10 Tips for Flying with 1 Year Old

By 1:25 PM , , ,

I know I have mentioned it several times now but this summer has been the summer of weddings for our friends and family. In June we had the opportunity to fly to Washington D.C. for my cousin's wedding in which my one year old son was the ring bearer and I was bridesmaid (read more about it here). Since there was no way/no how we were going to drive 12+ hours with a baby in the car (nursing baby mind you) we decided to fly. But I'll be honest, the most nerve racking part of the whole trip for me was the flight there and the flight back. Yes, it was def better than driving, however, I was super nervous on how my fidgeting toddler who doesn't like to sit still would do. I was worried about his ears and the other people on the plane. However, it not only ended up going smoothly but ended up being one of the best parts of the trip (minus getting to see my cousin get married which was of course, awesome). I was prepared and our little guy ended up LOVING it. So I thought to ease any other future worried mamas who are planning a trip and are nervous as heck about flying with a little one I would share my top 10 tips for flying with a one year old. 

1. Make it fun and educational: You can prepare your little one for your upcoming adventure in advance by reading plane books and talking about planes and flying in the sky. This will help ease their fear and get them excited about the adventure ahead. 

2. Leave yourself PLENTY of extra time: This is key. There is nothing that will set you up for disaster faster than being rushed to get to the gate. Build in extra time to stop and look and talk about what you see on the runway and the airport. And that when you you have an unexpected diaper blow out there is no fear for time.

3. Bring lollipops and sippy cups for take off and landing: It really helps little ears if you can get your little one to suck on something during take off and landing. I brought a sippy cup but was worried he would not be thirsty so I also purchased some sugar free lollipops and gave him one as a treat to suck on when he got tired of drinking. I then distracted him with a toy and took it away and gave it back to him as we began our dissident. He never showed any symptoms of it bothering his eyes with this trick.

4. Let them crawl, walk, MOVE as much as possible between flights: If you are catching a connecting flight or even if you aren't try to find a big empty space where your little one can move around and crawl, walk, etc. before your flight. Little ones need to be able to stretch and move and the more than can get in prior to your flight the more likely they will be able to sit still for a flight.

5. Get a window seat: I don't care if you have to bribe someone else with a window seat with money to get their seat. It will be worth it. I promise. Talk about the things you see like water, clouds, landmarks, etc. 

6. Pack a backpack full of quiet toys: books, small toys, and coloring pads/books will help the time pass more quickly. Try to bring either new toys or toys your little guy has not played with in a while so they are new and exciting. Melissa and Doug sells as Water Wow Coloring Books that are only $5 on Amazon. These books have reusable pages that are whtie with simple line drawings when dry and reveal colors when wet. They are perfect for on the go as they don't make a mess.

7. Pack your own snacks and lots of them: You never know how long you might get stuck on a runway and having plenty of crackers and other snacks can help pass the time. 

8. Keep your phone handy: I'm usually not a big advocate of little your kids use electronics but an airplane ride is one time that I'm all about it. Look at pictures on your phone together and talk about the people and things you see. 

9. Bring a blanket: Pack your little ones favorite baby blanket. Airplanes can be cold and they can help keep their little legs warm, they also serve as a great pillow or cuddle if they get tired and can double as a cover if they need to nurse.

10. If all else fails remember you will probably never see these people again: and better yet probably 9/10 people near you have been there done that and are more sympathetic of your situation. Have fun and enjoy the trip. I will say you will feel like a celebrity as you get to be the first one to board the plane and flight attendants will go out of their way to make sure your needs are met.

Before I conclude I did want to share some tips on what to bring and not to bring as far as travel. I did not know any of this prior to flying so I thought I would share:
  • Bring your own car seat if you can and check it for free where you check luggage BEFORE going through security. If you don't want to deal with bringing your own car seat you can rent one through a car rental company but do know car rental companies usually buy the cheapest car seats on the market. You can also request an Uber with a car seat which can come in handy.
  • I can not emphasis this one enough...bring your own stroller and stroll that sucker right up to the gate. They will check it for free for you at the gate and it will great you at your landing gate. Strap your baby in and stroll on sister.
  • If you bring your own carry on bag check it at the gate for free. This way you will have less to worry about dragging and keeping up with at the airport.  You will pick it up at baggage claim. 
  • Do bring a backpack you can strap on your bag full of the recommended items above.
 I truly hope you found the above tricks helpful. Happy travels! Remember you can do this!

You Might Also Like


  1. What a wonderful post, with great tips, for traveling with a little one. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick