children play areas and airplane staff trained to accommodate children. Staff should also be trained to understand the needs of children and help parents when help is needed. I found a great difference when I recently traveled to Manila- airport staff at Francisco Bangoy International Airport were very accommodating and friendly to children and to their parents. I had staff helping me with my toddler and they never stopped smiling. While at terminal 3 of NAIA, a security guard yelled at my son for running around. I was actually chasing after him to get him back, but he can run very fast so, I was within earshot when the security guard did that. I gave him a dirty look. People should learn that there's always a polite way of saying things- most especially to a child.

All in all, our trip went OK amidst the usual hassle and struggle my son gives me. It was just a pain to wait at the airport before boarding and keep my son occupied so he wouldn't get bored and stray away. I did research on our trip to figure out what to bring and what to expect because it was going to be his first trip on an airplane. Good thing, during that time my son was enamored with airplanes and finally he was going to see one up close. In my case, I was worried about his outbursts- my toddler can give everyone a headache. I needed to be prepared.

Here are 5 tips I  can give parents to make your trip easy when traveling on a plane with a toddler in tow:

1. When booking for your flight, make sure you reserve seats so the whole family can sit together, opt for a time that coincides with napping or sleeping, and make sure what are the regulations flights give regarding items you may need to bring for your children. Also, if you are bringing a lot of luggage, pay for the extra baggage allowance when you purchase your tickets because it will be a hassle and more expensive if you purchase it at the airport. If you weren't able to reserve seats online, I suggest you head to the airport early so you can be the first to line up when check-in counters open for better seating accommodations. Also, wear something comfortable for your flight, with slip-on shoes, and no metal accessories. Hassle free when you go through the scanners so, your attention doesn't wander away from your child. Our flight to Manila via Air Asia wasn't full although it was peak season. We had a whole aisle to ourselves. This extra space was great when my son decided it was time to take a nap. He really wanted to play with the children who were running up and down the aisle, but I was able to get him to sit down when I showed him the tray table. Good thing there wasn't anyone seated in front of him.
If you are traveling with children with special needs or disabilities, alert the airline/s so they are aware of the needed preparations to make your trip with them as smooth as possible. 

2. Make sure you bring his favorite toys and activities with him on the trip. Even his favorite pillow if you can-my brother when he was young never parted with his favorite pillow and my mom used to bring it wherever we went. Most parents bring new movies or cartoons even new toys. Word of the wise, let them bring a part of home with them and that means bringing items that are familiar- their favorite toys, programs on their tablet, and favorite activities they usually enjoy doing at home. I brought boxes of modeling clay (he was into forming the planets with clay), crayons and coloring books, his favorite toy cars, his plastic balls and his alphabet magnets. I wished I could've brought Lego with me, but I knew those things usually get lost so I decided against it. At least, he was good with the clay. He was so happy that he had globs and globs of that stuff with him.

3. Bring a change of clothing, not only for your children but, for you as well. Also, bring extra barf bags. I was surprised to read a post on a mommy blog that her daughter uses vomit as her main defense mechanism because I had a distinct impression that my son was the only kid that did that. It's nice to know that I'm not alone. He vomits when he's really mad- I guess it's his way to get back at the world, meaning me and his papa, his parents. Airplanes are equipped with barf bags for each passenger but, just to make sure, bring more. Also wet wipes, tissue, and small towels just in case you need to clean up. You never know when the little one is going to blow. Make sure you come prepared. Smelling like vomited milk the whole trip on the plane isn't pleasant - not only for you but for everyone else on the plane. That smell cannot be covered up with perfume, I tell you. 

4. Bring as many snacks as possible, and make sure you follow regulations regarding formula and any needed medication. According to flight regulations, we are allowed to bring at least 3 baby bottles with 100 mL of distilled water each. Just purchase extra water on the flight or if you are allowed, before boarding. I brought my son's antihistamine medication just in case he broke into hives. I was happy to be able to purchase my son's favorite chocolate milk drink and mango juice on the flight because I wasn't able to find it at the airport before boarding our flight to Manila. For Manila to Davao, the airport was like a mall so, it wasn't a problem. Never forget to bring your children's favorite snacks. Food always helps a child to calm down.

5. In the event of an outburst because kids are built like that, don't mind the other people. I don't understand why adults don't want to understand- they were children once upon a time. As adults, we have the capacity and knowledge to understand that these things happen. Other adults argue that they paid for a quiet and hassle-free flight... Mind you, we parents paid for our children's flights as well. Again, whatever courtesy airlines bestow adults should be every courtesy they bestow little children (should be even more). Don't give parents those dirty looks when their child throws a fit- he/she needs something and crying is the only way he/she can release his frustration. Don't worry, they'll calm down when they feel comfortable. It happened when we were headed home. Didn't last long because as the plane took off, he fell asleep. I guess he was just hot and tired. Our flight was at night and it was raining. I'm happy that we arrived home safe. Tired but, safe.

When I wasn't a parent yet, traveling by plane was an easy task and it was a time when I could sip coffee at an airport cafe, read the paper or just people watch. With a kid, it's a whole new ball game because most of the time I'm fidgeting to make my child as comfortable as I can or I'm running all over the place trying to chase after him. But, overall it was an experience... which I'll do again when he's a bit older. ☺️

(Originally published 12/13/17)
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  1. Thanks for the tips about traveling with a toddler. I have mostly traveled solo, but I have always felt for the parents traveling with children.

  2. Yes, it's very difficult to travel with kids. Always have to prepared.

  3. Moms have to always be like Girl Scouts...prepared for the unexpected. Most especially at the airport and airplane.

  4. Well at the airport you can still purchase items that you need last minute. On the plane, you really need to make sure that you have everything at arms length. Hard to rummage through bags in those tiny spaces they call seats.

  5. BANDAR TERBAIK Klik Dan Dapatkan BONUS sekarang Juga!!!


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