Essential Items for Flying with a Toddler

Flying with a Toddler - Must-Have Items

Flying with a toddler can be challenging, but with the right preparation and essential items, the journey can be much smoother and stress-free. In this article, we will cover the necessary items you need to bring when traveling with a toddler by plane.

From planning ahead to packing carry-on essentials, comfort items, changing supplies, and entertainment options, we’ve got you covered with practical tips and advice. Additionally, we’ll address frequently asked questions related to traveling with a toddler. Let’s dive in!

Planning Ahead

When flying with a toddler, it’s essential to plan ahead to ensure a smooth and stress-free journey. Here are some tips to help you prepare:

  1. Book a suitable flight time: Consider your child’s routine and schedule when booking your flight. A daytime flight may be better if your toddler is more active in the morning, while a nighttime flight may work if your toddler is a good sleeper.
  2. Inform the airline: Let the airline know in advance if you need any special assistance, such as pre-boarding or a bassinet on board.
  3. Pack strategically: Plan and pack your carry-on bag with essential items for your toddler, including snacks, entertainment, and comfort items.
  4. Check-in online: Save time and avoid long queues by checking in online before arriving at the airport.
  5. Arrive early: Give yourself plenty of time to get through security, find your gate, and settle in before your flight.
  6. Consider a stroller: A lightweight stroller can be helpful for navigating the airport and can be checked in at the gate.

By planning ahead and being well-prepared, you can minimize stress and ensure a more enjoyable experience when flying with a toddler.

Travel Documents

When traveling with a toddler, it is essential to have the necessary travel documents to ensure a smooth journey. Most airlines have specific requirements for children traveling with an adult, and it is important to be aware of these before booking your flight.

The following is a list of the essential travel documents you should bring when flying with a toddler:

PassportA passport is necessary for international travel, and it should be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your return.
IdentificationBring identification for your toddler, such as a birth certificate or government-issued ID.
VisaIf traveling internationally, make sure to check if a visa is necessary for your toddler’s destination.

It is also a good idea to make copies of all travel documents and keep them in a separate location from the originals. This can help in case of loss or theft during your trip.

Carry-On Bag Essentials

When flying with a toddler, packing a well-stocked carry-on bag is essential for a smooth journey. Here are some items that you should consider including:

ItemReason for inclusion
Diapers and wipesKeep your toddler clean and comfortable during the flight
Change of clothesIn case of spills or accidents
Snacks and non-spill drinksTo keep your toddler fed and hydrated
Entertainment items (toys, books, tablet)To keep your toddler occupied during the flight
HeadphonesTo allow your toddler to watch movies or listen to music without disturbing other passengers
Travel pillow and blanketTo help your toddler sleep during the flight

Be sure to pack these items in a well-organized manner, so that they are easily accessible during the flight. Additionally, keep in mind the airline’s weight and size restrictions for carry-on bags.

Comfort Items

Traveling with a toddler can be a challenging experience, especially on long flights. To help keep your little one comfortable during the flight, it’s important to bring along some essential comfort items.

Blankets and Pillows

Airlines often provide blankets and pillows, but bringing your own can help ensure your toddler has a familiar and comfortable sleep environment. Look for lightweight, compact options that are easy to pack and transport.

Stuffed Animals and Toys

Comfort items like stuffed animals and toys can help soothe and distract your toddler during the flight. Choose a few of your little one’s favorites and pack them in your carry-on bag for easy access.

Noise-Canceling Headphones

If your toddler is sensitive to noise, consider investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones. These can help block out the sounds of the plane and provide a more peaceful environment for your little one.

Remember to pack these comfort items in your carry-on bag for easy access during the flight.

Changing Supplies

When traveling with a toddler, it’s important to be prepared for diaper changes. Make sure to pack enough diapers for the duration of the flight and any potential delays. Bring wipes, a changing pad, and plastic bags for disposal. It’s also a good idea to pack an extra change of clothes in case of a diaper blowout.

Clothing and Weather Considerations

When flying with a toddler, it’s essential to pack clothing appropriate for the destination and weather conditions. Be sure to check the forecast ahead of time to ensure your child is comfortable during the flight and upon arrival.

For warm weather destinations, pack lightweight clothing such as shorts and t-shirts. A sun hat and sunscreen are also recommended to protect your child from the sun’s harmful rays.

If you’re traveling to a cooler climate, make sure to bring warm layers such as sweaters, jackets, and hats. It’s also a good idea to pack gloves and scarves for added warmth.

Regardless of the destination, it’s always a good idea to pack a few extra outfits for your toddler in case of spills or accidents. Make sure to also bring comfortable footwear, especially if you’ll be doing a lot of walking or sightseeing.

Feeding Essentials

When flying with a toddler, it’s important to pack the essential items for feeding your little one. These items can help keep your toddler satisfied and comfortable throughout the flight.

Bottles and Sippy Cups

If your toddler is still using a bottle or sippy cup, make sure to pack enough for the duration of the flight. Bring extra bottles or cups in case of spills or accidents. If you’re bringing a formula, it’s important to check with your airline to see if they have any restrictions or requirements for carrying liquids on the plane.


Snacks are a great way to keep your toddler occupied and happy during the flight. Pack snacks that are easy to eat and not too messy, such as crackers, fruit, or granola bars. If your toddler has any food allergies or dietary restrictions, make sure to bring suitable alternatives.


Don’t forget to pack utensils for feeding your toddler. Bring a spoon and fork if needed, and disposable utensils can be a convenient option to save space in your carry-on. If you’re bringing a jar of baby food, you can also pack a small plastic spoon to feed your toddler on the go.

Formula and Baby Food

If your toddler is still on formula or baby food, make sure to pack enough for the duration of the flight. You can bring pre-made formula or powder formula and mix it with water on the plane. If you’re bringing baby food, opt for jars instead of pouches, as they can be easier to pack and less messy.

Cleaning Supplies

Bring cleaning supplies such as wipes or paper towels to clean up spills and messes. You can also pack a small bottle of dish soap to clean utensils if needed.

By packing the right feeding essentials, you can help ensure that your toddler has a comfortable and enjoyable flight.

Medications and First Aid

When traveling with a toddler, it’s important to be prepared with necessary medications and a basic first-aid kit. Make sure to pack any prescription medications your child needs, as well as over-the-counter remedies for common ailments like headaches and upset stomachs.

It’s also a good idea to bring along a basic first-aid kit containing items like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and gauze pads. If your child has any allergies or specific medical needs, make sure to bring any necessary supplies such as an epinephrine auto-injector or asthma inhaler.

When going through airport security, be sure to declare any medications or medical supplies that you are carrying with you. You may need to provide proof of prescription for some medications.

Entertainment and Distractions

Keeping your toddler entertained and distracted during a flight can make all the difference in having a stress-free journey. Here are some ideas for entertainment and distractions:

  • Bring a variety of toys, such as small cars, dolls, or puzzles, to keep your toddler engaged.
  • Pack some coloring books and crayons to encourage creativity and imagination.
  • Consider bringing electronic devices, such as a tablet or portable DVD player, with pre-downloaded shows or movies.
  • Bring some of your toddler’s favorite books to read together during the flight.
  • Engage your toddler in interactive games, such as “I Spy” or “Simon Says”.
  • Don’t forget to take breaks and allow your toddler to stretch and move around the cabin.

Remember, it’s important to keep your toddler engaged and entertained, but also considerate of other passengers. Try to avoid noisy toys or games that may disturb those around you.

Sleep Essentials

A well-rested toddler is a happy toddler, which is why it’s important to bring along sleep essentials for your flight. Here are some items to consider:

Travel PillowA small, portable pillow that can provide comfort and support for your toddler’s neck and head while sleeping.
BlanketA warm and cozy blanket can help your toddler feel comfortable and secure during the flight.
Noise-Canceling HeadphonesIf you have a light sleeper, consider investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones to help block out loud noises.

Make sure your child is dressed comfortably in clothing that is appropriate for the temperature on the flight and bring along any sleep aids that your child may be accustomed to, such as a favorite stuffed animal or pacifier. With the right sleep essentials, your toddler will be able to rest easy and be ready for the adventures ahead.

Hygiene Supplies

Keeping your toddler clean and germ-free is essential during a flight. It’s important to pack hygiene supplies such as wipes, hand sanitizer, and tissues in your carry-on bag. Here are some other items to consider:

DiapersBring enough diapers for the duration of the flight plus extras in case of delays.
Changing padA portable changing pad is helpful for changing your toddler’s diaper in the airplane restroom.
Plastic bagsBring plastic bags for disposing of dirty diapers and wipes.

Additionally, consider packing a small tube of diaper cream and any medication your toddler may need for allergies or minor illnesses. And don’t forget to wash your hands frequently and encourage your toddler to do the same.

Miscellaneous Items

In addition to the essential items, there are a few other miscellaneous things that are worth bringing when flying with a toddler:

  • Ziplock bags: These come in handy for storing snacks, wet clothes, or dirty diapers.
  • Extra clothes: It’s always a good idea to pack a change of clothes for you and your toddler in case of any spills or accidents.
  • Lightweight stroller: If you’re planning on doing a lot of walking in the airport or at your destination, a lightweight stroller can be very helpful.

These items may not be essential, but they can certainly make your trip easier and more comfortable.


Are lap infants allowed on flights?

Yes, most airlines allow children under the age of 2 to sit on the lap of an adult during the flight. However, it’s important to check with your specific airline for their policies and any fees associated with lap infants.

Do I need to bring a car seat for my toddler?

While it’s not required, it’s highly recommended to bring a car seat for your toddler to ensure their safety during the flight. Check with your airline for their policies on using car seats on the plane and make sure it’s FAA approved.

What should I expect during airport security procedures?

When traveling with a toddler, you may be subject to additional screening at airport security checkpoints. You can help expedite the process by packing all liquids and medications separately and informing the TSA agent of any special requirements for your child.

Can I bring breast milk or formula through airport security?

Yes, you’re allowed to bring breast milk or formula through airport security. Make sure to declare it to the TSA agent and pack it in a separate bag for easy inspection.

What if my toddler has special needs?

If your toddler has special needs, such as a medical condition or disability, contact your airline in advance to discuss any accommodations that may be necessary during the flight.

Can I bring a stroller on the plane?

Most airlines allow you to bring a lightweight stroller on the plane, which can be checked at the gate or stored in overhead compartments. Check with your specific airline for their policies and any fees associated with bringing a stroller.

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