We were so nervous to fly with Evelyn for the first time and it started out pretty rough, but we were pros by the time we returned home! We learned a lot along the way, so I wanted to share some tips with you for flying with a toddler. Read on to learn about what worked for us and what didn’t!
- Passport – We went to the post office to get Evelyn’s passport about two and a half months before our trip, which was cutting it close for not having to pay the expedited passport fee. Both my husband and I had to be present to apply for her passport. There was extra paperwork you could fill out if only one parent could go, but we were both able to take her. Side note: They do allow toddlers to smile in passport photos and Evie had the biggest smile on her face! But don’t let her fool you, she was having a tantrum the entire time and we almost didn’t get a picture out of her!
- Lap Child Flight Ticket – Since Evelyn is under two years old we did not purchase a seat for her. However, once I purchased my ticket I had to call Delta to add a lap child to my reservation. Since we were traveling internationally we had to pay for the taxes and fees to bring her into another country. Delta charged that cost to me over the phone and mailed me the paper tickets that we were SUPPOSED to bring with us. I completely forgot and we showed up to the airport without them! Luckily, Delta was nice enough not to charge me again and turned it into an electronic ticket. I think the agent felt bad for us dealing with so much luggage and a toddler trying to run out of our reach during check-in.
- Airport Security – We bought a travel stroller to use in the airport which was nice for pushing her around and even hanging lighter bags from the handles, allowing us to be a little more hands-free. We did have to put the stroller through the security check. Taking her out and strapping her back in was a bit of a hassle to put it lightly. She also had a bottle of milk with her. They had us uncap the bottle for them so that they could swab it for explosives, or whatever they check, and then gave it back to us. Some airports do have stroller lines, so make sure you ask because the line is much shorter! Mentally prepare yourselves for this part being difficult! Evelyn wanted to keep moving so standing in line and dealing with having to take our shoes off, taking out electronics, and getting her out of her stroller was a headache!
- Waiting Area – Whew! We made it through security. Once we were at our gate, we let her run around taking turns watching our carry-on luggage and chasing her so she could get some energy out. We also purchased more milk from a food vendor. Sometimes they will have milk on the plane as part of beverage service, but one of our flights was out, so don’t rely on that. We did a diaper change and also fed her to make sure she was nice and full for the flight in hopes she’d take a nice long nap. (Ha!)
- Take-Off – A flight attendant gave us the advice to encourage her to suck on her bottle during take-off to help release any pressure that might build up in her ears. I also massaged her ears just in case and she seemed to like that.
- In-Flight Entertainment – Bring new items that your child has never seen before so that they are extra exciting to play with on the plane. We brought stickers, books, and small toy characters. The winning toy was a little Sesame Street bus with Elmo and Cookie Monster inside that ended up being the favorite toy the entire trip. (Thank you Gigi for bringing this along!) We also brought kid headphones and loaded up our iPad with movies and a new app called Kidloland. It comes with over 300 nursery rhymes, songs and educational games. There is a free section, but we have a subscription that gave us access to everything. (I’m giving away THREE 6-months subscriptions to Kidloland, so make sure you keep reading to learn how to enter!) Evelyn loved the interactive app with lots of changing scenes and fun pictures to touch and play with.
- General Tips – Have patience! No matter how well you prepare traveling is hard on kids. Our first leg of the trip, Evelyn ended up being “that screaming kid” on the plane for about 15 minutes which felt like forever to us as we were trapped with nowhere to hide! We made it through and she was fine the rest of the trip. She slept in our arms and we just kept feeding her snacks, changing up activities and doing the best we could! Don’t let it scare you from going on a trip of a lifetime. You can do it and it will be worth it!
Now, I promised you a giveaway! I’m excited for you to get the chance to win a 6-month subscription to the Kidloland App. It’s super easy to enter. Simply like this Instagram post and follow the instructions to participate. Good luck and hurry! Contest ends Monday, May 30, 2016.
Check out my post about packing for Costa Rica or any beach trip with a toddler by clicking here.
Disclosure: I received a subscription to Kidloland to review, but all opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.