Traveling by air with children can be challenging, but planning for the trip ahead can help reduce the stress.

A few things to note:

– Passengers traveling with an infant or toddler are permitted to carry a reasonable quanity of liquid for the infant or toddler on board for the duration of the flight. A ‘reasonable quantity’ will be at the discretion of the security officer at customs.

– Most airlines generally consider a “child” to be aged between 2 and 11. Children who fall into this bracket must have their own ticket and occupy their own seat. For domestic flights a child fare is usually the same as an adult, however, certain fees or taxes might be lower. On international flights, child airfares may be charged at 50% – 80% of the full adult fare depending on the airline and route.

– Ask friends or your travel agent for advice on child-friendly airlines, some airlines are more helpful than others.

My partner and I have traveled several times both domestically and internationally since our now 3 year old was born. As a nanny I have also accompanied families on flights with their children. Over the years I have learnt some tips and tricks to help make travelling with babies and young children a little less stressful:

  • Try to book flights that will fit into your baby’s routine. Flying at night is a great idea for long-haul journeys.
  •  If you have a young baby, try and arrange with the airline for a bassinet prior to departure.
  • When booking your tickets, ask for a seat with extra legroom – airlines won’t seat parents caring for children at emergency exits, but the bulkhead seats do offer a little more space.
  • A car seat can be taken on board, but you will need to book a seat for it.
  • Encourage your kids to have a good play and run around before any flight – even if it is in the airport.
  • Take children to the toilet or change baby’s nappy before you board.
  • Dress your child in a couple of light layers so you can add or remove layers as necessary.
  • The change in cabin pressure during  take-off and, in particular, during descent and landing can hurt a child’s ears, so:

– If baby is breastfed or bottle fed, try to feed baby during take-off and landing

– If baby has a dummy, get them to suck on it for take-off and landing.

– Try and give your child something to eat or drink (drinking with a straw can help).

– For older children, chewing on a lolly or sucking on a lolly pop can help.

  • Don’t hesitate to ask the flight attendants for help.

Carry on bag for baby

  • When packing your bag, remember that your flight may be delayed so always pack extra.
  • Baby carrier for walking around the plane/airport & for getting on and off the plane.
  • Pack a change of clothes for yourself.
  • Nappies
  • Wipes
  • Nappy rash cream
  • Fold up or disposable change mat.
  • Nappy bags for dirty nappies or dirty clothes.
  • Cloth or small towel.
  • Tissues
  • Paracetamol appropriate for child’s age.
  • Thermometer
  • Other medication baby may take regularly.
  • Change of clothes – Put a change of clothes with nappy and socks etc, into a zip lock bag. This will make it easier to locate when you need to change your baby.
  • Sleeping bag
  • Baby blanket
  • Toy arch to place over/clip on to bassinet.
  • Small padded mirror that can be placed in the bassinet.
  • Wrap to place over bassinet or seat – this will help to block out light and prevent the air conditioning from blowing down on baby’s face. May also need some double sided tape to help hang it over the bassinet.
  • A pillow – this can be placed across your lap and baby can sleep on here with the seatbelt attached.
  • Their comforter that may help settle them.
  • Dummy and lids.
  • Bottles and formula.
  • Sippy cup
  • Bibs
  • Extra zip lock bags
  • If baby is eating homemade purees, make sure they are kept at the correct temperature.

Snack ideas for baby/toddler

Don’t forget to pack some snacks for yourself!

  • Sliced fresh fruit or vegetables.
  • Baby rusks
  • Sandwiches
  • Popcorn
  • Sultanas/dried fruit
  • Rice crackers
  • Yoghurt pouches frozen
  • Grated cheese/cheese sticks/cheese slices
  • Homemade muffins or other home made snacks.
  • Mini cereal packets/weetbixs in a container.
  • Cherry tomatoes, carrot, celery, cucumber sticks with hommus.
  • Pikelets
  • Pretzels
  • Trail mix
  • Their favourite drink and snacks.


  • Peekaboo
  • For older children ‘I SPY’
  • Sing songs
  • Look through photos/videos on your phone.
  • To help pass time during stop overs/delays at the airport- balloons & small container of bubbles.
  • ‘Paint with water book’ & small paint brush.
  • Play dough and a few small shape cutters.
  • Books to read.
  • Small scrapbook
  • Stickers
  • Pencils/crayons
  • ‘Dot to Dot’ activity book.
  • Travel size games eg snap, mini trouble, pack of cards & UNO.
  • Mini ‘etcha-sketch’
  • Magnetic picture book
  • Mini whiteboard
  • Kid-size headphones
  • Download their favourite show on your phone or ipad.
  • Finger puppets
  • Small cars
  • Small packet of blocks/lego
  • Small presents individually wrapped – Purchase a few new small toys that can be unwrapped on the plane e.g. cars, trains, a ball, stickers, mini book, little plastic animals etc.
  • Small rattle for baby
  • Small Doll