How to travel with toddlers and have fewer people hate you.

Posted on May 9, 2012


flying with children

Welcome to this week’s installment of WTF Wednesday, where we fix problems you didn’t even know you had.

This week’s question comes from John Pseudonymous, master of the blog Twinfamy, owner of the FaceBook page Twinfamy  and keeper of the Twitter feed Twinfamy. I’d say he’s got the Twinfamy brand pretty well wrapped up.  He’s a great writer so check out the Twinfamy franchise.

Mr. Pseudonymous writes:

Dear IBMP,

I will soon be taking my 15-month-old twins on their very first airplane trip. Do you have any suggestions for making this a successful (and dare I say enjoyable) endeavor?

John Pseudonymous


Well, John, if by successful you mean nobody dies, then yes, I have some tips.  But enjoyable? I can promise minimally sucky, but that’s the best I can do.

The first tip is to not under any circumstances fall for the pre-boarding-aren’t-you-special-because-you-have-kids thing. Do you really want to sit on the plane with your toddlers an extra 15 minutes longer than everyone else? If they really cared about parents, they’d let us board 30 seconds before takeoff and pop the emergency exits on landing as soon as the plane has slowed enough to inflate the slides. The only thing that makes pre-boarding with kids worthwhile is the knowledge that the snooty folks in First Class have an extra fifteen minutes of putting up with your kids, too.

We had a question once about dealing with toddler tantrums in the department store. I talked about the importance of preparing a Toddler Tantrum Kit and making sure everyone knows how to use it. The ingredients of your kit are similar for flying and include:

Duct tape. One roll is sufficient for the average sized toddler but be sure to check it regularly and replace it when it gets down to about a third.

Bullet-proof vest. It seems a bit extreme until you find yourself sitting in a crowded plane surrounded by angry people who have either not yet had kids themselves or have managed to forget that their kids were just like yours back in the day.

Xanax. Whether you or the child takes it is up to you. It’s also good to have enough on hand to offer to the rest of the passengers (I know it’s rude to leave them out, but I recommend not offering it to the pilots.).

iPod with noise-cancelling headphones. This is more so you don’t have to listen to the angry childless people who actually have the nerve to approach you to suggest you and your offspring consider walking to Grandma’s next time.

Those things will help you survive, but to really make the most out of travelling with your toddlers, consider these tips:

  • Invite Grandma and “accidentally” book her seat between the twins, 28 rows behind your seats.
  • Invest in two large pet carrier duffle bags. You can slide the kids under the seats in front of you and relax into a good in-flight movie.
  • I’ve mentioned the Jujube technique before, but it’s worth repeating here: 3-5 Jujubes, when placed in the child’s mouth at the start of the flight should glue the teeth together (and the mouth shut) for at least a few hours.
  • Games are always a good option. I was always a fan of “Let’s see who can pretend I’m not your daddy the longest.” Hide and seek is another good one; just make sure you slide the lock on the lavatory door all the way or your kids may find you within the first hour or two of the flight.

So you see, John, travelling with toddlers doesn’t have to be a total nightmare for you and your wife. Sucks to be the passengers, though.

Problem solved! You’re welcome.

Posted in: Advice (bad)