If your like me, the thought of being trapped in a plane with your toddler on your way to your favourite destination, can give you mixed feelings. One of excitement, visions of the perfect family vacation, happy smiles, special memories and family bonding. The other far more frightening feeling of a screaming, rampant , crazy, crying and uncontrollable toddler, causing mass destruction in a small combined space, while being judged by 100 other passengers… That is the feeling that keeps me up night in the leadup to a plane trip. Instead of feeling relaxed, calmly packing my suitcase and preparing for a lovely trip, I’m worried which toddler is going to show up on the day.
Odin has been travelling on planes since he was 2 months old, some successful trips and some not so successful. But I have picked up a few tricks along the way that you might find useful when taking your next flight…
Special plane toys
A few days before travelling, I take Odin to Kmart (because it’s super cheap) and let him pick out some special toys that he is allowed to take on the plane. Obviously they have to be quite small but there are so many options and I generally only spend about $20. A few things we have gotten are:
- Matchbox cars
- Colouring books
- Animal figures
- Mini Thomas trains that connect
- Monkeys in a barrel
Lots of snacks
Toucan never, ever have to many snacks. So many times I have been on a flight with Odin and they have not had anything appropriate for him to eat. They either don’t have a toddler meal or try to pack him full of sugary treats. Not exactly what you want your little person eating on a long haul flight. Some of my suggestions include:
- Rice crackers
- Fruit (Berries, apple, grapes and banana)
- One packet of jelly lollies
- Muesli bar
- Small biscuits (tiny teddies)
- Empty water bottle (fill it up on the plane as they don’t allow liquids through security)
When Odin turned 2 I stopped bringing a stroller when we travelled, because I wasn’t really using it and it was just another thing to carry. But this can make going through the airport a challenge, especially if you are rushing or carrying a few bags. So I bought Odin a Trunki for him to use, which is basically a children’s carry on suitcase with wheels. Best thing ever! Odin is able to sit on the trunki while we wait for check-in and it has a strap that I can pull so that Odin can ride on it through the airport. It also has lots of storage space, so all of Odins toys and snacks fit inside. When they get a bit older, kids can still ride the trunki but use their own legs to glide through the airport.
I know that most planes have television screens, but if your like me and have a very fussy toddler, sometimes only one movie or show will do. So I bought a portable DVD player for about $129 and it was worth every cent. It came with a case that can by attached the head rest of a car, it also has a power cord and USB connector. I pack about 5 of the favourite DVD’s, make sure its fully charged and bring some headphones. Sometimes the plane ones aren’t very good for toddlers.
Yes aeroplanes generally have blankets, but I have been on interstate flights and flown business class and they did not have any on board. Not ideal when it’s nap time for your baby and they have nothing to snuggle under. It can be the difference between having a nap and having an overtired, grumpy toddler.
Warm and comfortable clothing
It might be sunny where you are or where you are going, but once that plane takes off it starts to get pretty chilli really quickly. Make sure you pack am extra layer for put on and Odin always wear trackie pants, he might as well be comfortable. If we are arriving somewhere tropical, I also make sure to pack some summer clothes to put on Odin just before arrival. Nothing worse than waiting in a long airport line with a hot and tired toddler. Also spare clothes incase of little accidents…