Flying with your fledgling can be fun!

If you’re contemplating a holiday and taking your little one with you then you may be feeling anxious about his or her first flight. Toddlers and flying can be a recipe for a complete disaster and an unhappy child on a flight is stressful for you and everyone around you. A little preparation can mean you avoid being public enemy number 1 on your flight, and if you are really lucky all you’ll get is admiring glances from all the other passengers thinking what a wonderful parent you are!

Below are our top tips for staying sane whilst flying with a toddler.

Baby Bag

You’ll need a separate bag especially for your child’s things to be kept in. Make sure it is packed with nappies, wipes, food and drink (but watch the liquid limits on flights) and some cuddly toys and crayons. You may have to pay for this extra bag if you are travelling economy but it is well worth the extra cash – you’ll only struggle with all you have to carry otherwise. It’s a good idea to take a change of clothes too just in case they get messy. Get their input – what would they like to bring with them?


We mentioned toys – these are your best friend on a flight. Take a selection of small toys to keep your toddler amused. Small is good because it’s easier to carry. Take a colouring book and some other books to read. Think of some other things that your child might like to do. Are they old enough for a personal stereo? They could listen to audio books or toddler songs to keep themselves occupied.

Wear Them Out

If at all possible, don’t let them sleep in the car on the way to the airport. It’s best if they turn up tired to the flight. They may well be stroppy as they wait for the flight but all the excitement will keep them awake. And then (in an ideal world!) they will flake out the minute the plane hits the skies and you will have a peaceful flight. Make sure their tummies are nice and full so they get a good deep sleep. Now is not the time to get high and mighty about dummies – if they help, then use them.

If All Else Fails – SWEETS!

No toddler will say no to sweets, and there’s not much they won’t agree to when a sweetie is the bribe. Be careful how much you let them have as you don’t want them to get hyper, but a few treats spread across the flight will make your life a lot easier. Boiled sweets are good as they will also help stop your child’s ears from popping.

Get organised and think your trip through and you’ll have a stress-free flight with your child. A good experience will teach them there’s nothing to dread so they are much less likely to develop a fear of flying when they are older. So, loads more holidays for you then!

Michael Thomson, is a cricket fan, a frequent traveller and a blogger. He works for a Tullamarine airport parking company, Jetport Parking.

Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You're also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]

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