Long Haul Flight with a Toddler


How many times have you thought to yourself, ‘wouldn’t a holiday in the Caribbean, America, Asia or even Australia be nice?’ And then you’ve thought immediately after, ‘I could never go that far with a baby or toddler on the plane, it would be awful!’. Well here is how to do a long haul flight with a toddler.

Most people get a sort of cabin fever when it comes to taking a little one on a plane and then that wonderful holiday in the sun becomes a week away in the UK. We’ve all thought about how our fellow passengers would feel if our children were playing up (we were probably all once one of those people that roll their eyes or have a look of dread when they see a child come onto the plane before we had children of our own). We’ve probably all thought ‘how can I travel anywhere with someone on my lap for so long?’. ‘How will I ever entertain my toddler for so long?’ ‘What can I feed them?’ ‘What liquids/milk can I take?’ ‘Can I really do a long haul flight with a toddler?’ The list really is endless.

My mum, stepdad and sisters all emigrated to Australia 7 years ago so unfortunately for me the decision about doing a long haul flight with a toddler was taken out of my hands. It was always going to be a must rather than a want. I’m very fortunate in my life so far to have travelled to many different places so flying on a plane is very familiar to me. The hubby and I are jetsetters and it looks like Eva and bump are headed for the same path. In fact the first holiday we took Eva on was when she was 7 months old to Turkey. That flight is 4 hours so that in itself for a first time flight is quite long.A big top tip I can first give you is for when you are booking your flights. Try and find night time flights that follow the time zones you are going in to. We left London at 20.50pm and landed in Dubai at 06.00am. This was ideal as we knew that once Eva had calmed down from the initial excitement of being on the plane that she would fall asleep. She was awake for a couple of hours and then slept the rest of the way until we landed. As we then landed in the morning she wasn’t jet lagged at all. When we left Dubai for Australia we did the same thing. The more time they can sleep on the plane the better. Also when you are booking your flights try and get the row of seats which are behind a bulk head. These give you a lot more leg room than any other seats.Before you do a long haul flight with a toddler the first thing to do is make a list of everything you think you’ll need such as food, drinks, milk, comforters and soothers, change of clothes, nappies, toys etc. I always think that it’s best to over estimate what you may want and that way you won’t be stressed out if you think you’ve forgotten anything.

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Eva is now 2 and a half years old but she still has milk before bed. Seeing as it’s not formula I knew on a long haul flight that they would have milk so I didn’t need to take any. However, when you are on board make sure you ask the staff in advance to warm it up because they don’t have any microwaves and will just have to rest a bottle in boiling water. Seeing as Eva is over 2 and she has her own seat, she also has children’s meals so I didn’t need to worry about anything like that. I did pack small snacks though such as raisins and breadsticks.

One of the most important things to remember to pack are your toddlers comforters. For Eva  this is her dreaded dummy (I packed a few) and her very precious bunny teddy bear that she does not fall asleep without. The easiest way to get them settled is to have all of their familiar things around them that make them feel safe.

It’s also a good idea to take a blanket and maybe a small pillow. Even though you are given these items on board we all know how uncomfortable these plane seats can be so it’s always nice to have anything extra to make the seat more cushioned.

Eva is still in nappies so I packed quite a few of them along with a few spare changes of clothes. If your toddler is potty trained i’d suggest taking extra pants incase of any accidents, you know how long toilet queues can be on planes.

Now for the entertainment. We got a Trunki, which I can’t recommend enough. It’s the prefect way for children to feel ‘grown up’ with their own bag whilst having the fun of being able to pull it around or ride along on it themselves. I won’t go into a huge deal about them as i’m going to do a separate post on them later on but check out their website here, https://www.trunki.co.uk. We filled the Trunki with all of Eva’s entertainment. This included mostly new things that she had not seen before. We had sticker books, colouring books, crayons, stamps, lego, felt shapes, mini peppa pig toys, books, an iPad and Eva’s own tablet from On the movies. There is a review of the tablet here.

I think the best way to do a long haul flight with a toddler and keep them entertained is with brand new stuff and to give it to them one thing at a time over as long a period of a time as possible. Another tip is that you could wrap the new stuff up so again that is even more entertaining by unwrapping each thing.

Also remember on a long haul flight that you have an interactive screen with each seat. These are normally loaded with a huge amount of movies, programmes and games. Eva adored this on our flights.

Have you done a long haul flight with a toddler? Have you got any tips you want to share?

This post about a long haul flight with a toddler has been written by Kerry from South Wales who writes a fab blog All About a Mini Norris she has been travelling a lot with her little one so is well placed to tell you all about it. Kerry can be found tweeting @amininorrisblog so pop along and link up with her for more tips.

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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

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