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Flying With a Toddler? 6 Ways to Make It Less of a Nightmare

Travelling with a toddler in a plane? Keep these tips in mind.

Updated
Parenting
3 min read
Let’s face it. Travelling with a toddler in an airplane can be a nightmare. Be aware and be prepared.
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Summers are for ice-creams, holidays and travel. However, if you have young kids, especially infants and toddlers, you may be nodding a big ‘NO’ unconsciously at the thought. Specially if it involves plane travel.

Infants require diligent care, regular feeds and attention. Toddlers are full of energy, and it's impossible to make them sit still, eat at proper times and sleep when they should. Running behind a toddler is super exhausting even at home and can be overwhelming while travelling. And in tight spaces like planes and trains, it can become a nightmare.

So what do you do? Stay at home in the holidays when everyone else travels?

No, you enjoy happy trips by planning meticulously. Follow our 6 tips for hassle free travel. For yourself and your fellow passengers.

Understanding the Basics

Travel plans begin by booking the plane tickets. Selecting a long direct flight or flights with a short stopover is a personal preference. Direct flight reduces the likelihood of flight delays or missed connections and any alteration of travel plans. However, if you have a hyperactive toddler, it’s better to opt for flights with a short stopover.

Traveling with babies and toddlers involves a detailed study of rules and regulations of airlines. Every airline has a set of rules and knowing what is charged and what is offered for free is crucial.

Check infant fares, checked baggage or hand/carry-on luggage allowance for baby equipment, cost of additional seat for infants (6-23 months) and fares for children over two years, who have to occupy their own seat and free priority boarding.

Double-check the fares, don’t assume that kids less than two years of age can fly free; otherwise some airlines may charge 75% of adult fare without a seat.

Infants under two years of age are required to sit on an adult's lap secured by an extra loop seat belt that fits to the adult's seat.

However, on many international flights, bassinets are available for infants from birth to about eight months old with weight and height restrictions. You can lay your child in the bassinet securely while flying. It has sheets, pillow and blankets. Bassinets need to be requested at the time of booking.

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Preparing Toddlers for Flying

It’s always good to prepare toddlers before flying otherwise they may get scared, cry or refuse to get inside the plane. I remember one passenger having a hard time when her two-year-old daughter insisted on sitting upon the roof of the plane and not ‘inside its stomach’. Explaining the concept of flying with action and sounds can help toddlers get used with the idea of flying.

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Pack the List

Pack light, pack efficiently when travelling with the child.
Pack light, pack efficiently when travelling with the child.
(Photo: iStock)

Make a detailed list of things your kid needs. Let it be a long list and keep it unedited. As plane travel is different from other modes of travel, you cannot be over prepared.

Here is a suggested list: Lots of snacks, few sets of spare clothes, medicines, wipes, first-aid kit, simple games and picture books are essential. Include diapers, diaper bag, tissues and disinfecting gel. Pack a scarf to be used to block plane light or daylight. Don’t forget your toddler’s favourite soft toy.

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Pack Separate Bags

Each kid gets a separate bag.
Each kid gets a separate bag.
(Photo: Pixabay)

Have separate bags for each kid to save time and confusion. Packing a few surprises like a new set of crayons, colouring books or toys for older kids keeps them entertained during the flight.

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Leave Early

Starting early for the airport helps to reach on time and avoid unexpected delays, traffic issues and other emergencies. Once you reach check in as early as you can.

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Make Regular Toilet Visits Mandatory

Frequent toilet visits are a must.
Frequent toilet visits are a must.
(Image: iStock)

Toilet visits at regular intervals are a must. Even if your toddler says she doesn’t need to go, force her to visit. A sulking kid is easy to handle than an embarrassing incident. Don’t feed only fluids or the frequent visits could irritate fellow passengers.

(Nupur Roopa is a freelance writer, and a life coach for mothers. She writes articles on environment, food, history, parenting and travel.)

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