Okay, so your little bundle of joy isn’t really all that little anymore and sometimes isn’t exactly joyful while traveling. We’ve taken our toddler/preschooler on a few airplane trips and these items have definitely come in handy.
1. Go-Go Kidz Travelmate
If you plan to bring your child’s car seat onto the airplane and have purchased a separate airplane seat for them, the Go-Go Kidz Travelmate is quite handy. This wheeled plate easily attaches to most car seats (we have the Britax Diplomat) and makes moving around at the airport a little easier. Read more about FAA travel guidelines and regulations for traveling with small children. Most kids find being wheeled around in their familiar car seat in the airport kind of fun and falling asleep is definitely easier in a well padded car seat than the regular airplane seat/Moms lap/balled up sweater combination. Note, you need to detach the Travelmate from the car seat before putting them both through the X-ray conveyor belt. So try to time the possible nap in the wheeled car seat appropriately. Full dimensions, product video, and features can be found on the Go-Go Kidz Travelmate web page (but buy through Amazon to save some money).
2. Hefty One Zip Storage Plastic Bags (gallon and quart size)
Dependable and easy to use (even your child can open and close them), the Hefty One Zip bags are great for wet clothes (potty training anyone?), snacks, holding crayons and other toy pieces you bring on board, wipes, and tissues. Make sure you bring extra gallon sized ones in your ever bulging carry on bag ready for the unexpected.
3. Photos on your laptop
Many kids like to look at pictures of themselves. We often load several hundred photos of our daughter onto a laptop and let it play in slideshow mode while on the plane. It is great for keeping your child occupied and offers some fun conversation starters. Sometimes including older photos of when your child as an infant is particularly fascinating to your little one.
4. What to do about ear popping (or lack thereof)
In order to help alleviate ear pain, always remember to have some juice or water in a sippy cup or cup with a straw available for take offs and landings. We also found offering favorite snacks (be sure to pace the snacks before take offs and landings so your child will actually be hungry) a good way to encourage swallowing and ear popping. Any of Dr. Sears’s fruit chew supplements also work well (the pineapple/mango ones are a bit sour though) to aid swallowing and of course have the added benefit of being nutritious.
5. Doodle Pro
Not really sure why, but the Doodle Pro (the smaller sized version is easier for travel) can keep your toddler/preschooler occupied for more than 15 minutes! No mess and no crayons to drop, Fisher-Price has several different versions of this toy that can be used for alphabet, number, and vocabulary building in addition to drawing goofy portraits of Mommy and Daddy. Good prices on the Doodle Pro can be found at Target and sometimes Amazon.