Tips + Tricks for Flying with Small Children

Tips + Tricks for Flying with Small Children

Tips + Tricks for Flying with Small Children

Our family recently flew from Omaha to San Diego. Despite me stressing out for weeks beforehand, we had an amazing trip! Here are some tips and tricks for flying with small children that made our trip easier, as well as things I would do differently next time.

flying, travel, children, airport

Pack Light

I cannot stress this enough! To avoid baggage fees, my husband and I decided we would only check one bag.

Not our smartest idea! We checked one giant suitcase. Then, we carried two backpacks, a laptop bag, a camera bag, and a duffel bag onto the plane. Just let that sink in for a moment … two adults with two kids …. and five carry on bags!

Pack Light.

Snacks. Snacks. Snacks.

There is nothing like having to wait around airports to turn my kids into the HUNGRIEST children on the planet. Airport snacks are expensive.

Pro tip: Have your snacks in a gallon sized plastic bag (or two) in a place that is easy to access. Some TSA lines will require you to separate out any food when going through the scanners.

Car Seats

Disclaimer: The safest way to fly with kids is to purchase a ticket for each child, bring their car seats onto the plane, and have them ride in their seats for the flight. Do NOT check your car seats as luggage. The integrity of your car seat can be compromised by the rough luggage handling.

However, purchasing separate tickets for infants under the age of two and carrying multiple car seats through the airport was not a feasible option for us. Here is how our family handled the car seat dilemma.

We planned for my sister-in-law to pick us up from the airport with two car seats installed in her vehicle. When a last-minute scheduling snafu the day before made that impossible, we were left to scramble and arrange for a way to get from the airport to our vacation rental.

San Diego has several car services that offer car seats. We arranged for one to pick us up from the airport. Our driver had age-appropriate car seats installed and ready for us to use. The car seats were in pristine condition (they seriously looked brand new) and were properly installed. Our driver even played toddler tunes on the radio during our drive. 

Family Preboarding

Most airlines offer some form of early boarding for families with young children. Take advantage of that.


I was incredibly anxious about how the kids would act on the plane.

They ended up being super wiggly the whole flight. However, if any of the passengers were bothered by us, no one made it known. I just needed to take a whole bunch of really deep breaths and relax. After all, we were on vacation, right?

Pack Light

Remember when I said I couldn’t stress this enough?

Next time you fly with young kids, remember to pack light but with lots and lots of snacks. 

Oh and take a deep breath and enjoy your vacation. 

About the Author



Guest Contributor

Des Moines Parent is community of many voices. We invite you to contribute your news and ideas. Here you will find posts from a rotating group writers; sharing their parenting stories, local news, community services, creative ideas and more. If you are interested in contributing to our website please click on the "Contact Us" link at the top of the page.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *