We flew with “Tink” to Walt Disney World right before and after her first birthday. I am thankful I wasn’t flying alone with her on that first voyage but I am ready to take on the challenge this fall. Tink is a very active, curious, and social little girl. Expecting her not to be this way on a plane full of new people to wave at would have been wrong.
As usual, my husband and I overprepared and overworried. I had enough toys and snacks for Tink’s whole playgroup. When it came down to it, she didn’t need much. We gave her a bottle during each takeoff to help with pressure in her ears. Thankfully our flights were all fairly close to a mealtime, so that helped her keep some sort of a schedule. I had a cup with juice and water for her as well. Be aware that the Nuby spout cup doesn’t handle the pressure of flight well. It’s a great cup on land but not the best for flight day. Tink didn’t want to eat much on travel days so the apple crisps, yogurt drops, and raisins were lifesavers.
We gate checked Tink’s stroller in each city. It was great to have a safe place for her to be while we were gathering luggage and paperwork and she even napped in the stroller during one of our layovers in Houston. As far as toys and books, a couple of small toys and one book would have been enough. We didn’t let Tink play with the safety instruction card until our last flight when a flight attendant gave her one. She said they have many of them on the plane. It turned out to be more entertaining than the SkyMall catalogs Tink had been destroying.
We didn’t spring for an official seat for Tink but were thrilled that we ended up with an extra seat on our row 3 of 4 flights. That additional space where she could wiggle and play peek-a-boo with the people behind us was wonderful. And if you have an iPod Touch or iPhone, that’s the secret weapon. Toddler Phone is Tink’s favorite app and even Fisher-Price has apps available. Remember when See and Say was huge? Now it is an app and in the palm of your hand.
The best things I can tell you to pack for travel with a baby or toddler are your sense of humor and lots of patience. Even if it goes bad, you’ll be at your destination soon and you probably won’t see those people again.
What tips and tricks do you have to share? We came up with a great plan for having an empty seat on our row with Southwest, but you’ll have to email me for that one.
Contributed by: Amy E (NDM#242). Amy is our resident baby expert and creator of Growing Up Disney.