Are you planning on flying solo with a baby? The thought of it can seem overwhelming, but with these tried and tested tips, you can be as prepared as possible. You *might* even enjoy it!
Flying solo with a baby is obviously very different depending on the baby, and the stage they’re at. I’ve flown with my son Reggie at 4 months, 5 months, and am soon to again at 13 months (and again at 14 months!). I can honestly say, it wasn’t even nearly as bad as I thought.
Even with the nappy explosions each way in a teeny tiny easyJet plane bathroom.
We got through it. One baby outfit down. But it made us stronger.
I wanted to share my knowledge on flying solo with a baby, to help any prospective parents out there achieve their travel dreams, with baby in tow. Don’t let the flight get in the way of exploration!
From planning your flight, to preparing just before, to being in the airport, and eventually on the flight – here’s how you can make sure that flying solo with a baby goes as seamlessly as possible.
Tips for Flying Alone With a Baby, With Ease
Planning your flight
1. Book the baby a seat
It’s now £50 on easyJet to book a baby on your lap, return. It can actually be cheaper to book them a seat, which gives you both more space and eliminates the fear of who could be sitting next to you.
Could be well worth it.
When I went to Valencia it was £259 for my outbound flight, so that was a no – he sat on my lap – but the return was only £30 so I booked him a seat for the extra fiver. I was so thankful to past Vicky when the flight was full, and I had the space for him to stretch out, and to put his things within easier reach than the floor.
For our upcoming Thessaloniki trip, it was £42 for Reggie’s outbound and return seat. It would’ve been £50 on my lap. Do your research!
Under 2s should ‘fly free’, but if there’s an admin fee like on easyJet, buying them a seat just gives you both that extra bit of space.
2. Get good travel insurance
If you should miss a flight or lose anything valuable, or have to cancel, you don’t want the extra hassle of worrying financially. Buy good travel insurance so you know you can get your money back, and there’s someone to help.
3. Pay for the most convenient transfers
Research your transfers at the other end. Trust me, after a solo flight with a baby you want to get out of that airport as swiftly and easily as possible. Make sure that the car rental company you go with has the appropriate seats in the car, or bring your own if you want to be sure.
Before the flight
4. Don’t pack too much for the cabin
The more things you own, the more they own you.
That was one of the first sayings I ever read and it’s really stuck with me. Never more true than when you have a baby to look after. If you have loads of stuff then it’s much hard to gather it all and keep it together, when you need to be focussing your energy on the little one. Pack as lightly as possible, without forgetting anything.
It can be difficult, I know.
If you’re wondering what to pack in the hold, check out my list of the most important essentials for baby travel here.
5. Bring cartons and sterilised milk bottles
Bring more sterilised milk bottles and milk cartons than you think you’ll need. You do not want to be sans milk if there are any delays at all. Don’t expect them to be able to sterilise on board either.
READ MORE on TwinPerspectives.com: The Best Places to Travel With a Baby
6. Prepare for all temperatures
Bring warm hoodies and jumpers for the baby, as well as easy to remove layers. You just never know what that plane air con is going to be like.
7. Choose a great cabin bag / nappy bag
Monica from The Travel Hack gifted me one of these Travel Hack backpacks just before Reggie was born, and it’s been our go to nappy bag ever since. In fact, it’s looking a bit battered now.
We love it because of all the different pockets, which means we can find things quickly thanks to the system I’ve created over the past year, and you can open it fully which makes things easier too. It fits everything we need in for the flight for Reggie.
8. Wear a bumbag
I do also like to wear a bumbag though, to keep our passports and tickets in one safe place for easy access at any opportunity.
9. Think about using a pram that’s allowed in the cabin
Is it your first holiday with your baby? It could be a good time to invest in a great travel pram.
I didn’t really think about this for my first trips, but looking back it was quite difficult to pull my pram apart while also holding a baby. No, no one offered to help.
There are some great prams that can be folded down to fit in the plane cabin. This makes it much easier for you at the other end.
10. Or use a baby sling (or both)
I accidentally left ours in the car on my first flight with Reggie. Gutted!
This was at four months when his growth was far exceeding my growing arm strength. Trying to hold him as we got off the plane, get on a bus and then through the airport till we got our stuff was killer.
It was much easier second time round when I had him in our ergo baby sling.
I wore the sling on the flight which helped him to sleep more, and for me to hold him securely and safely. He slept through the landing, the bus, the passport queue and only woke when I got to the buggy. It was brilliant.
This meant I was a lot more relaxed when I arrived at the mum and baby retreat I did near Valencia, than when I arrived in Sardinia, stressed from carrying a struggling Reggie in the airport queue.
11. Take snacks
For you and the baby!
It might seem like too much effort to balance snack buying and travelling so I’d recommend having some with you. That way if you don’t have the time / energy to go to a shop, you’ll still eat. It also means you’re guaranteed to have the snacks your baby will enjoy.
In the airport
When you’re travelling solo with a baby, there are a few tricks I’ve learned for the airport to make your life easier.
12. Aim to arrive early
When you’re travelling with a baby I’d recommend you plan to arrive at all activities early – everything takes longer with a little one in tow and so it means you might just be on time.
Definitely arrive at the airport early when you’re travelling solo with a baby.
If you have an early flight, like my upcoming 7:40am to Thessaloniki, you can actually check your bags in the night before. Top tip from my dad there. Then you can just rock up and not worry about the queues in the morning after spending the night at the Premier Inn a very short walk away the night before.
Wish I’d known this before when I travelled to Valencia with Reggie. Juggling my suitcase, the car seat, the buggy, him and our plane bags was NOT what I needed at 5am.
13. Print out your passes
I know, the planet, but if you’re flying a few print outs aren’t really that bad. This way you can have them ready to go, and if you have had to reduce yourself to Cocomelon to keep the baby happy, you won’t have to prize it out of their hands to get through security.
14. Use the family line to go through security
Speaking of security, you know most airports have a family line, right?
Every time I’ve done this the queue is small, but there’s been a slight wait to get the milks scanned. It’s still been way quicker than the other lines though. Make the most of it!
15. Stick to your routine as much as possible
When you’re planning your first flight with a baby, plan around your routine as much as possible. If you’re only going for a few days, I’d recommend not adjusting to the time zones. Just carry on as you were.
Spend a little extra and book flights at the best times, and airport hotels, and anything else you can afford to make the journey that little bit easier!
On the solo flight with your baby
16. Take toys, that stick or attach
This Dinosaur Tails book was great when I travelled with Reggie at four months, it stuck in the table tray and he could just play with the tails. Obviously gave it a good wash when I got home.
And then these spinners are also great to put on the window or the tray table. There are loads of baby toys for flights available, I’d recommend you stock up!
17. Buy these silicone toy clips
Eugh bending down when you’re moving makes me feel sick. These silicone toy clips are perfect for keeping track of all your toys when you’re travelling, or when you’re out at a restaurant. They have different lengths to keep the toys as close to you as you need. Definitely recommend!
18. Ask for the spare row if it’s there
I’ve only ever travelled with easyJet alone with Reggie but the staff have been lovely. When we were on our way back from Sardinia, I was also with my partner Ben, but we didn’t have a seat for Reggie and were placed next to someone else. This mean 6 ft 4 Ben was cramped in the window seat, with me next to him holding Reggie, and someone else next to me. For two hours.
Ben asked if we could go in the spare row at the back, they said yes, and so concludes the happy ending to that story. You don’t know if you don’t try!
19. Be prepared for tummy troubles
Compression felt in the tummy in the sky can encourage your baby to poo, and poo a lot. Make sure you’re prepared with plenty of wipes, nappies and a change of clothes to get through this.
20. Noise machines?
You often see these recommended to make babies flights easier, but I find the noise of the flight is so loud that they barely makes a difference. Maybe more for long haul.
If you’re packing it for the night when you’re abroad, you might as well pack it for the journey. Anything can help in times of need!
21. Download YouTube videos
If you have YouTube Premium like we do, then you can download videos to your phone. You can get everything from those dancing vegetables, to CocoMelon, to Postman Pat. If you don’t have YouTube, download some BBC shows instead.
22. Be nice
In my experience of taking my baby on a flight solo, other travellers have only wanted to help. If you’re lucky, other passengers will coo and entertain and distract your baby, while you enjoy 10 seconds of not being the star of their eyes.
Relax, be nice, know that it’s only a few hours in the grand scheme of things, and you’ll be fine.
Your first trip flying solo with a baby
In my first year as a mum I did a few flights, and to be honest, have lovely memories of them all. I really enjoyed sharing this part of my life with him, and I’m excited for future adventures. We shall see how he fares on the four flights we have booked next week!
I hope this list has helped you to feel more confident and prepare, just let me know if you have any questions at all.
READ MORE: Packing list for a weekend away with a baby