13 of The Best Tips for Flying with a Toddler

I’ll be sharing tips on flying with a toddler. I’ve flown with my kids a couple times and wanted to share some things that helped me. I also reached out to my followers and asked them some of their favorite travel tips as well. Hope these tips can help make traveling with your toddler a little easier!

Flying with a toddler

13 Tips For Flying with a Toddler

Tip 1: Get TSA Pre-check

The first tip for flying with a toddler is to apply for TSA pre-check. TSA pre-check is a faster line through airport security. You can pass through airport security lines without taking off your shoes, removing any electronics or liquids from your bag, or taking off your belt or jacket. 

As a parent traveling with kids this is worth every penny. It cost $85 for five years. If you have children under 12 years and younger they can go through the line with you. You can apply at a TSA pre-check location at your airport. I found this article helpful when I had questions about it.

Tip 2: Car seats

The second tip for flying with a toddler is using a car seat. As many of you know your child does not need a car seat until they are two years old. I like to buy seats for my boys if I’m flying a longer distance or if tickets are cheap. The hardest part about buying your child their own plane ticket is bringing the car seat on the plane. Here are some tips to help make that an easier process.

Infant Car Seat Tips:

Its a lot easier to bring on an infant carseat. Its easiest if you have the baby already strapped in the carseat while you carry them on the plane. You place the infant car seat rear facing and belt them in as if you would in a car.

Toddler Car Seat Tips: The Best Lightweight Car Seat

The best lightweight car seat for flying is the Cosco Scenara Next. This will totally change your travel experience and make things so much easier. I use it every time I fly with my boys and believe it’s the best option for flying. Check out my full blog post where I share more about how to fly with this Lightweight car seat.


Do you do rear face or forward face the car seat?

I asked my followers this question on my instagram and I got a lot of responses. If your baby is in an infant carseat it will need to be rear facing. If your child is in a convertible car seat the answer was still unclear. Some of my followers said rear facing and some said forward facing.

Tips for Flying with a toddler

After reading through everyones comments I came to the conclusion that forward facing is just fine. One of the main reasons for rear facing a car seat in a car is because of the threat of getting hit from behind. You don’t need to worry about that on a plane.

I liked having them forward facing because it was easier to install and they could watch the tv. You just want to be mindful of their feet kicking the seat in front of them. I would suggest doing what makes you feel most comfortable, these are just my opinions after reading through everyones comments.

Tip 3: Bring their blanket

The third tip for flying with toddlers is bring your child’s favorite blanket. Each of my boys have their own blanket they use during naps or bedtime. They associate their special blanket with sleep and it will help them sleep during the flight if they have it.

Tip 4: Bring lots of Snacks

The fourth tip for flying with toddlers is to bring lots of snacks. Each of my twins had a gallon zip block bag with lots of different type of snacks inside. When I asked my followers about snack ideas they said to make sure the snacks are not sticky or messy. Someone also suggested putting the snacks in a tackle box to make it more fun. I found that apple sauce pouches were perfect for take off and landing because they had to suck to get the apple sauce out. (Sucking helps prevent ear issues)

Snack Ideas:
  • Apple Sauce pouches
  • Cheerios
  • Toddler Cookies
  • Freeze dried Trader Joe’s blueberries and strawberries
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Suckers for take off and landing (for older toddlers)
  • Raisins
  • Veggie Strips

The best snack holder

Tip 5: Get water before flight

The fifth tip for flying with a toddler is making sure you get water before the flight. I used the water to make them a bottle or fill up their sippy cup. It’s important for their ears to be swallowing during take off and landing. Sometimes the flight attendants are dealing with other things when you board and they don’t have enough time to get you water. I always bring an empty water bottle and fill it up at a drinking fountain before the flight. If I can’t find a drinking fountain I make sure to buy water.

Tip 6: Activities/Toys

The sixth tip for flying with a toddler is having activities for your kids. I found myself rotating through toys and snacks to keep my twins happy. I wrote a whole blog post listing the best travel toys for toddlers on an airplane. These toys will be perfect for your next trip. I put toys and activities that will entertain your child and keep them busy during your flight. Flying with toddlers can be stressful, so I’m hoping these suggestions help make the trip a little easier.


Toy Hack:

I like to use a pacifier strap to clip their toys to their car seat. This way you won’t lose toys when they try and throw it over the side.

Tip 7: Tablets

When you are traveling with toddlers it’s all about survival. I let my boys play their iPad as long as they want. I try and start the flight with activities and then get the iPad out after they start to lose interest.

I always spend the day before my flight downloading their favorite movies and tv shows from Netflix and Disney Plus. I also add their favorite toddler apps as well. Continue reading to see how I download shows from Netflix and Disney Plus. I also share my favorite toddler apps below as well.

I highly recommend having some type of tablet. You can read my full blog post where I share what iPad I use for my boys and other tablets that are cheaper that you could use as well.


iPad Case and Headphones

Head over to my Kids tablets blog post where you can find a link to the iPad case and headphones.

The Best Toddler Apps

Head over to my blog post “The Best Toddler Apps” where I list some of the my favorite apps the boys have been using. You just want to make sure the apps you choose for the flight can be used without wifi. Most of the apps I did list will work during flights, but double check before you go.

Disney Plus Shows

Head over to my blog post where I list the best Disney Plus downloadable shows for toddlers! I’ll even show you how to download them so you can watch them later without wifi!

Netflix Shows (Downloadable):

Head over to my blog post where I list the best Netflix shows for toddlers. I’ll even show you how to download them so you can watch them later without wifi!

Tip 8: Have them wear easy clothes and bring an extra pair of clothing

The eighth tip for traveling with a toddler is putting them in easy clothes. When my boys were younger I put them in zip up onesies and it made diaper changes a lot easier on the plane. I did not want to deal with snapping a bunch of buttons. Now that the boys are older its easiest to do pants and a t-shirt.

Also don’t forget to throw in an extra pair of clothing. You never know if your child will have a blow out or throw up. Its always good to be prepared.

Tip 9: Book your flight around nap-time

The ninth tip for flying with a toddler is booking your flight around nap time. I know this isn’t always possible, but try to do it if you can. We did this for our flight to Florida and they slept a good part of the flight.

Tip 10: Take advantage of pre-boarding

The tenth tip for flying with a toddler is pre-boarding. If you have young children you are able to pre-board the flight. I used to think that families with kids were the first ones to board, but that is incorrect. Every airline is different in the order they allow people to board the plane. The last couple times we have flown Delta they didn’t let us board until after first class. Every airline is different in their order so just ask the front desk at the gate when you get there.

I like to board early if I’m going to carry on a car seat. They are so big and heavy I don’t want to have to worry about hitting people as I carry it down the isle.


Tip 11: Sit towards the back of the plane

The eleventh tip for flying with a toddler is towards the back of the plane. Some people suggest sitting in the very back row, but I did not like that. The back row is always right by the bathrooms and people are constantly coming and going during the flight. My boys kept waking up every time the doors to the bathroom would open or shut. I like to sit in the back, but not too close to the bathrooms.

Tip 12: Wait for everyone to get off the plane before getting off

The twelfth tip for flying with a toddler is waiting for everyone else to get off the plane. I only recommend doing this if you do not have a connecting flight. If you are rushing to get to a next flight this obviously wouldn’t be the best choice.

When we are not in a rush I always wait for everyone to get off the plane before I get off. People who are flying are always impatient and not always in the best mood. It helps me to stay calm and happy when I just wait. This way I don’t feel rushed and I’m not worried about people waiting behind me.

Tip 13: Give each toddler their own backpack

The last tip for flying with a toddler is to give each child their own backpack for the flight. I had a diaper bag for each of my twins filled with everything they needed for the flight. They each had their own toys, snacks, clothes, sippy cup, etc. Once they are older they can have their own backpack full of stuff and be in charge of what they want to do on the plane.

Packing for a flight

I would love for you to comment below with anymore tips you have with flying with a toddler! Hope these tips can help you as you travel!


This post may contain affiliate links. See my Full Disclosure for further details.


  1. All great tips. When traveling with my spouse I have him entertain our toddler at the gate while I pre board with our carseat and all carryons. It gave me the extra room (whole row to myself) and time to get everything organized. Even got the tray tables and everything in reach sanitized and myself to the restroom on the plane. It was so much less stressful then having to juggle my son and my husband. They were the last to board and literally worked so smooth both times. I did to nicely explain on both flights that I was bringing my husbands bag on with me. As I looked like a sherpa with roller bag, a carseat on my back and a diaper bag of essentials. But once the gate attendants realized I was getting everything set up they were awesome about it. I did reduce the amount of cartons we had so that I could handle bringing everything to the seats myself.

    1. I did read that somewhere and almost put that, but I have never done it personally! That is a great idea!

  2. Did you fly on your own with the boys? Or did you go with your partner? I’m planning a trip in November with my one year old boys. I’m a little scared that both could cry at the same time and that the other passengers will get angry.

    1. No I had my mom and my cousin with me for this last flight. Just bring lots of snacks and activities! My boys never really cried because were were always distracting them with stuff!

  3. We actually use a foldable wagon when we fly. You can throw the car seat, bags, back packs diaper bags etc in it. Fold it before getting on the plane and store in overhead bin or gate check the wagon. Works amazing and then my daughter could sit in her car seat in the wagon through the airport.

  4. Hi, you talk about sitting with toddlers at the back of of the plane. Other than disembarking last and not holding up other passengers, is there specific reasoning for this?

    1. I don’t like sitting in the very last row because its super loud with everyone going to the bathroom. I like sitting towards the back so if we need to go to the bathroom we are close. Also like being away from most of the other passengers.

  5. I’m planning a trip to Europe with 17 month old twins soon. I’m considering buying car seat rollers instead of an umbrella stroller to minimize the amount of gear. What do you think? Pros/cons? This would be their first flight and I’m terrified (it will also be crazy long since we’ll have more connections due to the pandemic). I’ll be with my husband and I wonder if we could each pull one car seat with a baby and a ton of luggage.

    1. I would for sure bring a stroller. Its so hard to carry them and you can also store stuff under the stroller while you walk through the airport. Buy the Cosco scenera car seats and stack them on top of each other on one roller cart.

  6. I saw in a picture you had the Zoe double stroller. We’re hoping to bring that with us on our next flight. How did it travel?

    1. Really well and I prefer that for flying because its so easy to fold up. I’ve taken it on more than five flights and never had an issue.

  7. Hi! When did you stop using a stroller through the airport? We will be flying w/ our newly turned 3 year old twins for the first time, and I am conflicted on whether to use our Zoe, get a foldable wagon, do the car seat roller, etc. Thank you!

    1. My boys are three now and I still use a stroller through the airport. I debated about it and then was so happy with my decision to bring it. They both fell asleep after we got off the plane. They both run in different directions. Easier to contain them for sure.

  8. It looks like you used a Graco convertible car seat at one point from the pictures. Did that fit okay on the airplane? We have a Graco slim fit and I’m nervous it won’t fit on the plane. Thank you!

  9. What did you use to wheel your car seats? Looks like a luggage cart with a bungee cord, am I right? It’d help my husband from carrying car seats on his back!

  10. I know this is an old post, but I thought I would mention that we absolutely love the Mountain Buggy Nano stroller. It is super lightweight, folds in thirds and fits in the overhead bin. Maybe the best part is that the Cosco Scenera Next buckles right onto the Mountain Buggy Nano and your child can ride through the airport buckled into their car seat. You don’t carry car seats at all. We’ve also used this trick with a Chicco KeyFit 30 and an Evenflo Maestro Sport, which I highly recommend as a travel car seat once your child outgrows the Scenera Next. I refuse to take our giant Britax Advocates through the airport and after our Chicco stroller was busted when we gate checked it, I will do my best to never check another car seat or stroller.

  11. Wow!! This is the best and organized list I’ve ever read. I will have a 1 and 3 year old for our March 2024 Dominican Republic trip and will be buying everything in here for sure, thank you so much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *