Our family loves to travel, as the name of the blog says, we are a family on the go. Since our daughter was 5 months old (Ramona’s first time flying) she has taken 15 different international flights! And I am not going to say that flying with a baby or toddler is easy but with the right preparation it can be an exciting activity for the whole family!

Every time we travel somewhere I am excited to discover new places but also nervous for how is it going to be! And every time is different because babies grow so quickly and their necessities keep changing! Now that Ramona is 2, and having traveled internationally with her a few times already, here are some of the things I have learned about flying with a toddler:

Things I like to bring with me:

  • Plenty of yummy snacks and her favorite water bottle. Even those things you don’t normally buy for them… getting them little treats can be very helpful to keep them happy and entertained. We normally bring fruit (apples, bananas, dried mango, …), raisins and seeds, some pouches like this or this to make sure she also eats some vegetables, and some treats like chocolate covered blueberries or crackers. And it is very important for them to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration which can come from being in the lower humidity of a plane cabin. So we normally bring her favorite water bottle and try to ask for juice/milk to add more liquids to her diet!

  • Story books and toys. Maybe her favorite book, plus a new book that she will like and a new small toy that can entertain her for a while. This includes magnets or this stack and nest cups, which we carried around everywhere in Mozambique because they were perfect for playing in the water, in the sand or to pretend we were cooking food.

  • Coloring book, color pencils and stickers. We like to bring a little notebook for her creations and only a few color pencils (better not round because they will roll everywhere). She liked this reusable coloring boards that use a water pen so it is not messy but pretty cool. We got this mess free coloring book that works only with special markers which came in handy because normal markers can get really messy. And also this reusable sticker pad that were really entertaining, thanks to my awesome friend Michelle!

  • Balloons. I like to bring balloons for her to play while we wait in the airport or during long layovers, and share with other kids waiting at the same gate. We try to be very active before we go in the plane, walking, running around, so we get some energy out, and I found that balloons help a lot.

  • A change of clothes and pj’s. I like to change her into her pijamas if it’s going to be a night flight - that way, she’s in “sleep mode”. I also find them more comfortable for her to sleep and move around in. The last trip she didn’t even want to change so she wore her pj’s all day!

  • Extra diapers and wipes. Because you know things can get messy and you don’t want to run out of diapers…

  • A baby carrier. We normally don’t travel with a stroller because we find baby wearing much easier and practical for our kind of trips. So we always bring with us our Boba Carrier. Helpful for walking around and naps on the go.

Things I like to remember before flying:

  • Be relaxed and enjoy. Like they say, “It’s the journey not the destination”. So try to think about it as a different day with your family, discovering new places and making memories with them. If you are relaxed the kids will feel it and be more comfortable too!

  • To not have high expectations, especially with sleep. I have learned that if you plan how the entire trip is “supposed” to be, it will never turn out how you “planned” and you will feel very frustrated. It is better to go with the flow and be flexible. Kids will sleep when they are tired, maybe it will take longer, maybe they won’t nap, but in the end, stressing about it will only make things worse!

  • Check as much luggage as possible. It is so nice to not have to carry too much around, especially if you have to take different flights! So make sure you pack all your basics in you carry on backpack and that you can have free hands to chase your little one around.

  • Take advantage of screen time. Normally, Ramona doesn’t watch any TV. We save screen time for specific times like when she is sick or when we travel. Even though she is still young to sit through an entire movie, she did enjoy watching “Dumbo” and playing some games in the plane.

  • About jet lag, I really don’t have the magic formula for it. We try to be flexible too. It is a problem and it will take some time for the whole family to readjust to the new time-zone! It’s a bit easier when they are babies and don’t have such an strict schedule, but it gets harder with time. So plan around it!

What other things do you like to bring with you on a plane when traveling with little ones? Any good tips on how to handle jet lag? I would love to hear from you!! We are always learning!