If you’re trying to avoid a toddler tantrum in flight, you’ll want to check out this flying with a toddler checklist before you leave for the airport.
First Time Flying with A Toddler
Prior to our visit to Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Orlando, Florida, my husband and I were extremely apprehensive when planning our vacation.
My husband had a convention for work in the area, and we turned it into a 10-day family trip. Unsure of how our two-year-old would react, we decided to fly down and drive back (not my best idea!).
To my surprise, there was a LOT of construction going on. The resort sent us an email to let us know (even though there was more construction than I assumed), and they complimented our stay with $300 worth of gift cards to be used at the resort/theme park.
Initially, I had a hard time figuring out where to eat and mingle while at the resort since we didn’t receive a map (considering the amount of work going on), but everyone was extremely friendly.
Growing up, I’ve always loved Disney movies, but maybe I was the oddball who never aspired to visit the “happiest place on earth.” Beyond being grateful for the opportunity to travel, our trip to Disney would be a first for my husband and daughter as well.
Because of Stud Muffin’s convention, we planned to visit Disney World for one day. We arrived on Saturday, May 6th and I had four days to figure out what to do until then.
Flying with A Toddler Checklist
WHAT TO PACK
Since we were staying for 10 days, we didn’t stress about packing. We were planning to visit the nearest Walmart anyway to gather food/drinks to keep in the hotel room.
Microwaves are a dying breed in hotel rooms. Unless you don’t mind ordering most nights, you’ve been warned. Here’s what we packed:
- Car seat
- Diaper bag (10 diapers)
- 2 packs of wipes
- 3 pairs of shoes (sandals and sneakers)
- 2 bathing suits
- Swim diaper (I wish I remembered this but purchased one at the resort)
- 5 shorts/thin pants
- 7 shirts
- 3 dresses/skirts
- 4 pairs of socks
- Hair tiesBrush/comb (we shared)
- Outfits (I went to Goodwill to purchase 7 outfits (shirts/shorts) since I don’t own summer clothes)
- Sneakers and 2 pairs of flats
- Vlog Camera, charger and camera bag
- GoPro (for vlogging), charger and camera bag
- MacBook and charger
- Glasses, case, cloth, and wipes
- First aid kit (travel version)
- Contacts solution and case
FLYING WITH A TODDLER
We flew Southwest Airlines and our flight left at 4:32 am. FYI – They have family boarding which allows anyone with children to board after those in first class.
Make sure you ask about infant/toddler rates to get a discounted rate. We were charged an adult rate for our two-year-old and had no idea to double-check (first-time parent probs?).
Q: Did we purchase a ticket for our daughter?
Yes, any child over the age of 2 must have a ticket purchased on their behalf. Any child above 14 days and under 2, unoccupying a seat, may be carried with an adult. — Southwest Airlines policy
Q: Did you take a car seat? Is it necessary?
Yes, we initially didn’t know if this was mandatory, or if provided by the airline.
Since a carseat was an option with our Florida rental vehicle, we (almost) assumed that the airline would have something available (like they do in restaurants). I know bad parenting.
Thankfully, we decided to just bring our own and canceled the “rented” car seat from Enterprise (saved $40).
Q: Car Seats Approved for Aircraft?
We have two, but I preferred bringing our Britax car seat since it’s easier to get in and out, and feels extremely secure once strapped in.
It is SUPER heavy, but out of the three that we’ve owned, this is by far the best car seat to date. If you’re flying Southwest, they have dimensions of approved car seats for aircraft.
However, after calling the 1-800 number, the representative told me to google my car seat, so I did: “Are Britax car seats TSA approved?” As it turns out, all car seats by the brand are approved. Simple, right?
Q: How was Our Toddler’s First Flight
Booking an early flight was a blessing in disguise. Since we were planning to drive back home, our friend dropped us off at the airport. Mya (our daughter) was awake the entire time until just after takeoff.
Since we all had a late night (scared that we’d miss our flight), Mya ended up going to bed late the previous night, but I tried to get her a full night’s rest (ended up being around seven hours, though).
Tip: a colleague suggested to us to make sure she gets rest so that she isn’t startled in the airport, on the plane, etc. since everything would be a new environment. Note taken. She did very well on the plane. I’m assuming she was too tired and confused (since it was so early) to be chatty on the plane. She slept the entire ride until we touched Orlando clouds.
Disney’s Caribbean Resort
We stayed at a total of three hotels during our family vacation. We spent the most time at our second location at Disney’s Caribbean Resort. We based our hotel stay on which theme park we intended to visit; in our case, Magic Kingdom.
The resort was beautiful! If your intentions are only visiting Disney-related things, this was a great hotel. Since I didn’t aspire to visit Disney World, I didn’t have any expectations, but if I did – Disney exceeded them.