Do I buy my toddler a ticket?
Your toddler can fly for free until they are two years old. For under two, check out this post on flying with a baby, as most of those logistics will apply here.
Once your toddler is two, you’ll have to pay for a ticket.
However, I will say the one-year-old starts to get very heavy on your lap. There is an advantage in buckling them into their own seat, where they can’t flail around like the crazy little humans they are. So if you’re ever in a position where you’d prefer to pay for a seat for a one-year-old, I totally get it. If I won the lottery, I would always pay for an extra seat.
But as the non-lottery winner that I am, I’ll be honest, I typically do not buy the extra seat. I’m in the camp, “It’s free! Let’s take advantage!” And pray for an empty seat next to us.
Your toddler (even over 2-years old with a ticket) is allowed to check a car seat and stroller free of charge. My favorite hack is filling up a car seat bag with extra lightweight items, such as jackets, hats, diapers, pull-ups, etc.
You can also keep your stroller with you through security and check it at your gate before boarding the plane (similar to flying with a baby). I have not had issues with the stroller’s weight but always check with your specific airline. We’ve used the Uppa Baby Vista, Zoe double stroller, and this travel stroller with no problems! The Zoe double stroller is awesome for two because it’s much more lightweight and less bulky than our Uppa Baby!
The “Diaper Bag”
A dedicated bag for the toddler makes life easier. That way, you’re not fumbling around with bags when you need to find something quickly if you find yourself, oh, mid-meltdown. Backpacks are such a great choice to keep your hands free. (I have a full breakdown here!)
These clear bags and pouches are the best for keeping things organized. Clear is great, so even your significant other can look in the bag to see exactly what’s in there.
What to bring?
Extra outfit folded up in Ziploc gallon bag (I reuse, promise!) + diapers or underwear!
A kid-approved case, headphones, charger… and check to see if you need an adapter for your headphones depending on your Ipad version. It can also help to get your toddler comfortable with the headphones before you fly!
Make sure to download favorite shows, movies, and/or game apps in advance as wifi is not guaranteed (or cheap). If it’s downloaded in the Amazon app for example, you can use it without wifi!
Baby wipes- for face and other lovely messes
I like these Hand sanitizer wipes, so the sanitizer won’t spill in your bag
For everything else, All-purpose wipes. Wiping down toys that fall on the ground, seats, etc. (I have a travel size of this brand, but I can’t find it online right now.) You could always bring some of these in a Ziploc bag or any brand that you like!
I know these travel days won’t be my toddler’s “best” eating days. I try to balance out the extra sugar by bringing snacks with protein. But I also bring fun treats like gummies and lollipops. Lollipops are great because they keep their mouth occupied! They also help to keep those little ears from popping. (But a reminder, hard candy is a choking hazard, so use your mama intuition here).
Some favorites: Serenity kids pouches, Meat sticks, Hippeas, Harvest snaps, Simple Mills crackers, Hummus cups, Bars, Annie’s gummies, Yum Earth Lollipops, Smart Sweets Sweet Fish
Easy fruit: Banana, apple, easy-peel clementine, or tangerine
If I’m really on my A-game, I’ll bring things from home like baked oatmeal, spinach muffins, cut-up fruit, and veggies…but I’ll be honest, I’ve been recently relying on those grab-and-go snacks since becoming a mom of two under 2.5! And that is totally okay!
ALWAYS bring extra snacks on the chance you get stuck on the runway or tight layovers!
Also, bring a few chip clips if you want to save snacks your toddler didn’t finish!
Travel-sized toys or a little something new is great to have with you! Ipad tends to take up most of our time on the flights, but I still like to have toys! This sticker book or this one are favorites (thank you, Gracie). But also little animals, trucks, dinosaurs, etc. Art supplies like stickers, crayons, coloring books, etc. Just be intentional with how much you bring!
Good luck!! We’ve had AWESOME flights…and, well, the opposite. But here’s you’re reminder even the rough travel days are always worth the destination! Sending positive toddler flight vibes your way!
Bonus Pandemic Content: MASKS.