Kya is nearing three years old and has already been on 33 flights in her short life! I get asked a lot about flying with a baby/toddler and what works for me. I do a lot of flying without my husband so I've learned some survival tips along the way! Flying with him and one kid is a breeze. Flying alone with Kya has been easy at times and hard at times. The newborn + infant flying stage was the easiest in a lot of ways. And now that she has her own seat it's pretty easy. That in between, mobile, sitting-on-my-lap stage - not the easiest! It's been a while since she was a baby, so I'm having a hard time bringing to mind all the things that worked back then. Today, I'm specifically sharing my favorite must-haves for flying with a toddler!
Car Seat Cover
We normally travel with our car seat and check it through to the destination. We've used this cover since Kya was a newborn and just now (almost three years later) we need to order a new one. It's done a good job protecting our seat from damage!
When Kya was a baby, I flew with her full travel system (jogging stroller + infant seat) and checked both pieces at the gate. I also used to bring a wrap or structured carrier for times that she needed to be worn. Flying with a toddler necessitates less stuff which is so nice! Of course, if you have an additional, younger child - then you take way more stuff! Because we just have one child we take a simple umbrella stroller which can be quickly folded up and left at the gate before boarding. It makes getting around the airport faster than having her walk the whole time. Sometimes we're speeding around trying to catch a train or make it to our gate on time! We have this umbrella stroller. It's not expensive and does the trick!
After the diaper bag was no longer a necessity, I bought Kya her own backpack to keep her toys, snacks, tablet/headphones, and water bottle in for traveling. These Skip Hop toddler backpacks are very popular and are a great price! Amazon sells 25 options! Kya loves her owl one.
Melissa & Doug Water Wow Books
These activity books are the cat's meow when it comes to travel. Non-messy, water only coloring. They dry quickly for reusing over and over again throughout the day. I plan to grab Kya a new set for our trip in a couple of weeks!
Tablet + Kids' Headphones
My sister-in-law gave us a set of headphones last year to use for travel. We normally put limits on screen time in our home but travel days have no restrictions because it's survival mode! We bring Kya's Kindle Fire (with Netflix shows downloaded ahead of time) and a set of headphones for her to use. LIFESAVING.
Dollar Store Toys
Kids need things to keep their interest while traveling and the Dollar Store is a great place to get a whole bunch of new odd and ends for cheap! I love to grab four or five items that I save until we get to the airport or into the airplane. When the trip is over, I usually throw them away (because I cannot handle cheap toys cluttering up my house). That $5 is well spent and gets us through our trips!
Stickers have always been a huge hit with Kya while traveling. They keep her attention for quite a long time. I plan to order this Melissa & Doug Reusable sticker book for our upcoming trip!
Snacks, Snacks, and More Snacks
You can never have enough snacks on a plane (both for yourself and your child)! I usually take a mix of goodies that are different from what we normally keep at home (like fruit snacks and packaged snack crackers) along with some fresh items (like apples, grapes, and carrots). I am in the habit of using disposal snack bags, but would love to start using reusable snack bags like these!
Yes, I know. It's gross. But it's reality. My toddler (and many kids) get air sick. Turbulence really bothers Kya. She has thrown up in airplanes quite a few times. And it's BAD BAD BAD if you're not prepared! Up to this point, I've always relied on the paper bags in the back of the seats. But recently, I have noticed they don't always restock them and I'm left asking for some (which is annoying)! I plan to bring a few with me on this trip. I bought these to keep with me when I was pregnant with Kya and still have some leftover. I'm also planning to try these Sea Bands and Dramamine for this trip!
You never know what might happen so always, always, always bring extra clothes (and underwear if needed) for your toddler. It could be a massive spill, a throw up incident, or a potty accident. I pack two sets of clothes + underwear in Kya's backpack just to be safe. She's never had a huge spill or potty accident while traveling, but she does throw up often. Better safe than sorry!