Traveling with a 2 Year Old.

Updated on August 06, 2009
D.W. asks from Wesley Chapel, FL
8 answers

Ok Moms,
I am at a total loss. I'm planning a trip by myself up to MA with my big 2 year old. She doesn't look like a 2yr old. In fact she is wearning 5T clothes. So here are my questions:
Do I buy her a seat? Or can she sit on my lap?
How in the world do I bring her car seat? Do I check it or do I buy her a seat and sit her in the car seat?
What are some fun things I can do with her on a 3 hour flight?
I am starting to get over whelmed, wondering if I should go or not. Please help! Thanks!

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answers from Tampa on

Hi. I would buy her a seat if she won't sit still. If you think she would sit in her seat without a car seat and if you don't need the seat in MA, I wouldn't bring it. Too much to carry. I traveled a lot with my girls at that age and I brought a Magna Doodle. I wouldn't give it to her a head of time. Open it on the plane. I also brought the non-rolling crayons with paper. Plenty of snacks....Good luck. You will be amazed at how well she will do. Good luck!!

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answers from Tampa on

My son is 7 now and has traveled extensively with me at least a couple times a year since he was less than a year old.
Don't sweat it. Here are some very helpful clues/hints. 1. Buy a seat for her if you can afford it. You will get very uncomfortable very quick, not to mention the people around you if you don't. I only took my son once as a baby without buying him his own seat, then discovered how much of a pain it was. 2. You can bring her car seat and check it with your luggage, probably a good idea unless you will have one waiting for you at the other end when you get there. 3. Unless she is a very good walker, bring a stroller. You can take that all the way up to the gate and leave it there with a tag on it and they will load it for you and get it off when you land. It's very hard to walk the little ones through the airport without one, and very hard to carry them. 4. Travel as light as possible as far as what you wil be carrying. Check as much of your belongings as you posssibly can and carry as little as possible, keeping ID's etc easy to find in your bag or purse. remember you will probably be carrying diapers etc. 5. Bring snacks. You never know when you will be stranded or just needing a little something. 6. I bought my son a little portable DVD player that he brings when we travel and I let him pick 2 or 3 movies to bring with him which keeps him entertained throughout the flight. AWESOME.

PS. The stroller is also awesome to carry stuff-stick a bag/purse under the seat and wheel the whole thing around, it's great. Just make sure you know how to collapse it when you get to the gate.



answers from Tampa on

Yesterday I traveled from Tampa to PA alone with my 2.5 year old. He's the size of a 2.5 year old, but I don't know why that would make too big a difference. If the child is over 2, they MUST have their own seat on the plane, but no car seat is required on the plane. FAA rules say that the child must be in her own seat on take-off and landing. (Only kids UNCER 2 can be a ticketless lap child.) Once in the air, the child can sit in your lap, and mine was in and out of my lap. I was happy not to drag a car seat along, and my son did fine sitting in his own seat (he had fun buckling himself in). Since I did not bring a car seat with me, my dad had one in his car for when he picked me up at the airport (borrowed it from my cousin, so it was no extra cost).

My son carried his own little backpack with his blankie, a stuffed Curious George, paper and crayons, and other small toys (cars, Little People) to play with. He actually slept in my lap most of the first flight. I carried a change of clothes for him and some snacks (goldfish, cheerios, gummies).

Good luck! It's really not so bad...actually, sort of fun.



answers from Tampa on

When I flew to Michigan last year there were two couples with 2 year olds on the plane. They checked the car seat in the luggage center. The kids sat in the big seats between their parents. They had lots of snacks for them. Toys, stuffed toy, favorite blanket, books they read to them. They slept most of the time on the flight. You wouldn't even have known they were there if you weren't sitting right near them. They were great. Stop stressing and relax.It will all work out and go great.....I traveled back and forth from MI to FL with my girls when they were small. I drove the trip straight through most of the time. It worked..If I could handle that you can easily handle a plane trip..Good Luck, Relax and Enjoy....



answers from Tampa on

We just made a 3 1/2 hr plane trip with our 1 1/2 yr old.
He sat on my lap, which worked out fine (he did end up having his own seat on the way home which was even better).
We rented a car seat when we got to CO (much easier than carrying it).
The portable DVD player was a lifesaver. He watched Elmo for a lot of the flight time. We also planned the flight around lunch / nap time - kept him busy.
Hope this helps



answers from Tampa on

When I flew with my 1 yr old, we bought her a seat. I think it is safer- we placed the carseat in the seat & straped her in. Us used Go Go Babyz cart that attaches to the car seat & turns it into a stroller. especially if you are going to be taking car trips with her when you go- you will need a car seat anyway.

Being she is now 2 she can probably sit with just the lap belt, so if you want you can check in the carseat/with go go babyz as you board (unsure about additional fees).

As far as entertainment- I am trying to figure out what we are going to use for our daughter who will be 3 yr in Dec when we fly out west for the holidays.

My husband wants to buy her a portable DVD player which I am strongly against.



answers from Tampa on

We just finished a couple of planes trips with our 23 month old, one of which I did myself. As mentioned, you do need to buy a seat if they are 2. Some airlines have reduced children's fares, but often, if you buy far enough in advance, the regular fares are better.

I bought the CARES harness to use with my son, since I didn't want to bring the car seat on the plane. It's a harness (FAA approved) that you attach to the airplane's seat belt to create a 5 point harness for your child. I just felt it was a little safer than just the seat belt for him, since I was afraid he would wiggle out. They are a little pricey, but well worth it for me.

If you are meeting family on the other end, maybe see if they can get a car seat at a consignment store or someplace like that so that you don't have to bring one with you. If you do end up bringing it, though, most, if not all, of the airlines will check it for free so you won't have additional baggage charges. My sister bought a car seat at a yard sale, in good shape, for $15, and it worked out great for us.

Gate check the stroller as others have mentioned. I went to the counter before boarding to get the gate check ticket, it made things a little faster.

We also got a "2 in 1 harness buddy" .. basically it's a little backpack (ours is a monkey) that you put on the child's back. It has a strap that you can hold onto and let your child walk. The strap can be removed. We didn't use it a lot, but it was very helpful at times when there were a lot of people around and he wanted to walk. It was especially helpful when going through security. That was the hardest part for me, because you have to fold up the stroller and put it on the belt, in addition to any carry on luggage. You can carry your child through, or they have to walk through on their own, While I was getting everything onto the belt, I was able to keep him close with the harness until I was ready to take it off. You child's shoes need to be removed in addition to your own, something to keep in mind.

Toys, snacks, DVD player all were good. And another little trick that I used... lollipops. I got little small ones that were safe for him (as long as I was right there watching). Because we don't give him candy, it was a novel thing for him, plus, it was helpful to get him to suck during takeoff and landing, and relieve the ear pressure. It worked with our son, because he just sucks on it, never bites. You would have to be careful if your child would bite it.

If you have particular food or drinks that you want your child to have, you can bring them along (even if they are more than 3 ounces). You just need to separate them out from you luggage so they can be screened. I did this because our son loves milk, and the planes don't usually have it. You could probably buy some of the things once you go through security, but I preferred to have it with me so there wasn't one more thing I needed to think about!

Whatever airline you chose probably has a section on their website with hints for traveling with children. You may want to check when you are booking your ticket.

If you are interested in seeing the CARES harness, I also live in Land O Lakes. Feel free to email me personally, I would be happy to show it to you if you want.



answers from Tampa on

you will need to buy her a seat. under the age of 2, they can sit on your lap, not 2 and under. a car seat isn't necessary for the plane. we've been traveling alot by plane with a 2 and 3 year old and they are fine in the seat. we just flew to japan, so i can tell you alot about things to keep them busy.
do you have a portable dvd player? books, coloring books, a doll she can dress, flash cards. also, we always get a few new little toys to pull out if they start to get antsy, and that seems to work, pack snacks, and juices.
it's not as bad as you think. good luck and don't stress over it, she'll be fine.

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