Flying with a toddler (18 months)

Holidays, Life with a toddler
Tips for flying with toddlers (18 months) New Mummy Blog
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I was really really nervous to fly with Toddler H. I really know how much of a live wire she is, how excitable and how she loves to explore. I was so nervous about it, but we decided to bite the bullet and just go for it. We’d have to sometime. I’m so glad we have because we were surprised and so relieved it all went well. In fact if go as far to say flying with a toddler was much easier than I expected. We might have got lucky as you do hear some horror stories, but for us, EasyJet were amazing, so helpful, so reassuring to each passenger explaining the baby seat belt and repeating we should call if we needed anything. Maybe we got lucky, but, it was nice knowing everyone expected no frills, and, that means kids fly too!

So what did we do to prepare for flying with a toddler?


  • Water, but little one might also just want to drink from your bottle too!
  • Biscuits, rice cakes, crisp type things – take as much as you can fit in your bag as one minute they might like one snack, and not he next.
  • Fruit – again as much fruit as you can!
  • Seriously just take as big a variety as you can fit in your bag… Toddlers are picky! They might not eat any, but you’ll have it in case. H had a fruit pouch for dinner on the way back, some days are hungry day and others not.


  • Buckle toy (I made one like this: Buckle Toy Buster – instructions to follow!)
  • Drawing board (like this: TOMY Megasketcher)
  • A few bath toys (easy to clean, and a duck is always a hit!)
  • Favourite toy/cuddly
  • A few small books
  • A tiny purse for them to zip and unzip

iPad downloads

    • Hey Duggee – her favourite programme
    • Sarah and Duck – H always finds this quite calming if she’s in a mood, refusing a nap or just woken and is grumpy.

Update: when I wrote this post we used an iPad, we now have an Amazon Fire Kids tablet which is awesome and has a 2 year no questions asked warranty.

Sky Baby

We were very kindly sent a Sky Baby mattress to review. I thoroughly recommend it as although small for H to sleep in, it did stop her opening the seatbelt buckle (something she figured out before take off, and during!). Amazon also sell them (SkyBaby travel mattress for Air Travel)


A must have for little ones. We didn’t use the pushchair much once through security as toddlers need to let off steam before a flight. Let them run run and run. Just don’t make the mistake of going into a toy shop like hubby did! You do not want to be paying £18 for a teeny tiny teddy the toddler won’t let go of. You also don’t want the tantrum which follows. Seriously, this is from experience. Just don’t. Warn your partners about this…. They might not think of it.

5 Tricks to use when Flying with a Toddler:

  1. Wrap up a few small books and toys this means they have the excitement of opening a present, which also takes time. Every second counts on a plane!!
  2. Put some small toys in a toiletry bag (or pencil case). This means they can choose toys easily and also play with the zips…. Zips and clips are a winner!
  3. A new toy or book (at least one for each flight)
  4. Take some small food pouches for little one to drink during take-off landing. They’re a good alternative to water and help their ears too.
  5. The buckle toy I mention above was a lifesaver, although I guess possibly doesn’t do the trick at all ages. It’s also useful in restaurants and when you just can’t face chasing little one again!

The biggest tip of all, is just go with the flow. People do understand. People do know how it is (numerous lovely people told us so). Most of all, just know that soon you’ll be in your apartment or hotel, glass of wine in hand, watching the sunset. You’ll have seen the pool you’ll be being splashed in first thing in the morning, and here, on holiday, will be that thing we spend all year dreaming of, all year wishing for: a sunny blue sky.

And remember, holiday is better than at home, it’s not just the same toddler tantrums in a different place like the quote I’ve seen doing the rounds says. It’s family time, and it is somewhere different, it’s not the same four walls you usually see, not the same routine, it’s quality time, so treasure every second of it (and just ignore the tantrums and plane journey and whatever else is a bit pooey).

So I’m completely converted, get in that plane and fly with a toddler, see that sunshine, and enjoy your family time!

Lynne x


Other posts related to flying with kids tips… includes family friendly holiday destinations and hotels

I’ve popped a few links below which might also be useful for travelling with kids and some of our family holidays abroad:

Travelling/flying with kids tips

Packing for a family holiday – Ibiza – 2 suitcases for a family of four!

Tips for Flying with an 18 month old toddler 

Tips for a long car journey with a 2 year old toddler – lots are true for flying too!

Family Holiday locations

Europe: Balearics, Canaries

How I choose a Family Holiday with a baby and toddler – must haves!

Why Menorca is perfect for a family friendly holiday 

Menorca Family Holiday – Jardin De Menorca

Majorca Family Holiday – Bon Aire

Lanzarote Family Holiday – Los Zocos Resort

Ibiza Family Holiday – Tui Magic Life Cala Pada

10 things to do on a family holiday to Lanzarote

Europe: UK breaks

Note: all links are Amazon Affiliate Links, so if you do click and then make a purchase I might get a few pennies, but at no cost to you!

Linked to:

Twinkly Tuesday , #BestandWorst

Mr and Mrs T Plus Three

ethannevelyn?Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday?,

Cuddle Fairy

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  • Reply
    June 4, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    So glad you had good flights with little one, we’ve not braved it yet, some how six hours in a car with a toddler seemed like a better idea, pretty certain it wasn’t!! Hope you had an ace holiday xx
    Briony recently posted…Our Day at The Milky Way Adventure ParkMy Profile

    • Reply
      June 4, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      hahaha we have done similar drives… and they do vary don’t they! We did have a fab time thanks 🙂 x

  • Reply
    Dr Mummykins
    June 4, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    We fly, a loooot, because the grandparents live abroad. I totally agree with all your advice there! Now we have 2 kids…it’s become three times as hard… Three times because child 1 is mental, child 2 is a screamer and the interaction between them is the THIRD challenge!
    Dr Mummykins recently posted…The dreaded (chicken) poxMy Profile

    • Reply
      June 4, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      oh wow that sounds interesting! Thank you!! x

  • Reply
    Dr Mummykins
    June 4, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    ooh, #FabFridayPost!
    Dr Mummykins recently posted…The dreaded (chicken) poxMy Profile

  • Reply
    June 4, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Fab tips, we still haven’t attempted flying with our 2 year old but I’m sure he’d do better than we think. Love the tip about letting them blow off steam before a flight, makes sense! #KCACOLS
    Kaye recently posted…Bare Feet & Bubblegum Treats; A Holiday to Wales 2016My Profile

  • Reply
    June 4, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    The first time we took the boy on a plane we had a little bag full of various sensory things for him to dig out & play with. Worked pretty well!! #KCACOLS

  • Reply
    Becky @ Educating Roversi
    June 4, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    Such a helpful post! We’re flying to Australia in July with our two year old. I’ve got one of those buckle toys from Amazon and mentally ticked off a few others things you’ve mentioned so feeling good about it….kinda! Ha ha! #KCACOLS

  • Reply
    June 4, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Good tips. It’s really important to plan for travelling. We travelled on a ferry a few months ago and I totally didn’t anticipate I’d be dealing with four lots of sick!! Thanks for linking up #FabFridayPost
    Sarah recently posted…Plaster of Paris Painting My Profile

  • Reply
    Coombe Mill - Fiona
    June 4, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    Such a lot to consider, and then pray you aren’t delayed! I never flew with mine until they were 7 plus. #KCACOLS
    Coombe Mill – Fiona recently posted…Beach Stunts and Half Term FunMy Profile

  • Reply
    Fran @ Whinge Whinge Wine
    June 5, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Haha I did a post about this last week – far less serious but much remains the same. SNACKS SNACKS AND MORE SNACKS! #KCACOLS
    Fran @ Whinge Whinge Wine recently posted…It never rains but it sure does pourMy Profile

  • Reply
    Katie/Squirmy Popple
    June 5, 2016 at 10:15 am

    I just posted about flying with my almost 12-month-old for the first time! We tried all the tricks – new toys, screen time – but she was having none of it. The only thing that helped keep her quiet was snacks – I let her eat as many baby corn snacks as she wanted, it was a VERY long 7+ hours to New York! #KCACOLS
    Katie/Squirmy Popple recently posted…Why everything I was told about travelling with a baby was wrongMy Profile

  • Reply
    Azaria Lynch
    June 5, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Such great tips. We are flying to Scotland in 10 days, only an hours flight but for a toddler an hour can feel like a lifetime in a confined space. Will be taking lots of snacks!!

    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday
    Azaria- Being Mrs Lynch
    Azaria Lynch recently posted…Fitness Friday: Tone It Up Bikini Series Week 6My Profile

  • Reply
    shaney (imummyblog)
    June 5, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    I have never heard of a buckle toy before now! Looks like it would keep little hand busy for a while! Thanks for sharing such great tips! #KCACOLS

  • Reply
    June 5, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    These are some WONDERFUL tips! I have never heard of a buckle toy, but my son has an the mind of an engineer and I know he would love something like that! I can’t imagine how nerve-wracking it must’ve been getting ready to fly with your toddler-but I’m so happy to hear that everything went so smoothly! We flew with our son when he was about 9 months old, and everything went well then too (: I think we tend to worry more than we should! <3 #KCACOLS
    Savannah recently posted…Gluten-Free Lucky Charms TreatsMy Profile

    • Reply
      June 6, 2016 at 6:50 am

      That’s brilliant it went well for you too! It sounds like he’d love the buckle toy, thanks for the lovely comment x

  • Reply
    June 6, 2016 at 8:51 am

    I am dreading the first time I have to fly with my little girl because she can’t keep still but Its great to have some tips #bigpinklink

    • Reply
      June 6, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      Toddler H can’t usually keep still either, she’s into everything and so curious… But she was very good (especially so for daddy…. She became a right daddy’s girl ?) Good luck!

  • Reply
    June 6, 2016 at 10:01 am

    I wrote a similar guide to flying with a one-year-old and flew again when W was about 20 months… It came with the challenges you faced in terms of getting them to sit still etc! I think our next holiday will be driving to France instead of flying! Some great tips here tho, I will be bookmarking just in case! #KCACOLS

  • Reply
    Baby Anon
    June 6, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    I read this with interest as we are going away for the first time this summer on a plane. Mother and Father’s usual approach is to board, drink, sleep, land….I think this time is going to be very different with yours truly so your list is very helpful. I particularly liked the idea of little wrapped books and toys 😉 #bigpinklink

  • Reply
    Sarah | Digital Motherhood
    June 6, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    These are great suggestions, I remember flying with a toddler was such hard work! #bigpinklink

  • Reply
    June 6, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Great tips and advice – thank you! I will check out the buckle toy as I have never heard of this. Our little man is 20 months and we’ve been abroad three times now. It’s never as bad as you worry it might be. And I agree, enjoying the moment is the most important thing. I hope you had a lovely holiday! #KCACOLS

  • Reply
    One Messy Mama
    June 6, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    I remember my first flight was 22 hrs travel time with my 9mth old.. That was insane. We then decided to immigrate and that flight was a total of 27 hrs travel time with a then 5yo, 4yo, 2yo and 9mth old.. I am now about to fly 19hrs with my youngest (18mths).. Posts like this are a reminder that it can be done!!! We survived and I am sure we will continue to! Thanks for linking up! I definitely needed this reminder today!

    • Reply
      June 11, 2016 at 10:25 pm

      Wow, you’re so brave, I’ll should quiz you for your tips in the future!!

  • Reply
    One Messy Mama
    June 6, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    I remember my first flight was 22 hrs travel time with my 9mth old.. That was insane. We then decided to immigrate and that flight was a total of 27 hrs travel time with a then 5yo, 4yo, 2yo and 9mth old.. I am now about to fly 19hrs with my youngest (18mths).. Posts like this are a reminder that it can be done!!! We survived and I am sure we will continue to! Thanks for linking up! I definitely needed this reminder today! #bigpinklink

  • Reply
    tineke - workingmommyabroad
    June 7, 2016 at 8:01 am

    Great tips! I wrote a post about flying with a baby but will need the toddler tips very soon so this is perfect!

    • Reply
      June 11, 2016 at 10:24 pm

      Thank you! I’ll pop over for a look x

  • Reply
    Sarah- Arthurwears
    June 7, 2016 at 9:38 am

    Arthur’s grandparents live abroad so we have flown a couple of times already and it gets harder each time to keep him entertained! We are flying in a few weeks and he is 17 m now. He quickly worked out how to undo the seatbelt buckle last time and I spent most of the flight trying to buckle one of us back up – hard work!!

    I usually take books, iPad, a toy car, an old phone, a comforter and his dummy. I have always carried him in an ergo baby carrier but he’s getting a bit heavy now – we might just stick with the reins too! He’s been walking since he was 10 months so he pretty sturdy now. #KCACOLS
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  • Reply
    Agent Spitback
    June 8, 2016 at 11:23 am

    Oh, I remember our first flight and I was definitely very nervous. I probably packed more than necessary but you have listed quite a few good tips. I like the idea of little presents to open up and you’re right, every second count. Thanks for sharing with #bigpinklink
    Agent Spitback recently posted…Big Pink Link 17My Profile

    • Reply
      June 11, 2016 at 10:23 pm

      Thank you! I was nervous before too, but knew once we were there what would be would be, and we couldn’t do anything else. Thanks!

  • Reply
    June 8, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing! We are flying for the first time with ours in August and I am a nervous wreck about how stressful the traveling will be with a toddler. I will keep all of these things in mind!#KCACOLS

  • Reply
    Sam Kersley
    June 8, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    This is a great post, we’ve not taken our 2 yr old son aboard yet as we just cant afford it but we have done long car journeys and stayed in hotel with him, and I think as long as you plan for the trip etc and like you say go with the flow it’ll be fine. #bestandworst

  • Reply
    June 8, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Currently in Portugal after surviving a flight with my three year old! I’d flown with him before – like you at 18 months old. I was dreading it this time – three is a whole new ball game! Thankfully I had prepared myself for the worst and it turned out to be a breeze – not sure if this was a fluke or not. I’ll be doing an update after we’ve got home – after a 6am flight…..! Argh. Must. Not. Think. About. That.

    Great post. #BestandWorst
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  • Reply
    Sarah Ella (Mumx3x)
    June 9, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Great tips!! I should imagine the iPAd is a life saver, haha. I also think snacks is important too and books! 🙂 Great post. #KCACOL

  • Reply
    Geraldine Walsh
    June 9, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    If I ever get the courage to travel with my toddler I’ll definitely be following your tips!

  • Reply
    Su {Ethan & Evelyn}
    June 9, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    These are great tips! They remind me of our so not smooth flight back from BKK to LHR – as we won’t quite as prepared. I love the idea of “A tiny purse for them to zip and unzip”. Thank you so much for linking up with us again on #FabFridayPost
    Su {Ethan & Evelyn} recently posted…#PointShoot : Daddy’s GirlMy Profile

  • Reply
    June 10, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Hope you had a great holiday, look like you have this toddler wrangling down pat! I’ll have to come back to this post when I finally have to take my future child to America. #kcacols

  • Reply
    Random Musings
    June 11, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    Great tips, especially about a variety of snacks as toddlers do seem to swap and change what they like/don’t like. It’s funny how a zip can keep them enthralled for ages!
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK 🙂
    Random Musings recently posted…Why I’m Voting Out Of The EUMy Profile

  • Reply
    helen gandy
    June 13, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    Ohh excellent tips, I have to admit we haven’t flown with the kids yet we would rather do the ridiculously long road trips, arghhh!! Thanks for linking up #bestandworst
    helen gandy recently posted…I was the Mum…..My Profile

    • Reply
      June 26, 2016 at 8:23 pm

      Thanks Helen! Hope your holiday is going well x

  • Reply
    Back With A Bump
    June 14, 2016 at 7:08 am

    This is really useful #thebabyformula

  • Reply
    Fi - Beauty Baby and Me
    June 14, 2016 at 7:43 am

    This is brilliant. I haven’t braved flying with Josh yet but all these tips will come in so handy when we do. It’s one of those things I’ll be so nervous to do but I think you’re right in going with the flow xx #TheBabyFormula

  • Reply
    June 14, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Ah, I’m so glad you had good flights. I’m yet to fly with my 2.5 year old but this fills me with hope for when we do next year!!! #thebabyformula
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  • Reply
    laura dove
    June 14, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Fab tips, I did laugh at the 18 euro teddy though, I can only imagine!! GREAT idea about wrapping toys, my kids go nuts for opening presents and this is something I would never think of! Saying that I have NO intentions of taking my four on a plane just yet!! Maybe in another 10 years!! #TheBabyFormula
    laura dove recently posted…Tick tock, tick tock…My Profile

    • Reply
      June 26, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      Oh gosh I can’t imagine 4! In saying that there was a family in the airport with 6 kids (and 2 adults). Definitely fly Easyjet if you do as people expect kids, and noise as it’s no frills they don’t feel they can complain… And somewhere like Menorca that is so child friends and the whole point of going x

  • Reply
    June 15, 2016 at 2:57 am

    I love the idea of wrapping things up! We flew long haul when I was 7mo pregnant and my daughter was 2.5yrs. She was brilliant – sticker books got the most attention. She also watched a film on the in-flight TV so child headphones were a must. All in all, not half as bad as we expected! Great post. #thebabyformula

  • Reply
    Bridie By The Sea
    June 17, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Oh you’ve put my mind at ease! We’re travelling to Melbourne with our little girl who will be 18 months and a bit daunted to be honest. I’m definitely going to look into the buckle toy and great idea about a purse with zips…E is obsessed with zips too!! Thanks for sharing, some fab tips here #babyformula

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    July 1, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Really enjoyed this read, great advice! Will certainly take this “on board”.

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    Carrie - Flying With A Baby
    October 21, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Awn so glad it went well. Yes the buckle toy is great. My little one loves the whale still and when she was younger the Sky Baby mattress worked a treat when we didn’t have a bassinet. And oh my, yes snacks. Can never have enough! If you do need any further help especially if long haul or when little one is a bit older, do pop over as my whole blog is dedicated to helping parents fly and holiday with young children. 🙂 #thelist
    Carrie – Flying With A Baby recently posted…How To Book The Cheapest Flight or Holiday: 10 TipsMy Profile

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  • Reply
    Daily Deals UK
    May 31, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    Hey, just got back from a week in Spain with my 24 month twins and I read a LOAD of blogs posts like this before hand to try and get some tips, but I just wanted to pop back on and thank your for the purse suggestion. I seen some TY ones in the airport en route and remembered this post so grabbed two, the girls have literally not put them down!!!

    • Reply
      June 2, 2018 at 8:23 pm

      I’m so so glad that it was helpful and that your daughters have been so happy since. Hope you had a lovely holiday. Thank you so much for writing this, it’s comments like yours that make my day, I don’t think I’ll stop smiling for a while 😀

  • Reply
    Oscar And Mummy
    September 27, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    Fantastic read with some brilliant tips and advice, we flew with our then 5 month old in July and we had to take a variety of different things to try and keep him entertained. I’ll definitely be taking some of your suggestions with me next time we go abroad.

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    December 28, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Well, I don’t have kids yet, but I am a frequent flyer and I do appreciate so much what mums and dads have to go through on flights – especially long haul flights. Great informative post with some wonderful tips!

  • Reply
    Amy - All about a Mummy
    December 28, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    Snacks and the iPad were our saving grace when the kids were young. But I do have a repressed memory of flying with a kicking toddler on my lap in a vice like grip for 3hrs on a flight back from Spain. Thank god those days are behind me!!!

  • Reply
    December 30, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    These are great tips we always have snacks and games for entertainment, sending this to my friends flying soon.

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