How to Survive Holiday Travel Disasters With Your Toddler

Being a Mom 25

airplaneAre 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?


Image via Kossy@FINEDAYS/Flickr

toddler activities, travel


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Melis... Melissa042807

We have friends who fly quite a bit with their toddler, and one of their tricks is in the weeks leading up to the trip they quietly slip a few of his favorite toys into hiding (kiddo doesn't know they're gone) and put them in a special bag to take on the plane. Once they're in the air, hello favorite toys! Yay! 

slw123 slw123

We used to book the earliest flight possible so the kids would sleep once the flight got underway.

Chari... Charizma77

My kids have never been on a plane and they are 7 and 5. We really don't have a reason to fly. Maybe some day.

lalas... lalasmama2007

When my DD was a toddler we planned our flight time around DD's nap time.  She slept for most of the flight =)

allie... alliesmom112

We have never flown with Allie but we did get stuck in traffic one Thanksgiving when she had food poisoning and it was awful

Curio... Curious11

My son is 8 months old and we have already done 3 flights... all by myself.  It makes me smile a special smile when people assume that I'll be having help from daddy. 

Tricks I've used...

My 8 month old loves sucking on fresh cut apples so I have some in a ziplock, ready to go. 

We walk the aisles and 'talk' to people.  He's a smiley baby so people usually love to talk to him... especially older passengers.

It's not impossible.  Early morning flights work well for getting an hour or so relief when he's napping. 

I'm already looking up suggestions about what to do when he's older... I like the 'hide the toy for a week before the flight' trick and 'bring a garbage bag'.  Thanks!


never flown with a toddler.

Saman... Samanthamommy

Not traveling this season.

iam4you2 iam4you2

My kids have never been on a plane 

Bmat Bmat

I like all of the suggestions! Thank you. The only thing I could add would be to have  some new or even old toys wrapped in gift paper for the child to open and play with.

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