Making flying with a toddler easy
Making flying with a toddler easy
Airplane travel is a stressful experience, never mind when you have a toddler preparing to take off with you. As the list for what’s not allowed in carry-ons gets longer and longer, the trick for booking a flight’s all in the planning.
Plan for the security line. The trick’s light and easy. Think umbrella stroller (as will fit in the x-ray machine), slip on shoes (for both mom and toddler) and have an easy separate wallet holding license and tickets, so you don’t have to shuffle through bags as you gather your belongings.
Plan for seating on flight. Toddlers are going to want to stretch their legs no matter how interesting the window seat is, or how long the flight is. An aisle seat makes sure they can do that in the least disruptive way possible.
Plan to bring entertainment. Delays can happen and you don’t want to be trapped with a bored toddler. Make sure you have plenty of snacks and toys for a carry on but don’t bring anything with tiny pieces that your child could miss and leave on or in a seat. If all else fails, use the in-flight magazine for scavenger hunts (find a frog!). Plus, bring twice as many diapers as you could possibly need, endless wipes and hand sanitizer, at least one change of clothing for your child, and an extra t-shirt for you.
Plan for flight pain. A toddler getting sick on a flight is not an unusual concept. Make sure you are prepared for this possibility and have plenty of bags tucked into your seat pocket. Another problem with flights is the cabin pressure that causes painful ear pain for toddlers who don’t understand how to “pop” their ears. Having lollipops, a drink with a straw can help, or any chewy snack that gets their jaw moving and keeps ears clear.
Finally, plan for what is and isn’t allowed on planes. Nothing slows down a trip then getting scanned for the 50th time because you wore a bra with a strong underwire. Here are some surprising things you are no longer allowed to bring in a carry on. Check the TSA website for the full list.
- Liquids should be placed in a 1-quart-size clear zipped plastic bag, with a limit of one of those bags per passenger.
- Recently snow globes have been put on the do not carry list and aren’t permitted through checkpoints because they contain an undetermined amount of liquid. However, they’re allowed in checked baggage, so if your buying someone a snow globe as a souvenir make sure you buy it before you check your bags.
- Numerous food items are prohibited from going through checkpoints. Among them: cranberry sauce, creamy dips and spreads such as cheeses and peanut butter, gift baskets with food items, gravy, jams and jellies. Also: maple syrup, oils and vinegars, salad dressing, salsa, soups, wine, liquor and beer. If you're looking for a snack, if possible, buy it after you clear security.
- Believe it or not, Play-Doh is considered a liquid. You can still bring a 3 ounce size of Play-Doh on board with you. But why would you? Too messy!
- Finally the most surprising of items not allowed would be anything gift wrapped in a carry-on, or even checked luggage because the TSA allows security officers to unwrap the gifts to determine what is inside. Ship wrapped gifts ahead of time or wait until you arrive at your destination to wrap them.
Now fly with ease, toddler in tow, knowing there’s nothing you can’t handle.