How To Survive A 10 Hour Flight With Little Ones

how to survive long flights with little ones

flying with kids

I was so excited to move to Hawaii back in 2014; new place to live, new memories, and new adventures. When I actually sat down and thought about the trip I didn’t realize that it would be 10 plus hours of flying, driving, and layovers of trips to just go see our family or even move back to the mainland. This is when I realized that flying with little ones was going to be rough. Going to Hawaii or leaving Hawaii my flight was always going to be about 10 hours or more. Yes an almost 10 hour flight from Honolulu, Hawaii to Atlanta, Georgia. This is not including the 2 hours in the airport before boarding our flight or the hour after we landed gathering all of our luggage and pups. I knew we needed to make this trip more fun.

My Traveling Stories

One of my trips was from Honolulu, Hawai’i all the way to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The trip there had a layover in Atlanta but the trip back to Hawai’i had 2 layovers in which one of them was delayed by a few hours making our trip over 24 hours long. In all reality, the trip felt like it took days! I made this trip all by myself and my two girls to say our final goodbyes to my grandfather before he passed away. It being a last minute trip, I wasn’t too prepared for anything. Definitely a good learning experience that brought me to find all the boredom busters needed to survive long flights with my little ones.

Our last trip was from Honolulu, Hawaii to Atlanta, Georgia and then to Tampa, Florida. My trip to Puerto Rico from Hawaii alone with the girls was much longer than this and was by far my biggest learning experience. By it being my biggest learning experience for flying solo, it made our trip to Florida a much better experience. It is not easy to travel with little ones whether you are accompanied with someone or doing it solo. Either way it can have its ups and downs especially with toddlers and infants. Here’s a few things I recommend on bringing to  keep your little ones entertained and happy.

flying with kids

What To Bring

Entertainment

  1. Bring a tablet and headphones – My daughter Bella has a Leap Pad and I would give it to her to play with along with extra batteries and several other games. You can also download more games online. It’s by far the best thing I had brought for her. If you fly with Delta you can also bring her some headphones cause on the long flights each person will get their own television and it has their own kids section for the kids to play games and watch movies. You can also bring your own tablet and put games and movies on it.

Snacks and Drinks

  1. Lollipops – You are probably thinking, “My kid doesn’t need any sugar to hype her up.” But this is where you are wrong. Letting them suck on a lollipop helps them with the air pressure that they get in their ears. My youngest, Isa, was crying and the minute I gave her a lollipop she felt better and she calmed down. It worked like magic. ​Just like we chew gum to help with the air pressure, lollipops help them out the same way.
  2. Bring snacks – I can’t stress this enough. They will drive you nuts if you don’t give them something to snack on. My daughters get bored and start asking for snacks and on a 10 hour flight, who doesn’t get bored and hungry. I brought animal crackers and other healthy snacks. You can bring trail mix or granola bars. Whatever works for you and your kiddos best.
  3. Drinks – Yes it can make your security process a little longer but if you have infants it’s good to buy the already made formula (if you don’t breastfeed) and juice boxes for your toddlers. I used a soy Enfamil formula for Isa like she was 1 1/2 years old on our last flight and though she nursed she also liked to use her sippy cup so those milks really were a life saver during the flight. They say not to bring any liquids through security but they also have a machine that will test the liquids inside of your containers. It does take a little longer but it will make life easier on the plane and you wouldn’t have to constantly bug the attendants on the plane. Or you can do just that. Either way, drinks are great to have.

Come Prepared

  1. Wipes – This is a must have on a long flight with little ones. Napkins will not do the trick when it comes to cleaning their dirty hands and nose, spills, and other messes that typical kids would make. Like I said before, you would be surprised at how much of a mess little kids can make with the least amount of stuff. My daughter spills her drink all the time or knocks my cup over so wipes were my best friend during our flight.
  2. Bring extra changes of clothes – Bring several not just one. You wouldn’t believe how many things they will spill on themselves. Plus you never know if they will have a bathroom accident. With so much going on sometimes kids will lose track of when they really have to go to the bathroom and have a small accident. It is good to take them to the bathroom every 1-2 hours (depending on child) or even put a diaper on the younger ones just to avoid a mess.
  3. Dress comfy – I wore yoga pants and a tank top and brought along a sweater. I also wore sneakers and brought an extra pair of socks and wore my most comfy bra. It’s a 10 hour flight. You don’t want to be trying to handle your little ones with some tight clothes on for that long. I’ve seen people do it but I like to be comfy on my trips so I wear clothes that I can sleep in. I’m not trying to dress to impress but dress to be a mom and deal with spit-ups, spills, and any other messes my kids may make. Plus if I get to have a few hours to nap on the plane with my little ones, I want to snuggle them and be comfy for them too.

flying with little ones

Traveling Tips & Needs

  1. Fly at night – Yes!!! When you book your flight try to get a night flight that way your little ones sleep most of the way. If they sleep, you sleep too.
  2. Less Layovers – When booking your flight try to get the flight with the least layovers. The shorter the trip the better, especially if you are flying at night.

Packing It All For Easy Boarding and Un-Boarding

  1. Bring a small rolling carry-on to put it all on – Yes we did the mistake of using a shoulder bag and a book bag and I regret not using a roll on one. It would of made my life so much easier. Trying to carry one kid and bags was just way too much for those tiny aisles on the plane. I probably accidentally hit a few people’s heads on my way out and I felt absolutely horrible about it. If you have older kids then a book-bag will work great but with infants or babies a rolling one will be your best option.
  2. A baby carrier – This was an awesome thing to bring. Most people I see are struggling trying to carry their baby and their bags. Make life easier and use a baby carrier and front load your little one. Makes boarding the plane so much easier. You can easily put your carry on on top and sit down and your baby will be on your front so it’s easy and quick to take them out. I used my Ergo carrier (you can get one here) and it is lightweight and easy to take her in and out during boarding and un-boarding. The Ergo is also very convenient as it can easily roll into a much smaller size for easy storage during your flight.
  3. Don’t bring a purse – I just put all of my stuff in my carry on. I leave my wallet in a handy area that way it is easy to grab when in the airport but not visible for others to take. I also had a small little pouch where I put my chap-stick, eyeliner, mascara, and feminine items in. The less you bring the better. Plus now all that extra space, your kids will occupy it with their stuff.

how to survive long flights with little ones

Update April 22, 2018

  1. A coloring book and small pack of crayons – This will help keep them entertained for a while. You can even color with them making it a little more fun for them. Pack them either crayons or coloring pencils to color with. You can buy one of those small packs at Walmart or Target for a few dollars that has a small coloring book, 4 crayons, and some stickers. You can also get some cute ones here.
  2. Activity books – Usborne has some amazing sticker books and activity books that are perfect for boredom busters. My daughters love their activity pads. I got them the Christmas Activity Pad and it is filled with educational and fun activities. These books have helped keep my girls entertained in waiting rooms, restaurants, road-trips and more. These books are thin and lightweight making them easy to carry along on your trips. Get yours here and if you need any book recommendations, don’t hesitate to ask me.
  3. Wipe Clean Books – You can also get some wipe-clean books at Usborne here. These books are educational yet fun. To make it even more fun, you can get them colored expo markers and a cool dry eraser. These books are thin and lightweight making them easy to carry along on your trips. Get yours here and if you need any book recommendations, don’t hesitate to ask me.
  4. A small book-bag for the older kids – Make the trip exciting and fun for them. This is a good idea for older kids that don’t mind carrying around a small book-bag. Get them a cool book-bag that is just for traveling. Every time you have a trip, put their favorite books, games, headphones, and snacks in it. Don’t hesitate in throwing in a few new goodies. Doing this will keep them excited and ready to dig in to their new and favorite goodies when they get on the plane.

Update 6/28/2017:

​I just watched how my dear friend Dawna traveled with her toddler. Here’s a few of the things that they used during their flight.

  • Window clings like this one to help keep her baby girl distracted from the boredom that comes with long flights.
  • Snacks in a container making it fun for her little one to pick and choose her snacks. You can get a fun container like this one and put different snacks in each compartment. This will make snack time on the plan a little more fun for your little ones.

I’m sure there’s more ways to make your trips much easier but these are some of the few things that have helped my long flights become more enjoyable. I know that the more I travel with my children the more I will learn. Feel free to share your traveling tips and tricks in the comments below. I would love to learn new things.

flight with little ones

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