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.

2 thoughts on “FLYING WITH A TODDLER

  1. iPhones/iPods and iPads are GREAT when it comes time to travel with kids. They’re video and gaming devices all in one. To find the best apps for kids, take a look at LunchboxReviews.Com. We focus on adding, rating and organizing apps for toddlers, preschoolers and young children. LunchboxReviews.Com saves parents time and money by providing a single destination for information about apps for young children. Check us out before your next trip. 🙂

  2. My three kids ages 5, 4 and 2 and pretty seasoned travelers. With my brother and his family in Austin and our trips to WDW, they have seen lots of planes and luckily enjoyed the flights from NH to many different destinations. We love Southwest for the fact that we could take a chance on not purchasing a seat for our youngest (though now we have to pay for her) and it has worked out several times. Our best strategy, as people are loading onto the plane, be changing your child’s diaper on the seat. I am not kidding! The Southwest attendant told us that is the only place to change babies since their planes do not have changing tables in the bathrooms. Though now, knowing that’s what people do, I bringing disinfecting wipes to clean the seats before putting my kids in them!

    My advice is for preboarding and making it through security. At the Manchester airport your child can carry nothing through the scanner. This created quite a ruckus when my then 10 month old had to give up her favorite little bear that she brought everywhere with her. Also at that time, we were on our way to WDW and had bought my 3.5 yo a pair of Cars sneakers and my 2 yo a pair of princess sneakers. Both were crying when they had to take them off because they thought TSA was stealing their new Disney shoes. I was completely unprepared for that. Let’s just say I was VERY thankful I brought my parents along to help us get three crying kids through security!

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