Baby On Board: 11 Tips For Traveling Internationally With a Toddler

Sometimes, traveling abroad is already challenging enough on our own. But with a toddler, it can be way more than that yet it’s a truly rewarding experience. For a smooth and stress-free international trip with your little ones, it’s essential to be well-prepared before, during, and after the flight—this sparked a couple’s interest and made them ask for some tips in an online forum.

1. Snack Time

view baby food jars scaled
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“Snacks and snacks and snacks and then some more snacks,” as one user puts it. When traveling with little ones, they can become restless and fidgety, and it’s so challenging to keep them entertained. The reason is that food not only serves as a distraction but also provides a sense of comfort for them (this is true even for us, adults!) during flights by creating a somewhat familiar and soothing environment for them. Just don’t forget to consult their doctor about what to pack.

2. The Infamous Airplane Ear Pop

Mother and baby watching ipad in flight
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Talk to your child’s doctor about any suggestions for decongestion on the plane. A decent decongestant will be highly effective if administered before you reach great altitudes; it is suitable for pain management, not just for when they are sick.

Related: The Best Traveling Backpack for Every Adventure

3. No Overnight Flights

Baby in flight
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With the other adult passengers in mind, many suggest avoiding overnight flights if you are flying with a toddler. Unfortunately, many make the mistake of assuming their little ones will sleep through the entire plane ride.

They don’t; the plane is dark, so you are exhausted, and the baby won’t stop crying. But, on the other hand, your kiddo won’t remember anything before the age of six anyway, so don’t worry if the plane ride is a nightmare.

4. Try Bulkhead Seating

Happy infant baby lyes in special bassinet in airplane at his stomach. First flight of the baby, she is impressed and looking in the window of plane
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Bulkhead seating is an excellent pleasure if you would like a little more legroom to maneuver in with you and your toddler. The Bulkhead is a fixed wall, meaning it lacks a row of seats directly in front of you. The only downside is there’s no seat in front of you, so it lacks an under-seat storage area.

5. Prepare Them for the Flight

Happy family preparing for the journey. Mom and daughter are packing suitcases for the trip.
Image Credit: Depositphotos.

One parent offered the option of informing your child of the coming events. Yes, they are toddlers and may not show it, but they comprehend very well if you take your time and explain it to them. This user added they bought their toddler “a book about a kid flying on a plane.

We read it often and talked about each part of the trip, from packing to getting off and changing planes, then getting off and finding Grandma.” And they also bought a big pack of earplugs for the passengers around them on the flight in case things didn’t work out with the book.

6. Get Yourself Plenty of Mini-Books

Nanny reading book to little children at home
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New Africa

A former traveling nanny noted it was a good idea to bring as many mini books as possible, as they only take up a little space. In addition, you can find a massive variety of mini-books on Amazon.

7. Murphy’s Law and a Toddler Go Hand-in-Hand

Mother packing suitcase with toddler
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Toddlers fulfill Murphy’s Law because they are pure chaos. Potty time is not convenient on a plane, so always keep some backup clothes and underwear in case they are ruined because of accidents. Be sure to keep a tight grip and a close eye on your child while moving through the airport, especially if you have an adventurous kid.

8. Anything You Don’t Want To Lose Should Be Attached

Busy mother holding a new born baby
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Most people would disagree with putting a leash on your child but are not opposed to attaching valuable items. If it is something you don’t want them to lose, it should be attached to either yourself or your little one. For example, your daughter’s favorite teddy bear should be tethered to her waist or your body in some fashion.

9. One Parent On, One Parent Off

Father with crying baby
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Dual-parent flights should be done in shifts; one parent on, one parent off. It may not be fun for the parent on baby duty, but it’s best for all parties involved. Someone has to “be aware and make smart decisions when traveling internationally with a family.” On the return flight home, the parents alternate responsibilities.

10. If Accessible, Change Diapers in the Restroom

Passengers get off a Qazaq Air plane at the airport
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Most flights will have a changing table in the restroom to change your toddler’s diaper. Understandably, all flights won’t have this convenience, but please do not use the seat back trays. That’s not sanitary, and the smell lingers throughout the airplane’s pressurized cabin.

Related: 10 Huge Mistakes People Made That Seriously Screwed Up Their Travel

11. Exhaust Them Before the Flight

Woman in airport with toddler
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Get a bunch of paper bags, fill them with toys, crayons, coloring books, etc., and have them ready. The number of bags you pack depends on how long the flight may be. The final poster suggested “breaking one out every two-three hours. It was also a reward for behaving well.”

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