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Travel Tips with Small Children when Flying

  • 4 minute read

3 small children waiting to catch a flight at an airport and watching planes from the waiting area


Every family dreams of going on a holiday. However, every parent knows that when traveling with children nothing is simple or easy! We have collected some tips to help you have a smooth travelling experience to your holiday destination.

Before hopping on a plane:

1. Prepare your children.

Talk to them about the plane and show them images to get them excited. Tell them all about the destination you are going to, and what you will be doing and seeing there. This will help them get excited about the holiday and know that the first part of the trip will be a plane ride. Some children need time to process everything, and giving them a heads up about planes will help them transition onto one.

2. When booking your flights pick good seats.

I always like the front row of a section as they have more space to move. They are called bulkhead seats. If you have two children, sit them next to a window and you can sit in the aisle which means they have more room to move about. If two parents are travelling, alternate with the other parent who is seated across the aisle so that you can take turns being on child duty.


Small toddler child sitting in a good seat on a plane looking out the window

3. For young children purchase a small pushchair.

Being able to move around without bulky equipment will help you in the long run.

4. In your carry on make sure you pack at least two changes of clothes - for everyone.

Sounds excessive, but if one of your children is sick mid-flight, it will save you sitting in vomit for the rest of it. (Trust me)

5. Let each child have their own backpack.

The backpack can have activities inside, their favourite teddies and a few snacks. Letting your children be in charge of their own bag is part of the adventure!

6. There is nothing like having a wash after a plane trip.

Put a flannel into a ziplock bag and grab some hot water to use to clean faces and hands. Much more refreshing than using wipes. Of course, if your child is still in nappies, take lots of wipes and spare nappies.


Baby in a basin with mum washing their hands


7. Before hopping on the plane, let your children exercise.

Walk them up and down the terminal to get them moving. This will help them settle more on the plane. I’m not talking about running around until they are exhausted. You don’t want them to be over tired and unmanageable - just moving, exploring, and taking in all the new things.

8. Don’t hop on the plane first.

Settle in to be one of the last people to hop on. Or let your partner go in and take all the bags. That way you just need to focus on getting your children in.

9. Activities

Work out how long the trip is and divide the activities up over the time period. It does help to have a bit of a plan. You don’t want to be letting them sit on devices the whole time (even though I’m sure they will want to). Take walk breaks and walk down to the bathrooms. Pack colouring books with crayons, and books to read. Get items that they haven’t seen before - a new game to play. Uno is a great game to teach little kids. When it is time to put a movie on it is more comfortable to have children’s headphones.


Female toddler sitting on plane doing activities on ipad


10. Pack plenty of snacks.

Food is always an issue on a plane. Don’t forget to put in something for them to chew on. We used to have lollies to chew on, but there are healthy alternatives. Anything to get their jaw working to help them pop their ears. Or alternatively teach them to yawn. Yawning helps.

11. Look after yourself.

Stay hydrated. Have electrolytes drink for you to sip on and dare I say it put in some painkillers. There is nothing worse than being stuck on a plane with a headache.

I hope these few tips help you on your next holiday away. Enjoy!


Mother, father and baby together on vacation on a tropical island