Tips For Traveling With Young Kids

Tips For Traveling With Young Kids

We’ve been traveling pretty extensively since our little one was born.  We took her on 12 flights in her first 12 months! In the process, we’ve picked up a few tips to make traveling easier on ourselves and those around us. Read on to find out some of my favorite tips for traveling with Young kids! (Please note, this post may contain affiliate links, through which you can purchase items at NO extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting this site.)

To buy a ticket or not?

If your child is under two, you are not required to buy a ticket.  This means that you’ll have to hold your little one in your lap.  Which means you’ll have a decision to make…hold your child for the entire flight, or pony up some money for their own ticket.  For us, we took advantage of the lap baby discount.  We knew our daughter’s personality – and as a snuggle bug, she’d be most comfortable in our arms.  Some kids prefer to be in a car seat and not constantly touched and held, and a separate ticket may make more sense. If you’re deciding to take advantage of the “Lap baby discount” just note the following:

  • If you get to pick your own seat, like on my FAVORITE AIRLINE, then make sure you avoid sitting in the emergency exit row, as you need to be at least 15 years old.
  • A less known rule is that you can only have one lap child per row. Something to keep in mind if you are traveling with twins, but also note that on the chance that another parent is flying with a lap baby in your row, one of you might have to be flexible.
  • Typically lap children are not included in the catering. This might not be a big deal if you’re just hopping a quick flight to Disney, and often flight attendants will have extra meals and you can just ask for one. I do like to be safe and pack a few drinks and snacks just in case.

Be Prepared:

Did you know that most airlines will let you carry on a diaper bag IN ADDITION to a carry on bag plus small personal item?  They do!  This is a great way to stash a few extra items to make your flight more comfortable.  Your goal is to make your child more comfortable, and less bored.  We are light packers by nature but really see the value in packing the following items.

Comfort items:

  1. Make sure to pack items that will help relieve ear pressure.  Ear pressure during takeoff and landing can be very uncomfortable for adults, let alone for tiny humans with tiny ear drums.  For very small children, nursing them during takeoff and landing is ideal.  If you’re not able to do that, try offering a pacifier, bottle of milk, or even your finger to suck on. If your child is a bit older, sippy cups filled with milk or juice help, or even gummy worms to chew on.  Even better when it’s a treat they never get at home! *Keep in mind that even with the new travel restrictions, you are ABSOLUTELY able to bring small bottles of juice and milk onboard for your small child.
  2. A small thin sheet or blanket.  Airplanes can be cold and drafty so you’ll want to be prepared with a sheet or blanket.  You can also use it to play games like “peek-a-book”, put it over your head to play “hide and seek” with the baby, or bunch it up into a pillow.
  3. We are not germaphobes by nature, but airplanes armrests and tray tables are almost never wiped down.  If you bring along some wet wipes or antibacterial wipes to quickly wipe down both, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable when you see your little one putting snacks directly on the trays.
  4. It’s also a good idea to pack a change of clothes and some empty ziplock blacks to hold wet or dirty clothes.  Diaper leaks and drink spills are common.
Hanging out with the totem poles on a recent trip to Alaska!
Hanging out with the totem poles on a recent trip to Alaska!

Interesting items to fend off boredom:

  1. Toys and activities – We like to stock up on small sticker books, coloring books, and crayons – all from the dollar store.  We look for the triangular crayons (like these:  Crayola 8ct Triangular Crayons) as they don’t roll off the tray table and small coloring books because they are easy to discard once all the sheets are colored. For younger kids, sensory picture books and soft blocks are great.  Here are some of my favorite travel books for young kids! For the older ones – nothing beats play dough and some small cookie cutters.
  2. Tech – For our almost 4 year old, we also take along some tech – a LeapPad or iPad, an old iPhone preloaded with games.  We have friends who bring along a portable dvd player preloaded with movies. We try to only pull these out in case of emergencies and we’ve found that if you take these away for a couple weeks leading up to the trip, kids are super excited about them.
  3. Travel scrapbook – this is fun for the slightly older ones.  We pack a composition book, safety scissors and a gluestick.  Encourage the kids to cut out interesting bits of travel related paper to stick in their travel scrapbook.  Plane ticket stubs, airplane napkins, images from a travel brochure or map from the airport travel kiosk, etc are all fun to cut out and paste into your travel scrapbook.  Also encourage your kids to think about what they want to do on their trip or what they are most excited about it, and jot it down around their travel collages.  This is a great keepsake for the trip AND keeps the kids (quietly!) occupied.

Do you have any tips for traveling with kids to share? 


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