5 Things You Need for a Plane/Road Trip With Your Toddler

toddler trip toys

Last weekend we went to Ilocos to celebrate my Lolo's (grandfather) 90th birthday. It was Audrey and Antonino's first out of town trip. My Lolo is based in Ilocos Norte but for this special occasion, he treated us to a vacation at a resort in Ilocos Sur. This meant that getting from Manila to the resort involved a one-hour plane ride and a three-hour road trip. For the longest time, Joey and I have been really intimidated by the thought of traveling with twin toddlers but of course, we couldn't miss my Lolo's milestone birthday.

toddler airport

Our flight to Ilocos was at 12 noon on a Friday. The drive to the airport took a little over 2 hours but was manageable because it coincided with the twins' morning nap time. Check-in for the flight took a bit longer than usual because of all our luggage. Once we were at the boarding gate, we let the twins run around a bit hoping they would get tired and fall asleep during the flight - they didn't. They also refused to drink their milk during takeoff which got me worried they would get bad ear pain. So Joey and I offered them their favorite wafer snacks to get them to chew. I guess it worked because they didn't show any signs of discomfort. Whew, takeoff, check! Now on to the rest of the flight and road trip...

Pre-kid days, an hour-long flight meant getting to nap for an hour and feeling refreshed once you arrive at your destination. With kids, though, you have to stay awake and play the role of entertainer and snack dispenser. Same with the three-hour road trip. Luckily, both trips went better than expected. Well, except for that one time I had to do an in-flight diaper change, but that story deserves its own post.

The twins stayed on our laps during the plane ride, and in their car seats (asleep most of the time) during the car ride. Of course there were difficult moments when they would wiggle, cry and get cranky but we survived thanks to our bag of tricks! I'm not saying this is guaranteed to make traveling with toddlers easy breezy, but I can tell you that these things made our air and land trips more manageable for everyone. The experience also made us more confident to plan more adventures in the near future.

Note: This is a list of things to keep your toddler entertained during a plane or road trip.  Of course it's important to keep your diaper bag stocked with everyday toddler essentials like diapers, wipes, milk, etc.

5 Things You Need for a Plane/Road Trip With Your Toddler.

toddler plane road trip things you need

I'm sure it's no surprise that I put snacks on top of the list since Joey and I have this running joke that I should call myself Snack Mama instead of Starter Mama. I loaded up our carry-on bags with Audrey and Antonino's favorite snacks. We ended up bringing twice the amount of snacks we normally carry which was great because they helped keep the twins still whenever they got fussy and I didn't have to worry about running out when the captain announced that we would have to wait around 5-10 minutes because we were second in line for takeoff.

For both adults and kids, it's really uncomfortable when the sun suddenly gets in your eyes. Because of this, I made sure to pack Audrey and Antonino's sunglasses. We love these sunglasses from Babiators. Aside from providing 100% UVA/UVB protection, they also fit the twins' tiny faces perfectly. I also feel like they were made to withstand rough toddler hands. Its soft, flexible frame withstood lots of bending, twisting and pulling. 

toddler babiators flexible

Stuffed Toy
As I shared in the twins' 18th month update, they both love their Mickey and Minnie stuffed toys so bringing them along was a no-brainer. If your kids love cuddling their stuffed toys, it really helps to have them on hand especially when they're getting sleepy. Also, based on experience, their stuffed toys were able to help comfort them when the plane ride got a bit bumpy. Tip: If you can, get a duplicate of your kid's favorite stuffed toy. This is what we did to make sure that we had another set of Mickey and Minnie stuffed toys at home in case they get lost during the trip.

Magnetic Drawing Board
We packed an assortment of small toys for the trip so we could periodically pull out a new toy for the twins when they needed a distraction. The twins scribbled on and erased their drawing boards on repeat. I love that I didn't have to worry about them dropping crayons (the pen is attached to the board) or making marks on the plane and car seats.

These worked best at entertaining Audrey and Antonino during our air and land trips. They bought us about 30 straight minutes of peace. They loved peeling and sticking their alphabet and animal stickers on their clothes, on our arms, on the airplane tray table, and on their seats. The best part is I got them for only P30 a sheet at Landmark. Look for puffy stickers because they peel of easily, can be reused, and don't ruin surfaces unlike regular stickers.

airplane toddler

Bonus toy: A paper cup! During our flight from Manila to Ilocos, Audrey kept waving at one of the female flight attendants. She would always wave back and smile at Audrey. Then, when she was distributing snacks, she gave Audrey and Antonino a paper cup each  to play with. How thoughtful of her, right? It gave Joey and me enough time to finish our food.

What are your must-haves for entertaining toddlers during air and land travels? I would love to hear them in the comments below.

toddler vacation toys

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