Toddler Airplane Survival Checklist


My husband and I always say “vacations start at the airport!“ There is no better way to start a vacation or trip than being physically (and mentally) prepared, especially with toddlers in tow. Here is a quick checklist for a successful plane ride with toddlers.

  • Comfortable, easy to put on shoes for the kids. Getting through security with slip on shoes for the kids is a game changer. I usually put the kids in Natives or Crocs. 

  • Let the kids run around the airport before boarding to blow off some energy.

  • For toddlers in the process or newly potty trained, I highly recommend getting them to use the “big potty” in the airport before boarding the plane. Airplane washrooms are small and the flush is very loud! Not very toddler friendly. To save your toddler the embarrassment and you the mess, I also put them in a pull-up for the plane ride. Peace of mind for everyone. 

  • A well packed “kids” carry on bag. I pack each kid a change of clothes. Accidents happen. We love Rowdy Sprouts; their tees are so soft and perfect for long travel days. Bring sweatshirts and socks. Planes can be chilly. Diapers, wipes, change pad, bottles and sippy cups. I always fill up bottles and sippy cups prior to heading to the airport. (TSA will do a quick test of the liquids). Always better to be safe than sorry if the airport or plane doesn’t carry what your kids normally drink.

  • ALL THE SNACKS. I prepack all the kid’s favorite (mess free) snacks. The Fluf snack bags are perfect for this. I also include a special treat like cookies or a “candy.”

  • I usually leave toys in our checked luggage. A lovey or one favorite toy on the plane works. Anything more and you’ll spend the whole flight searching for fallen toys. 

  • Fully charged iPads (screen time is a savior on planes.) If your kids don’t normally get screen time, it will be a special (and distracting) treat on the plane. Make sure you have shows and movies downloaded, as some planes don’t offer Wi-Fi. Also, hold off on giving them their iPads until take off.

  • An umbrella stroller that fits in the overhead compartment. THIS IS A LIFE SAVER! We use the BabyZen YoYo. Not only does it fit in the overhead compartment, but it also fits down most plane isles. This is so helpful as it will give you a few extra hands free seconds while boarding and there is no waiting for your checked carry on once you’ve landed. 

  • GO WITH THE FLOW. Toddlers can be unpredictable. Be easy on yourself. Don’t stress over a few toddler tears or tantrums. Chances are most passengers have been in your shoes once or twice. And when in doubt... more snacks! You’ll be landing before you know it!

(written by Cass)


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