Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Steamed Napkins, Suckers, and Other Stay-Sane Remedies for Traveling with Toddlers

On Sunday morning, Beau, Cruz, and I will climb aboard a plane and travel across the country to Lake Tahoe, California.  Beau won a trip through work last year, and we are excited to take Cruz on his first big vacation sans our own car.  We've done several day trips with Cruz Man, a few overnight stays, and had a great time spending a few days in Chicago last summer, but this will be our first 'major' vacation with Cruz in tow, our first time checking bags and traveling via plane, and our first time finding our way through one of the busiest airports in the world for our connecting flight.  I'm nervous, I'm super excited, and I'm hoping to be one planned mama for a smooth sailing (or flying) trip to the other side of the United States.

Cue look of horror...  


I'm looking to the blogosphere for advice.  Other mamas who have traveled in the air with busy, rambunctious, and unpredictable little people, and your sure-fire tips, must-haves, and remedies for staying sane (and keeping the other fliers happy) on a four-hour flight with a toddler.  

Here are some of the wonderful tips and ideas I've heard thus far, as well as a few other ideas I've come up with.  

-Suckers, gummy bears, and other sweet treats to chew on as the pressure changes.  I've also heard pacifiers work??  I worry about his little ears, and want to make sure we're proactive about making sure they're snap, crackle, and poppin' on that plane.

-Steamed napkins in styrofoam cups in case their little ears hurt.  I love this idea!

-New toys to pull out as surprises during the flight.  This is a great idea.  Any suggestions on quiet, engaging, and small toys that keep your little one enthralled for longer periods at a time?

-iPads, DVD players, laptops, etc.  We have an iPad and plan to download lots of new Elmo games, but I wonder about headphones.  Suggestions on nice headphones for babies?

We plan to bring a smaller jogging stroller with us to the airport (especially for O'Hare), and I purchased a 'check bag' to stuff the stroller in to gate check it before boarding.  I want to buy snacks ahead of time, and wonder if we're allowed to bring this in our carry-on bag.  I've always purchased snacks in the airport, and have never tried to get anything through security.  Any tricks for packing Cruz's favorite snacks in his bag ahead of time?

Am I forgetting anything?  Other ideas or thing to be aware of?  Tips, success stories, or life lessons learned after not-so-good experiences?  I'm hoping to post the rest on a follow-up post after our trip. 

Thanks for your help!      


  1. These are all great ideas! Just keep him entertained and keep him sucking on something during ascent/descent. Another plan.... go stand in the galley with him if he's getting antsy. They flight attendants are ok with it and he might like to be alone with you or your husband (or zone out with a favorite toy).

  2. Just wanted to tell you, I tried to put headphones on Cruz at the library & he wasn't having it!! He screamed & ran!! Love, Mom

  3. hi! my baby is almost 15 mos and we travel quite a bit - he's been on about 20 flights :) bring plenty of ziploc bags -- for dirty diapers, for snacks, and for small toys. you can go to the dollar store and purchase a handful of small toys (and then take out one new toy every 30 minutes). car toys and balls might be tricky since you'll probably never see them again when your baby drops it and it starts rolling down the floor. :)

    great idea on the steamed napkins! i've never tried that before!

    airport security are generally more understanding if you have a baby in tow. they should be able to let your snacks in. for milk/drinks for him, you're only allowed to bring enough for the duration of the flight.

    make sure you change his diaper 10 minutes before boarding.

    if little cruz throws a tantrum and all eyes are on you, just remember that you paid for your seats and they all just need to deal with it! :D

    that's all i can think of right now. sorry for the long reply! have fun!

  4. Don't forget your carseat-invest in a nice carseat travel bag (amazon) so it doesn't get beat up. Free to check. The Ipad has been our live saver when flying with our toddler. Don't worry about headphones...no one around us has ever minded much. It is noisy enough in the plane that hardly anyone will hear it. There is this great Sesame Street book that has about 40 flaps to lift per page...huge hit and kept her entertained for hours. Photo album? Our little one LOVES to flip through pictures. Good Luck! It will go great!

  5. Most airports have family security lines (at least MSP does) so hit that up and you'll be MUCH more relaxed trying to get you and your gear through security because you're surrounded by other people just like you. It's usually at the far ends of the airport.

    I would be cautious about letting little man walk around for fear of him not wanting to sit back down in his seat after that… but he might be just fine, too.

    Ask for a bulkhead seat when you check in – the more room the better and we've found airlines to be very accommodating for children.

    Above all, do NOT worry about the other passengers. It is not your job to make sure they have a happy and pleasant flight. You paid for your seats just like they did and it's four hours of their life so they can deal with it.

  6. You WILL survive!!!!!!!!!!! All my advice---sounds like you have some great plans and trust me, between the two of you, you will be fine. I think I get more anxious before the flight, but once you are on, then there is nothing else you can do:) All these people had great tips for you!


  7. Good luck!! Just remember to not worry about other people and what they think!! Stopping by from the blog hop and am now your newest follower:) Hope you can come check out Crazy Mama Drama !



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