We took the boys to Disneyland over the holidays, which included a flight from Dallas to Orange County. Since I got a lot of travel-related questions, mainly pertaining to doing it with toddlers, I wanted to write everything out. Honestly, I’m always interested in how other parents do it with little kids because it stresses me out – so I hope you find something useful here!
TRAVELING WITH TODDLERS
Overall, the flight was good, but neither kid slept on the way there. Charlie had a lot of energy and is 18 months, so he’s at the age where he needs to be doing something. Truthfully, I would avoid flying with kids around this age (1) if you can. George is almost 4 and did amazing but overall Charlie was pretty challenging for us.
I know a lot of parents feel the same and nothing gives me more anxiety than flying with my kids, mainly Charlie, at this age. I’m a planner, love a schedule and when you’re flying, literally everything is out of your control. I tried to go into the travel days with flexibility, deep breaths…and a backup plan.
TIPS + MUST-HAVES
On top of adjusting expectations, here are things that helped us to travel with the boys.
+ Have lots of snacks. We did these snack trays (I bought the large and the dividers can move around) that I found on Amazon and filed with their favorites: crackers, applesauce pouch, granola bars, dried fruit, suckers….nothing too messy. Pack extra for the flight home if you aren’t going to be able to grab more on your trip.
+ Have wipes (for face and antibacterial) in a spot you can easily grab because you will need them.
+ Use small organized bags. Instead of putting all of the boys’ stuff into one bag, I organized them into smaller bags. I’ve used these clear organizing bags for years and they could not have been more useful to me on this trip. I organized different activities so I could pull one thing out at a time, extra snacks, and other essentials.
+ New toys for the kids. I didn’t go crazy but I did buy a few new toys for the kids. I’ve heard of people going ot the dollar store or the bins at Target before a flight to buy some easy, cheaper things to hold their attention. Here’s what I got:
+ Soft Activity Book for Charlie
+ Sensory Cube that the boys actually fought over which did lead to some unfortunate crying on the flight. Probably should have bought two – they each loved it!
+ Spinning Suction Toy that stuck to the window and on the inside of the snack box which was very entertaining for Charlie.
+ Reusable Water Activity Books that were a hit! You just have to remember to fill up the marker before the plane on in flight, but it was easy enough.
+ Kids Tablet that we gave Geroge for the first time. Now before anyone comes at me, I held out as long as I could…but we needed it for the flight. This was the perfect time to introduce him to it and it definitely held his attention.
+ Get the wiggles out. If possible, find an empty terminal or at least a hallway to let the kids run. We let them run up and down the hallway and it was key to getting wiggles and energy out. Even though Charlie was still ready to party on the flight, it did help.
+ Change diaper / potty break right before you board because neither are the easiest on a plane.
+ Utilize the aisle or back of plane. If kids get antsy on the flight, walk up and down the aisle or ask the flight attendant if you can move to the back (if a flight isn’t full, they will usually let you do this.) We had several empty rows in the back of the plane and Austin went back there for a little bit.
+ Pack light. I packed as little as possible – both for myself and the boys. They shared a carry-on and I had Austin put diapers in his suitcase. I put extra diapers, wipes, and extra change of clothes for each kid in my carry-on. We had a backpack that they put their snacks and toys in which worked out well. Here’s what I wore for one of our days as Disney btw, since I saw some questions about what I would suggest wearing.
MY BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS: Pack extra snacks, get a few new toys/books, and run in the airport if you can find an empty space. Good luck!