How to survive a plane ride with a toddler: Hacks for Mom & Baby!

How this mama stayed comfortable during her international flight with a toddler

Mav had his first international trip this past month. We took a 5 and a half hour plane ride to Costa Rica. I was nervous, anxious, and worried about how my child would handle this flight. He barely has the attention span to sit still for a meal at the dinner table. I did not want to have that child who cried uncontrollably the entire flight!

One piece of advice I will say is if you can schedule flights around bed time and nap time, that is the best way to go about it! Our flight to Costa Rica was a red eye scheduled at 11:45 at night but unfortunately it got delayed and we didn’t leave until 1 am! That was a little rough. The airport itself is a pretty bright and stimulating place so trying to get my child to wind down was a little exhausting considering it was past both of our bed times.

 One thing I regret and wish I had during this trip was a stroller. He sleeps so well in his stroller and he is so chill when he is sitting in his stroller. He could have easily slept during our delay and you can take strollers straight up to the gate! We had a hiking backpack which he sat in while we were roaming around the airport, but come bed time he just wanted to snuggle and nurse. 

Hacks for traveling with a toddler & how to make it though an airport

 The airport is a super bright and stimulating place so he had to be suuuuuper tired in order to sleep, which eventually happened around 12:15am. All I can say is thank god for family boarding. We had the luxury of boarding right after first class so I was able to get him on the plane and get us all situated for a 5.5 hr nap. Once we were on the flight things were great, we both got some sleep.

Tips and tricks for flying international with a toddler

Holding a baby in your arms on a long flight is not fun. Some things I recommend for mamas to bring on to make the flight more comfortable are:

  • A neck pillow

  • A swaddle. I used this as a blanket to cover when nursing, or I rolled it behind my lower back for comfort.

  •   Eye Mask, you never know if the people next to you will have their tv on or reading lights.

  •              Sit by the window, I find it more comfortable to rest my head on the window. It also gives my son something to do, he loved looking out the window.

  •             Wear comfortable clothing, you can never go wrong with wearing leggings and a basic tank top.

    As far as the child goes, I shopped around on amazon for a bunch of busy toys. I packed a carry on dedicated to just his toys, so they could be easily accessible on the plane. 

Our flight on the way back was a morning flight so I knew he wouldn’t sleep the entire way home. I made sure to have him super tired before departing so he would get a good nap in. He slept for about 2 hours on the way back so we had about 3 hours to spare. This is what we brought.

All the must haves that you need when your travel with kids! Toys, tips, and tricks to survive a long flight.

Buckle toy

 This buckle toy was a god send. Lately Mav has been into buckles and he will just sit and try to figure out all these buckles so that took up a good chunk of time. It also has a zipper you can store snacks or whatever you want in there. It also doubles as a little pillow as well. I used this under my arm on the arm rest when my arms got super tired.

Must haves to keep your child entertained on a long flight!

Amazon Kindle

 I like the kindle because with my amazon prime account I can actually download videos and songs he likes and play them without Wi-Fi. The kindle is so versatile you can play games, videos, songs, whatever. 

I never wanted to be that parent who sat their kid in front of electronics but seriously who cares you got to do what you got to do especially when your stuck in the air for hours. 

 Shark headphones

 Loved these headphones I thought they were so dang cute. There are super perfect to use with the kindle. They secure around the head with Velcro and the headphones lie flat so you don’t have to worry about sticking anything in your child’s ears. These took a while to get my son used to them, he was actually afraid at first but he grew to love them and they are so damn cute!

Window clings

 These are so perfect, and why you need to request a window seat. I actually found these at the target dollar section, they had a variety of different clings. These kept him busy taking each cling off the paper and putting it on the window, and taking them off again. 

 Coloring books & crayons.

 Good ol coloring book and crayons is a great distraction to use on your tray table. I sat him on my lap and he had some fun coloring for a while.

Coloring book and crayons some of the must haves for traveling internationally with a toddler

 The Dimple!

 This toy is by fat brain toys and something about it, its so satisfying to press those dimples and it seriously keeps the kid occupied. Like I seriously can sit there and press those dimples and zone out. Its very calming. I use this when we are out a dinner, in a long car ride, and it came in very handy on the flight!

This toy will keep your child occupied with a great period of a time when traveling internationally

 Learn to read flash cards

 Ok these flash cards are so awesome, not only for a flight but in general. Each card has a word and you pull out an image that correlates to the word. They help your child learn to read. Maverick loves them! We have the entire kit that comes with DVDs, flash cards, and books. I highly recommend them!

This toy will keep your child occupied with a great period of a time when traveling internationally


 Snacks, snacks, snacks make sure you always have their favorite snacks on deck!

So on the way back Mav slept for about 2 hours and we had 3 hours to entertain him. We would cycle through all of these toys then give him breaks and let him look out the window. His favorite thing to do was play with surrounding people. He loved playing peek a boo with random strangers, hopefully your sitting to some nice people who will help entertain your child!

What are your go to tips and tricks for keeping your children entertained on a long flight? Comment below

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For my post on how I traveled with a baby click here!