Proven Tips for Flying Solo with Young Children

Flying solo with young children is enough to make even the most seasoned traveler and copacetic parent break into a cold sweat. Thanks to family who live across the country and a flexible schedule as a stay at home mom, I have traveled alone with our kids quite a bit.

While most of our trips have been uneventful, it’s the stressful flights you learn from the most. Looking back, I think our 14 hour delay in rural North Dakota after our plane was forced to make an emergency landing takes the cake in memorable learning opportunities. 

The airport was about the size of a double-wide trailer with zero amenities, save for a two stall bathroom and a vending machine.  I learned quite a bit that day, particularly that regardless of what you hear, there are more good people in this world than bad. I also learned what you need and don’t need on a flight, and how to stretch those diapers for every cent they’re worth. 

Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years to make your travel day as stress free as possible. 

Booking Your Tickets

  • Traveling during nap/night time is always dependent on your child’s ability to sleep somewhere other than their bed. If they fall asleep easily in a car seat or are able to be nursed to sleep, I highly recommend flying during nap time or after bed time.
  • When traveling with one on my lap, I always look at the seating assignments when I check in to see if it is possible to move us to a row with an empty seat. I always reconfirm the empty seat the day of when checking luggage or I check with the gate agent to see if something has opened up last minute if nothing was available at the time of check in.


  • When traveling with two or more kiddos, I bring a travel stroller, a backpack diaper bag and a baby carrier {if you’re still in that stage}. Basically everything that I can manage on my own while simultaneously wrangling multiple children.
  • When packing the diaper bag, I always think through the order of the day. Items that I will need first at security and anything that will occupy or quiet my kids go on the top and are easily accessible. This includes IDs, passports, plane tickets, phone, wallet, pacifier, etc. Items that I know may not be used until the flight or when I have a bit more time to reach for them can go toward the bottom of the bag. I also always include more diapers than I think I will need, one change of clothes per kid, flight entertainment and snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. 

It’s Go Time

  • After you have cleared security, find some open space close to your gate to let your kiddos get the wiggles out. Many airports have indoor play places that are great if you have a little extra time. I also rarely board when they call for families traveling with small children. Flight time can be stressful enough and adding to that time while waiting for passengers to get on the plane is simply not necessary.
  • During the flight, I give my kids free rein access to anything and everything that will keep them happy and quiet and this typically includes snacks, small toys and electronic devices. We also love Melissa and Doug reusable stickers that they can put on the window and small, new toys that are cheap {no big deal if they’re lost of left behind}.

Ask for Help

  • Flying has gotten a pretty bad rap lately, but don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Many times strangers will ask if you need assistance before you’re even able to speak up and I always let them help if I can. I will forever be indebted to the wonderful woman who pushed my little guy’s stroller around that North Dakota airport so I could have a break and he could fall asleep. 

Proven Tips for Flying Alone with Young Children | Houston Moms BlogAnd just remember:: your kid {or kids} will lose their cool at some point. Maybe even at the same time. Traveling is a stressful, sometimes scary thing for them. Make it fun, blow off those inevitable stares by strangers who have clearly never traveled with kids and know that you’re doing the very best you can. 

What are your tips and tricks for flying solo with kids? 

Previous articleThis Mother’s Day, Treat Yourself to a Staycation in Houston
Next articleMy Unexpected Bundle of Joy
Ann grew up in central Pennsylvania and graduated from Penn State, where she met and later married her husband, Cory. They moved to Houston in 2007 and she started working in the nonprofit sector handling communications and marketing. She’s mom to three kids, Jack {June 2104}, Colin {September 2016}, and Abby {April 2019} and had every intention of being a working mom, but several months after their first was born her husband’s job led them to Calgary, Alberta Canada. After moving back to the area in September 2017, they gave up their previous inner loop status for suburban roots and are living in Spring. In her free time, Ann loves starting projects she never seems to finish, reading a good book and binge watching something other than Frozen or Dino Dan. Connect with her via Instagram {@annherlocher}.


  1. Great tips! Snacks are definitely key, especially new ones that intrigue them. On overseas flights with our little, we staged our surprise new toys and snacks throughout the flight, and it just barely got us through!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here