Air Travel with Young Kids- Tips and Tricks


air travel with young kids

We recently took our first flight with two kids (four and under). I have to say I was worried- ok more terrified about flying with two young kids. However, it was smooth sailing!! Here are a few things that we did to keep things stress free and relaxing!!

Gummy bears and lollipops

Before our flight I “practiced” a lot with our four-year-old regarding the gum chewing. However, I knew our two-year-old was just not ready to take that on yet. A fellow preschool mom recommended that I give him gummy bears instead. It totally worked! Gummy bears are a little harder to chew then fruit snacks and it totally did the trick of popping his ears during takeoff and landing.

I had also packed those little lollipops- Dum Dums. Those worked great too. As they sucked on them, their ears popped! The reason I liked those more, they were not that big so they were not getting a ton of sugar before having to sit still for a long flight.


Have security items pre-bagged

Right before our recent trip I saw a Today Show segment about how the bins in airports secretly are dirtier (have more germs) then the airport toilet seat! Mom panic set in right away! You see- my greatest fear was that someone was going to get sick on our trip and our trip was going to be ruined. After all the saving to pay for it, I could just see all of us stuck at the condo with the stomach bug.

So, I had the idea to pre-bag all of our stuff for security. I HAVE TO TELL YOU, it made going through security with two young kids so much easier!!

I put each Kindle, iPad, and electronics in a zip lock bag. We took out the bag, put it in the bin and after security we tossed the bag. It prevented the items from touching the dirty bins and it made it so much easier to just pull the bags out rather then search for each item in our carry on.


Stroller bag

I am madly in love with our “umbrella stroller”. I purchased it from a garage sale this summer for $8 and it’s the most coveted thing I currently own!

Its light weight, it reclines for sleeping kids, its big enough for our super tall four-year-old, there is storage below, and most important the handles are tall so it’s easy for us to push without having to bend over. I just love it! So, the thought of it being banged around on the plane gave me a panic attack.

I bought this stroller bag off amazon for $15 (at the time) and it was a life saver! It also rolled up small into its own pouch. It has a space on the outside to write your contact info in case it gets lost. It just worked out great! (I WOULD NEVER TRAVEL WITHOUT THIS BAG!!)

We used the bag through security and then pushed the youngest, who was still half asleep early that morning, around the airport. Before we boarded, we just checked the stroller at the gate (inside the bag). The Stroller was waiting right outside the plane when we landed which made it easier to get to baggage claim with two excited kids in tow!



Take off bag

I had the great idea of packing each kid a “take off” bag! I knew they would want to dig in their bags, spilling stuff all over the floor, want to wrestle around during take off. So, I  packed a small pouch they got to hold during take off.

Inside was the following:

Gum (gummy bears for the younger one)


A zip lock bag for trash during the flight and a sickness bag (just in case)

A small toy (car or princess)

A small activity

Sanitizer wipes (to wipe everything down- germs icky!)

A travel “lovie” (a blanket they love)

This worked out great to have everything for that first half an hour accessible and right there. I did not have to bend over on my head digging through my bag looking for something!

air travel with kids

Get there early – board early

Kids pick up on our stress. So, if you are relaxed, they will be relaxed.

I wanted to get to the airport early- like really early! We arrived for our international flight three hours early- excessive yes! However, here is why-

You never know about security- it can take you ten minutes to get through it or two hours. Especially with young kids in tow! I also wanted time to let them run, to wear off energy and excitement before they had to sit still for hours on end. I wanted to have time for multiple potty breaks, and snacks also.

Most importantly- I wanted them to take it in! I wanted time for them to watch other planes take off. For them to watch the crew load bags on planes. To watch the excitement and breath it in!

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Wiki sticks and window clings

I had seen all over Pinterest about window clings for an activity for kids on flights. So of course, I packed some. However, the two-year-old never used them on the window. Instead we used them on the tray table. Building scenes, stacking them, and yes at times ripping them apart. At the time I was in survival mode after an hour of wresting him nonstop.

The saving grace where these Wiki Sticks! Both of my kids loved them! You can build things with them and pull them apart to start all over again. They were great!!! They are like wax covered pipe cleaners, that stick together. So worth the money, hands down!!



Surprises along the way!

I had little things I could pull out when things got crazy. Such as the taxi ride to the condo, waiting for bags, any time I felt there was a melt down on the way.

Small snacks, toys, basically anything new and exciting to distract them. I could pull them out of my bag and defuse the situation before it got worse.


 Pull ups and no shame

I put both of my kids (ages 4 and 2) in pull ups for the flight and I have no shame about it!! Here is why: yes, they both are fully potty trained.  However, I knew it was going to be a long flight. I knew there were going to be times we would not be able to get up and use the bathroom on the plane.

As any mom knows- kids will need to use the restroom when it’s the least convenient!

I was so thankful I had done this on our last trip! On our recent return flight, we had some turbulence and the seat belt sign was on for 90% of the flight! Even if it hadn’t been on, there was no way I was taking a four-year-old to the bathroom and bouncing around that tiny room with that sprinkler.

Make sure you pack extra diapers and wipes. Incase there is a flight delay, or your stuck on the runway longer then you expected, or worst case your bag gets lost. It’s nearly impossible to find diapers for sale at the airport incase you need more. (ALWAYS pack at least double of what you think you will need!)


Have a change of clothes in your carry on

It doesn’t matter if it’s an exploded diaper, a motion sickness kids, a bumpy flight or a cup of apple juice- the whole family NEEDS a change of clothes in your carry on. You will need them in the carry on so you have access to them midflight. Make sure you pack these clothing changes in zip lock bags, so you can put the wet clothes in them when you change.

air travel


You won’t know when you will land and if you will have time to grab lunch before you get to the hotel. Things come up and any mom knows you need to have the next snack on hand. Keeping them fed will keep them happy.

I over packed snacks- however I don’t regret it at all. I had snacks on hand when we needed them and things had come up when I knew it was going to prevent us from feeding them their next meal.