Going out of town for the first time as a single parent?  Probably thinking it will be the worst flight ever.

We’ve done our research, prepared for the nightmare ahead of us, and put together the best list we could for flying alone with young children.

Below are 15 tips and age-based checklists to properly prepare you for traveling with a young child, both domestic and internationally.

Flying Alone with Young Children Under the Age of 2

Tip #1: Just because children under 2 fly for free (on your lap) does not mean it’s the best route to go.  Buy a seat, bring a pillow.

Tip #2: Check your stroller at the gate so that you have it until you board the plane and right when you get off the plane.

Tip #3: Bring food.  Bring milk.  Bring water. Bring tons of food and drink. As you go through security, you’ll simply need to have liquids stored separately in a clear plastic bag.

Tip #4: Magnesium or cold chamomile tea helps with teething by calming the nerves.

Tip #5: Bring your car seat, strap it in the airplane seat, let your little one sleep.

Checklist

  • Diapers
  • Baby Wipes
  • Blanket
  • Change(s) of clothes
  • Pacifiers
  • Toys
  • Plenty of snacks and bottles.
  • Extra zip-lock bag for soiled clothes.
  • Stroller
  • Milk, juice, and formula for a baby are exempt from the three-ounce liquid rule.
  • Car Seat

Tip #6: Make sure your baby chews on a pacifier or toddler chew gum during takeoff to help reduce pressure in the ears.

Traveling Alone with Children Ages 2 to 5

Tip #7: Inform the airline ahead of time about any allergies. Typically they’ll not serve nuts if there is a tree nut or peanut allergy on board.

Tip #8: If you’re traveling out of the country, you should get travel insurance as your primary health insurance doesn’t cover you or your dependents medically while abroad.

Tip #9: You should book for a row in the back of the plane to minimize attention. Usually, there are restrooms in the back, and your toddler can stretch.

Tip #10: Always book a direct flight as getting back onto a plane can add to the frustration or better yet, humiliation.

Tip #11: Some would say to pre-board before everyone else onto the plane. I disagree. The least amount of time on the plane the better.

Tip #12: Some airports have play areas for kids to get energy out prior to the flight.  Let your kids run the long walkways if the airport is empty.

Tip #13: If your child still takes a nap, flights during this time may help them sleep. If you can do a late-night flight, that may help too.

Book a window seat so the child can lean against the wall to sleep.

Tip #14: Download the GoGo Air app before your flight. Not all flights have entertainment provided. This app applies to most if not all airlines. Just in case the plane doesn’t have TV on the back of the seat, you can always access movies, shows, and games on your phone on this app for free.

Tip #15: Ask a flight attendant if they have wings to pin on their clothes to make them the child feel like they’re part of the flight crew.

Follow these tips, and you should be good to go on your next flight out!


About the Author:

Shawn Plummer is an insurance expert training advisors for over 10 years, a parent of a feisty little girl, and blogs for The Traveling Parent and The Annuity Expert.