On the hunt for the best toddler bed for plane travel so that your little one can catch some snooze, and you can get around to enjoying some Vino and in-flight entertainment?
I know your struggle. In fact, I somehow managed to survive an entire 20-hour plane trip from Australia to Germany without a wink of sleep because my then 1-year old was, either, a) sleeping all over me, or b) running wildly like a headless chicken around the cabin. Not fun. In fact, it's so far removed from fun that I would almost say it's the worst kind of torture. Like, Chinese water torture kind of fun.
Fast forward a few years, and a few geniuses facing our same struggle have gone on to invent some very clever airplane sleep aids for kids. Seriously, where were you when I needed you the most? Not in existence. I could've died from sleep deprivation en route to Europe.
Well, there's no better time to travel than right now. These sanity-saving products have made it possible for parents to binge watch the latest blockbuster movies, get tipsy off some wine, and perhaps even get some much needed shut eye.
Get ready to regain your sleep on flights again with these brilliant inventions.
For more kids' travel gear & accessories, see below.
Fly Tot Inflatable Airplane Cushion
I almost gave up on traveling. No kidding. Flying with a baby and toddler is my worst kind of nightmare, like, if we lived in a Harry Potter world, my 'boggart' would literally take the form of my two kids in an airplane with me.
Well, until two super smart women came up with the idea of Fly Tot - the inflatable airplane cushion is super light, and deflates to a compact size to fit inside your carry on luggage. Look, it basically converts your lucky little kiddo's economy seat into a business class recliner so that they can actually fall into a deep slumber, while you start your movie marathon.
The set features a foot pump that's extremely easy to set up and use - inflation takes less than 2 minutes. The effort required is really close to none. Trust me, I'm a lazy oaf and utterly unfit - and, I had no qualms getting it up and running. So, do yourselves a massive favour and grab a Fly Tot for your next trip - I can guarantee you probably won't fly without it again.
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JetKids BedBox Ride On & Toddler Bed for Plane
This is the mother of all kids' suitcases - it's pretty much a genius multifunctional ride-on suitcase that converts into a leg rest or seat extension, and also has the ability to store all their favourite toys.
A genius Norwegian invention, the BedBox supports up to 35kg in weight, and comes equipped with a plush mattress, front swivelling wheels (you know, for those times they wanna tear some doughnuts in the terminal), and a hand strap to hold onto.
The only thing that the team at JetKids have to invent now, is an adult equivalent so that we can join in on the fun (why should kids have all the fun?) and keep up with our smaller counterparts.
Kids' Travel Neck Pillow
Not gonna lie - we all need one of these in our lives. I've lost count of the times I unintentionally snoozed off, and my head embarrassingly landed on the shoulders of some poor passenger who was unfortunate enough to sit next to me. There may or may not have been drool involved. Grace is definitely not my middle name.
This, guys - this is the solution for kids and adults who suffer from this embarrassing problem. The BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow is ideal for road trips or flights - its flexible and ergonomic design supports the chin and neck in any sitting position.
Who knows - if the kids are mega exhausted, I would probably even test if they can fall asleep standing. Now, that would be a sight to behold. They even make an adult version so that parents can enjoy the same comforts and go matchy matchy with their little ones.
Saline Nasal Spray
One of the downsides of airplane travel? Dry cabin air. And, I don't know about you guys, but.. my kids get a little congested up in the air, too. That's why I always make sure to pack - at least - a couple bottles of saline nasal spray to help with the dryness and stuffiness. And, who knows when else you just might need it on your travels?
Saline spray is natural and helps moisturise and flush out mucus to clear the nasal passages so that your little ones can sleep easier. Tee it up with the NoseFrida nasal aspirator to really clear out all the gunk, and you've got yourself a winning combination to help your little ones breathe better in recycled in-flight air.
More ideas for plane travel with kids:
Face Cradle Travel Pillow
If you haven't already seen this hilarious contraption on social media, well, let me introduce you to this hilariously innovative travel pillow. I know what you're thinking, you must be thinking something along the lines of, "This is a joke, right?" No. It's not. This is 100% legit and someone invented this with love and pride.
Think of all the envious stares your kid will receive when other passengers are tossing and turning to find a comfortable position, and then there's your kid, sleeping soundly face planted inside this mechanism.
Made from plush memory foam, the Face Cradle allows for multiple comfort positions that support the head and neck, replicating a person's natural sleeping position when they are in bed.
Baby Sleep Pillow Spray
Hold up. Hold up. Now, before you yell at me and start calling child services, I can assure you - it's totally legit. And, it's not what you think it is. And - no - I don't know where to get the real deal. I would never chloroform my children, okay? Never. Alright, I've thought about it once or twice. Look, if you have any idea what it's like to deal with a teething baby or a attitude-y threenager, then you'd probably wish you had some chloroform handy. Right?
Now, back to the legit stuff.
The Sleep Pillow Spray comprises of 100% natural essential oils and the scent of calming lavender to help lull your little one to sleep. It's ultra gentle, 100% natural, and completely safe to use (unlike chloroform). Simply spray it onto their favourite pillow or soft toy and it'll help them relax, and hopefully bring you one step closer to watching that latest Blockbuster on the in-flight entertainment system.
Psst.. New to Airbnb? Get $40 travel credit when you book your first stay!
Generic Inflatable Leg Rest
If you don't mind manually inflating a blow up leg rest, and by that, I mean, you won't pass out from lack of oxygen - then, this is the most economical option.
An inflatable leg rest is still the best form of toddler bed for plane travel, and your best bet when it comes to coercing your toddler into catching some snooze on a long haul flight. So, if you don't need a fancy foot pump and your hubby or partner is happy to provide the manual labour, then go for this model. Go for gold.
You can thank me later.
Need to keep toddlers entertained on planes? Take a look at these Genius Toddler Travel Toys.
Cheap Pet Cushion
I know - this sounds questionable. I promise I'm not asking you to sneak your four legged friend on board to help lull your kids to sleep, no. This was actually tried and tested by a number of Australian parents travelling on airlines where inflatable beds are not permitted. Desperate for an alternative, one savvy mum came up with this genius travel hack in an effort to help her kids get comfortable.
The heavily padded border of a pet bed acts as extra cushioning, allowing kids to lean or lie against hard armrests or buckles comfortably. It can also act as a leg rest or cuddly, thick blanket to make them feel safe and cozy on board.
If you've booked an airline that doesn't allow the BedBox or FlyTot - get yourself one of these and give it a try.
All the Snacks & Food
If all else fails, stuff 'em to the brim with snacks and food until they conk out. Especially carb-heavy snacks that help release the sleepy hormone serotonin responsible for making people feel heavy lidded after a meal.
It's no secret - kids love snacks. And, if snacks have a higher chance of leading kids to a food-induced coma, then I have no qualms about stuffing their faces full. I mean, after all, you're on holiday. It's only reasonable to give your family's healthy diet a vacay too.
Here are some of our favourite travel munchies:
- Terra Vegetable Chips (sweet potato chips are usually a winner in our household)
- Healthy Granola Bars
- Homemade Muffins
- Cereal or Granola
- Organic Lightly Salted Popcorn (kids absolutely LOVE this)
- Dried Fruit or Trail Nut Mix
- Cheese Sticks (Babybel or Laughing Cow)
- Healthy Fruit Snack
- Corn or Rice Crackers
- Wholegrain Crackers
- Lentil Chips (honestly doesn't taste as bad as it sounds)
Useful resources to help plan your trip:
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For ideas on what to pack for your trip, take a look at all the gear and accessories we take with us on every single trip.
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Got any clever tricks or tips to get babies or kids to sleep on planes? Share them in the comments below.