Surviving Airline Travel 2.0

Nov 24, 13 • Crazy Mommy, Lessons Learned, Lists, More Tips+Ideas, Other, Silly Eliana, Toddler BitesComments Off on Surviving Airline Travel 2.0


Last year around this time, I shared a post full of ranting about the craziness regarding traveling with an 18-month old, along with some suggestions for survival. Click here to read that original post.

I’m a list maker. I have tons of legal pads filled with all sorts of lists. Lists of recipes in progress, lists of things to remember or do and most of all I have packing lists. My packing list is totally crazy and OCD filled and contains things like “this notepad” because I might implode if I didn’t bring the current legal pad onto which I’m taking obsessive notes and making never-ending lists. Now that I pack for two, I have my list and Eliana’s list. The packing list has reached a whole new level. And never, ever does this kid sleep on public transportation so not only do I need things like snacks and extra clothes for all of us, but also, I need entertainment. But, the benefit of my being such a nutcase (which you already know if you read teeny tiny foodie with any regularity) is that I have a list to share with you. Below, I’m happy to share with you my list of Survival Tips for Traveling with a Tricky Toddler.

Survival Tip Number 1: Suspend all routines and schedules regarding when eating usually happens. This is kind of hard for me because while I don’t feed Eliana by an actual clock, I do believe that for our bodies to function in a healthy manner, they need time to actually digest and experience a little hunger before filling them up again. But, I’ve learned over a few long-distance train trips and flights that it is much harder for her to scream at the top of her lungs for no apparent reason when her mouth is full of food. So I bring food. Lots and lots of food. At the end of the post I’ve included a list of some of the foods I usually bring when we travel.

Survival Tip Number 2: When the plane takes off or the train pulls out of the station begin the feeding frenzy. I start shoving food into her mouth right away so she gets full in the hopes that she won’t immediately go bonkers for the snacks the airlines are doling out. But, what inevitably happens? Even if she is totally full, some crinkly, brightly colored packages catch Eliana’s eye and it’s all over. Eliana drops whatever she had been eating and goes right for the corn-syrup-laden highly processed stuff that the airlines are serving. And let me tell you something that might shock you: I let her eat them up. Because when it comes down to it, I’m literally trapped in a small moving tube for hours with a 2-year old. And for anyone out there who isn’t a parent, caregiver or teacher of toddlers, they are willful little buggers who get their minds set on something they {think} they want or need and until they do, they bring the noise.

Survival Tip Number 3: Use quality travel containers for snacks. I love pretty much everything that the folks from OXO Tot make, but I especially love their travel snack cups. They come with a lid so I can toss the cup in a bag and all the crumbs and little pieces are contained while in transit.  Also, the opening is just the right size–big enough that Eliana can get her snacks out easily, but small enough that the snacks stay in place. And lastly, they are dishwasher safe so I just toss them in the dishwasher at night and we are {literally} good to go the next day.

Survival Tip Number 4: Get cups of ice. I have no earthly idea why munching on ice keeps Eliana calm and happy, but it does. So my husband and I bug flight attendants for fresh cups at regular intervals.

Survival Tip Number 5: Walk it off. I try to be respectful of the other passengers and never make assumptions that you actually want a visit from my kid (But, hello, why would you not? Have you seen her? She’s ridiculously cute and charming). Eliana is a complete social butterfly who just wants to walk the aisles practicing her new pick-up line. It goes like this: “HI!! I’m Eliana and I’m a big girl. What’s your name?” So, unless the pilot has so rudely put on the fasten seat belt sign forbidding Eliana to walk the aisles I let her go bananas. If it keeps her mostly quiet, then we do it.

Survival Tip Number 6: Bring entertainment. I gave up long ago and don’t bring anything for myself like a book or the latest stack of gossip magazines. My bag is filled with Eliana’s goodies such as stickers, crayons, Crayola Wonder Markers and the paper that comes with them, a new toy I’ve stashed until this trip and the iPad stocked with Dora the Explorer, headphones and a multi-headphone jack so we can all be inundated with Dora together.

Survival Tip Number 7: Relax and {try to} let it all go. I work really hard to totally step out of my germ-a-phobic and OCD-Mommy tendencies and try to just let it all happen. Two straight hours of Dora’s ear-splittingly loud voice? ¡Si, claro! Chemical-filled crunchiness that makes her poop a strange yellow color? Go for it! Oh, a snack dropped onto the floor and she quickly wrestled it away from me and shoved it into her mouth before I could blink? Gross, but what can I do other than breathe very deeply and remind myself that she’s strengthening her immune system.

Here’s a list of some of the snacks I like to bring with me when traveling:

  • -Cheese Sticks
  • -Baby peas- Throw some frozen peas in a snack cup and they’re ready for munching in an hour or two.
  • -Fresh fruit that travels well such as an apple, pear or orange
  • Apple Spinach Mini-Muffins
  • Mini Frittatas
  • -“Pre-approved” pretzels, various nuts and/or animal crackers. (I read food labels and try to choose brands have whole grains, only a few ingredients all of which I can pronounce, and don’t contain a lot of sugar and salt).


In the spirit of the upcoming holidays, here’s a list of what I’m thankful for when traveling.

The Top 7 Things I’m Thankful For During Airplane or Train Trips 

7. When in transit my husband and I break our rules amount limiting “screen time” in order to maintain some peace and sanity.

6. Wise passengers in neighboring seats who sprint to a new seat far, far, away as soon as the fasten seatbelt sign goes off. Thus, leaving us with the entire row to ourselves.

5. Bulkhead seats with extra legroom. Eliana literally bounces off the walls and the seats. They are so worth the extra price.

4. My newfound ability to temporarily suspend my germ-a-phobic tendencies for a few hours while Eliana sticks her hands into the seat back pockets where you know there are snotty tissues.

3. Friendly passengers who actually enjoy Eliana popping over every three minutes for yet another visit.

2. Thoughtful flight attendants who ignore the captain telling them not to let kids walk around in the galley, drop off more snacks without us asking, and refill our ice cups with a smile.

1. And what I am most thankful for during an airline trip (or ever, really) is my amazing husband, Matt, who walks the aisles with Eliana, makes conversation with random strangers who want to engage with Eliana and generally does whatever it takes to keep both his girls happy.



For example, he will ride a carousel over and over again at the request of the Little Lady. Even if she refuses to smile for their selfie.


Just for fun…

How do I get to MommyGrandma's house?

How do I get to MommyGrandma’s house?


Safe travels, everyone!






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