Flights with children are generally traumatic. I’ve just done 1 international 14 hour flight alone with two children, 1 international 11 hour flight with my husband and children and 4 domestic flights. All in the space of 2 months. Thats a whole lot of flights.

Its not because the flights themselves are always awful but because of a number of factors:

a) the anticipation of the flight

b) the tiring nature of the flight

c) the jet-lag as a result of the flight (this is such a sore topic that I covered it all in its own blog post)

I don’t know much about flying with pre-teens, teenagers and older children but I have learnt a thing or two about surviving flights with babies and toddlers. Below is a small guide which will hopefully help you survive your flights with your babies and toddlers.

 flights with children - how to survive flying 


  1. Book seats that suit your family. Do you need a bassinet – find out from the airline if you can take one and whether that is guaranteed or not. If its you flying with two kids alone, like I did, see if you can get two seats together and one seat a seat apart so that you may have an additional seat (you can always change when you’re on the flight because no sane person wants to sit between you and your child).
  2. Anticipate the jet lag and see what you van do to minimise it. A good place to start is by reading my previous post Jet Lag Facts and Solutions
  3. Work out when you want to feed your baby or toddler, to try minimise the jet lag while meeting their current routine’s needs.
  4. Make sure you aren’t carrying too many bags – try consolidate everything into a single bag, even if you put a smaller nappy changing bag or valuables bag inside that.




  1. Bottle or dummy for landing. If neither works then anything they can chew or gnaw on should help.
  2. Small bag for nappies, wipes, cream and rubbish bag for nappy changes. Don’t put much else in this so you can stow it under the seat in front of you or the magazine pouch.
  3. Snacks, preferably low in sugar so you don’t have a hyperactive child to deal with later. This will also come in handy if your child refuses to eat the airline’s food.
  4. Saline nose spray. You know I like Flo, who even makes adult versions of their nose spray.
  5. Socks. I try find those one with grips on the bottom so that when they speed down the aisle I can focus on keeping them quiet as opposed to focusing on them not slipping.
  6. An extra jersey for when they’re going to fall asleep.
  7. iPad or iPhone fully charged with games, movies or stories. If you’re able to – get the kids headphones. These were a lifesaver for me when I travelled long distance alone with the kids.
  8. A story book each.
  9. One small soft toy – this also helps with familiarizing your kids to their new beds on the other side of your trip.
  10. A spare change of clothes for you and them. One flight we had my son kicked my husband in the nose resulting in blood everywhere – 5 minutes into a 17 hour non-stop flight.
  11. Medicine, medicine, medicine. The last thing you want is your little one getting ill or developing a temp and being unable to do anything about it. I always pack an emergency kit in my carry-on with the basics: paracetamol, plasters, saline spray, ibuprofen, headache pills for me.


flying with children - what to pack


Ideas for great kids entertainment 

  • etchersketcher. From as young as a year it can be entertaining.
  • A notepad and soft coloring in crayons. You get shorter wax crayons which are great in the limited space.
  • Aeroplane toy.
  • Magnetic boards.
  • Sticker books
  • Small box of duplo.
  • Colouring in books.
  • Threading game with shapes.
  • Books – either travel themed or themes for the destination.

flying with children - different types of entertainment




Try get a good night’s sleep before your flights so that you can be on your A-game.

Please do let me know how it went and whether you have anything else to add to this list.

There are also some good steps you can take prior to flying to deal with the Jet Lag – have a quick read through the Jet Lag Post. 

For some idea of my first flight with the kids – going the distance by myself, read thflying long distance and surviving

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  1. We are planning to cart our toddlers across the US in May for the younger one’s second birthday (Washington to Florida) so while that isn’t quite as long as an international, it still is quite the flight. Thankfully I won’t be alone. I can’t even imagine doing that alone: kudos to you! Anyway, these tips are great. Thanks for posting!

  2. These are very good lists. I first flew internationally with my 8 month old son in 1983 from Hong Kong to New York. Back then the planes couldn’t travel as far so we made quite a few stops. I could have used a list like this back then when I was preparing to travel.

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