Mommy Files: How to Survive Long Flights with Toddlers

Before becoming a mother, I traveled quite a lot. From short 2 hour flights to London or Venice, to 12 hour flights to Shanghai or Seoul but I loved the “airport life”. After giving birth to my son I still traveled but it would always be by car or solo flights to visit friends. Something about the idea of traveling with an infant or toddler really made me nervous and I always put it off. But since my husband’s family lives in Texas we did want to visit them, which meant biting the bullet and putting L. on that flight.

So here’s what I learned from our experience:

  • Pack all kids essentials in a carry-on suitcase just for them. This means diapers, wipes, clothes, toys, books, snacks and any other essentials they need.
  • Pack at least 2 outfits in case of accidents.
  • If they are young enough, an umbrella stroller is a lifesaver and can be checked at the gate.
  • Pack empty sippycups, granted the TSA allows liquids for small children but I wanted to avoid the headache and waited till we were on the flight. The flight attendants do not mind filling the sippy cup for you and you can request as many refills as you need. Don’t be afraid to ask, they are happy to help.
  • Buy extra snacks for them to eat, you can bring most foods through the security check. Airlines have very over-the-top meals that a picky eater might not eat. Mine only wanted the bread from his meal tray.
  • Bring a car seat! If you have bought a seat for your little one, bring a car seat onto the plane. You can strap them in and know they won’t try to escape and are a probably more comfortable. If you don’t want to bring it onto the plane, you can also check it at the gate.


The details for the Kiddo Carry-On:

  • 2 Outfits (Accidents will happen)
  • Diapers for each hour spent traveling (including layover time.)
  • Wipes
  • Books
  • Toys for every hour of the flight
  • Headphones
  • Blanket
  • Stuffed Animal that they love
  • Tablet with games and shows (it’s okay to bend the rules this once)


When boarding the flight you typically will have priority since you need extra time and assistance with your little one. From start to finish, everyone was so helpful since we were traveling with a toddler.

But most importantly: It’s hard, but don’t be bothered by people giving you dirty looks if your child is upset. It is just as stressful for the little ones like it is for us.


Happy Travels!

MNL Signature


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