Top tips for travelling with baby on board

Flying with babies doesn’t have to be daunting. Here, four well-travelled parents share their tips for making flights with little ones as fuss-free as possible.

Flying with babies can be stressful - but it doesn't have to be.
  • Rachel Gray
  • September 2019

Here’s how to pack, what to take and ways to conquer plane trips with babies and toddlers.

Take your own snacks

In her role as a marriage celebrant, Shannon Jeans opens in new window travels a lot with her three-year-old daughter and nine-month-old son – between them, the kids have already clocked up more than 30 flights. “Give kids healthy food options like carrot sticks and hummus instead of sugary snacks so they don’t become hyperactive,” says Shannon. “Backpacks with lots of pockets are the key, so you know where everything is kept and it’s accessible – quickly! For babies, arrive early to request a bassinet – trust me, you’ll be glad you did. To help toddlers sleep on the plane, wear them out by walking them around the airport instead of pushing them in the stroller. And on the plane, request an aisle seat so you can get up with them without disturbing fellow passengers.”

Experts recommend carrying healthy snacks for kids.
It's a good idea to always have healthy snacks close at hand.

Use just one bag for you and bub

“Consolidate luggage by fitting everything for you and the kids into a backpack. Don’t give your toddler their own bag – you’ll just end up carrying them and the bag!” says Michal Johnson, founder of opens in new window blog. The mother-of-two took her son on his first international flight at eight months old and her youngest flew for the first time at four weeks old. “Save time and frustration by packing a case containing two nappies, wipes and cream that you can pick out of the carry-on bag in front of you. This makes it easier to get to the bathroom in a hurry. For the toddler years, an Etch A Sketch saved my mind. They can draw and scribble without the worry of losing all the crayons or textas under the seats.”

Don't forget the must-have items

“Take essentials such as baby wipes (keep plenty on hand) – and do not forget Play-Doh if you have a toddler,” says Kelly Winder, the creator of parenting support website opens in new window. The mother-of-three has been flying with her kids since they were only four months old and also recommends carrying “a spare change of clothes for you and your child that you can layer – you never know what mess you might end up wearing. Be last to board the plane. Keep the little ones running around and entertained at the gates so when you get on the plane, it’s a new and exciting environment and they will be calmer for take-off as they discover their new surroundings.” And her final words of advice: “Just stay calm; don’t worry about what others might be thinking, just focus on allowing your own calmness to rub off on your child.”

 Bring a ball of Play-Doh - it works wonders with toddlers.
Play-Doh can be a life-saver when it comes to keeping little ones entertained.

Check what you can take

Adelaide-based mum-of-three Natalie Peachey opens in new window packed up her family in February 2018 to travel the country and blog about life on the road. “Check airline rules about what you can bring on board,” is her advice. “We often take a small carton of milk – otherwise we have to pop open about 30 of those tiny UHT cartons. We also take what we use for their sleep routine at home to keep them calm, so that’s usually their comforters and bottles. It can be tempting to get on the plane and give them their toys all at once, instead, rotate new and old matchbox cars, farm animals or puzzles every half an hour to keep them entertained.” And one final tip: “Fill a pillbox with sultanas and Tiny Teddy biscuits to keep their little hands busy during those moments when they start getting fidgety, whingey or bored.”