How to Survive Holiday Travel Disasters With Your Toddler

toddler and mother in airport

Are you dreading the big holiday flight with your toddler? Deep breath, parents! You can do this. First tip: Arrange your flight schedule around your toddler's nap times. Ha! I'm totally kidding about that one. That is impossible. Okay, moving on. Seriously, you can prepare for a few of the most common worst-case scenarios. All it takes is a little preparation and a whole lot of letting go of perfection.


1. Everyone on the plane hates you and your kids. That's not true! As soon as you get settled, look around for allies -- the few sympathetic adults who at least won't give you the evil eye and at best might even help you out. Smile and be really, really grateful. If someone lets your child watch something on their iPad, buy them a beer.

2. Freak allergy attack. One year on an overnight, trans-Atlantic flight, my son randomly broke out in hives for the first time in his entire life. There was itching, and screaming, and crying. Fortunately, the airline attendants had anti-itch ointment that made it stop. But just in case, make sure you have some emergency supplies on hand.

3. Horrible case of the wiggles. What 2-year-old can stand sitting still for 5 hours straight? None of them! Which is why you will be taking your toddler for about 500 walks up and down the aisles. No need to volunteer the walks before the wiggles set in. Wait until you see the signs. Try to time your walks around the food and beverage carts (maybe even give flight attendants a heads-up) and be sure to trade off with your spouse.

4. Sick and fussy. Of course your toddler has a cold, it's the holidays and you're traveling! No holds barred: come prepared with everything you need to make your toddler comfortable. This is about survival. Call your doctor and get their opinion on giving your toddler Benadryl or other medications before the flight.

5. Big poo disaster. Or vomit. This is why you must always, always carry plenty of wipes and extra diapers, a change of clothes, and a plastic garbage bag. Remain calm. One of you is on seat clean-up duty. The other parent whisks the toddler off to the bathroom for clean-up part 2. You are both on duty in this scenario -- make sure your DH knows this in advance.

No problemo! Right? Remember to breathe. And make sure you're prepared for these scenarios so you'll survive your flight.

Have you flown recently with your toddler? What are your flight-survival tips?


Read More >