Long haul flight with toddler and baby

Long haul flight with toddler and baby

We just survived our long haul flight with toddler and a baby – Thailand here we come!

Lots of parents worry about flying with a toddler. We thought it might help to have our ‘itinerary’ and packing list of the flight we just took. We were on the plane for 12 hours. Our 2 1/2 year old and 9 month old were well behaved and the adults got to the end of it still feeling pretty happy and positive. So here’s how we did it:

Read about living abroad here

Carry on luggage packing list for a long haul flight with toddler and baby

Being prepared will make your long haul flight with toddler or baby go much more smoothly. Here was our packing list for our flight:

Sleep aids for our toddler and baby

Long haul flight with toddler - Toddler sleeping on a plane in his sleep sack
Sleeping on a plane
  • Sleep sac for Jack (this is Jack’s main sleep aid, so we take it everywhere)
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Vitamin (a bit extreme? When you’re flying with a toddler it’s important to maintain their routines as well as possible)
  • Carrier for Cade (our baby)

Toys/entertainment – flying with a toddler essentials

Image of books with 'Giraffes can't dance' on top to help survive a long haul flight with toddler
Some favourite books for the plane
  • 10 books
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Airport toy set
  • Old wallet with animal cards
  • iPhone with some favourite movies


  • Nappies, changing mat, wipes, poo bags
  • Change of clothes for each boy
  • Snacks
  • Water

Travel documents

  • Passports
  • Address and instructions for getting to the hotel

Itinerary for a long haul flight with toddler and baby

Hour 1: Talking, getting settled and being excited about being on the plane. Playing with his new monkey cuddly toy.

Hour  2: Reading books

Flying with children successfully is all about entertaining them and helping them nap. Here's Jack reading 'In the Foggy Foggy Forest' (his favourite book) on the plane.
Reading ‘In the Foggy Foggy Forest’ on a plane

Hours 3-4: We ate lunch and then continued to play with the plastic cups and plates. We made Babycinos, ate chick peas that were ‘too spicy, so we added yogurt. Then we made cookies which sometimes burned us, so we had to run our fingers under the hot tap. Flying with a toddler can be a way to bond, honest!

Hours 5-6: Watching The Lion King on phone. Jack got sleepy while watching it and cuddled up to Karl for a nap.

Hour 7: Playing with stickers, and having a snack

Hour 8: We did both boy’s bedtime routine as well as we could, including teeth brushing. Then I walked around the plane with Cade in the carrier until he fell asleep. That meant that Karl could help Jack sleep across two seats.

More here on helping your child to sleep whilst travelling

Hours 9-11: Boys sleeping. Karl and I resting and eating the next meal. I had to go back to my seat because of turbulence, but by that point Jack was sleepy enough to move him so Karl could sit down.

Hour 12: Jack woke up in time to have a bit of food. He was a bit cranky, but some more books and talking about the landing got us through.

So there you have it. 12 hours on a plane with two small boys. Going on a crazy long flight with toddler and baby wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d expected, in fact, it was better than some of the 7 hour flights to Canada that we’ve done. I think this is due to a couple of things:

Tips for surviving a long haul flight with toddler and baby

  1. Be prepared. I packed carefully and chose toys that would entertain Jack for longest. Flying with a toddler is easier if they’re entertained!
  2. Get a good night’s sleep the night before – we booked an airport hotel so we wouldn’t have to rush out in the morning
  3. Keep yourself well fed and hydrated – always bring snacks and water on a plane. Being on a long flight with a toddler is draining – you’ll find it easier if you’re not hungry!
  4. Try and get your kids to sleep on the plane – think about when they’d normally do their naps and bedtime. Try and keep to those same timings and do their routines as well as you can. On a long haul flight with a toddler you’ll be on it long enough to need to get them to sleep. Here’s our guide on getting children to sleep when out and about.
  5. Enjoy it – you’re going on holiday! Flying with a toddler can be great if they’re being all cute, happy and excited. If you’re excited, your kids will be too.

Good luck!



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