Planning to travel with kids? Good for you! But if you’re taking a toddler, heed this advice from MomsGetReal’s Megan Gregory!

You don’t need the car seat on the plane.

It turns out, every other mom must already know that despite the written policy, you don’t have to bring your car seat onto the plane. In fact, I recommend against it. When we traveled with our son, we made him sit in his car seat on the way, and it provided just enough elevation to be able to kick the person sitting in front of him. Without the car seat, his legs couldn’t reach the seat. So, there’s that. Plus, in a plane crash, is a car seat really going to do anything?  I know they say it’s for turbulence, but still.

Let them run and climb during layovers.

Before the flight and during layovers, let the kid run, crawl, climb, jump, and whatever else to use that built up energy before they are stuck sitting for hours upon hours. Believe me, I was nervous about my son crawling on the dirty airport floors, but some wipes and hand sanitizer helped alleviate that concern, and I was so thankful he got some of that energy out of his body.

Even if you’re a no-screen time mom, you might want to break your rule, just this once.

I admit, we tried to minimize how much television our son watched, particularly when he was super little, but for the five hour plane ride he got to watch movies the entire time, and it made the flight much more pleasant for everyone. He sat still, stayed quiet, and giggled at the cartoons.  It was actually pretty cute. It also provided me a chance to calm down and not feel so stressed about him throwing a tantrum.

Bring toys, snacks, and books.

Whether or not your child uses everything you bring, it’s nice to have options.  I know with my son, it’s almost guaranteed whatever I offer him first he will reject, so I need second and third options (and then sometimes I re-offer him the first thing and then he will accept it).  Snacks are particularly important in my family because many of us have blood sugar issues and when we get hungry our moods drastically shift!

Do not forget their security blanket, special toy, or whatever it is that comforts them.

Not that my son would ever let me forget his two special blankets, but if it ever happened that we did not bring those I would be in TROUBLE.  Even if you think you don’t need whatever their special item is, BRING IT.  Better safe than miserable.

 Commit to the window cover being up or down, and do not let your child see that it can be changed.

Go ahead, thank me now.  Because once your kid realizes the cover goes up and down – they will continue moving it up and down and it will drive you insane.

Try to prevent their ears from clogging.

For infants: have them use a pacifier, give them a bottle, or breast feed them as the plane takes off.  The sucking action helps prevent their ears from clogging

For toddlers: Have them drink through a straw, chew gum (if they’re old enough for that), or actively eat a snack.  The chewing and sucking action help prevent the ears from clogging.

What travel tips would you add?