Tips for travelling long haul with an 18 month old

There’s always a sense of dread in our household before we head back to the UK (or back to Saudi for that matter) it’s never the most fun task, making the 16 hour door to door journey! However, it always goes relatively well, granted there’s not a lot of sleep for either myself or Dave BUT Lucas is such a good boy, we can’t complain! That said, the only reason he is a good boy is because we, as parents, prepare in advance and make sure he is entertained and busy for the whole journey!! 

We recently returned from the UK a couple of months ago and it was so lovely to get to the other side and have a gentlemen come over and praise us for what ‘fabulous parents’ we were for keeping our little boy entertained and happy for the whole journey. Don’t get me wrong it’s EXHAUSTING, but far less exhausting than having a screaming child all the way back! 

So here goes, my top tips for keeping an 18 month old entertained and happy during a long journey!!

Food is Key

Lucas loves to snack, the popular phrase I’ve heard from many parents travelling with a child is “what the child wants, the child gets” and it’s so true!  Don’t get me wrong we don’t sit there with bags of chocolates and sweets, it’s all healthy snacks, but I’m not ashamed to say that Lucas snacks the whole way back!!! We make sure we have the snacks that last the longest. We find the smaller and more bitesize the snack, the better! Whatever keeps those little hands busy the longest!

  • Ella’s Kitchen puffits
  • Fruits cut into little pieces
  • Raisins
  • Any type of baby organic corn puffs
  • Fruit pouches (granted they don’t last long but they are less messy!)
  • Rice cakes
  • Sweetcorn and peas
  • Cheerios


Loaded with all Lucas’s favourite music and cartoons. I’m not ashamed to say Lucas will happily sit in front of an iPad and watch music videos and cartoons. If it keeps him entertained and busy then I’m going to use whatever I can to do so!!!


Lucas LOVES to read books, his particular favourites are any lift the flap books, touchy-feely books and the hungry caterpillar! He’s also recently taken to enjoying sticker books, he will spend quite some time sticking them to himself, our faces, and every now and again the book they are supposed to be stuck in!

Airplane Bathrooms

When we aren’t changing a nappy in there Lucas loves to play in the bathroom, splash in the sink, play in the mirror, pull a few tissues out of the box. Sure it’s not the most passenger friendly form of entertainment, but as long as you clean up after yourself and wipe up the splashes, who’s to know?!!

Walking, walking, lots of walking

We take the baby carrier with us, and unless Lucas is sat down doing any of the above he will be in the baby carrier being walked and bounced up and down the aisles! I know of many parents who are happy to let their child roam around the plane on foot, but knowing Lucas as I do, this wouldn’t be fair to anyone else!! At this time Lucas’s feet have never touched the floor on the aircraft. As far as he knows, he’s not allowed, so I figure, as long as he doesn’t know he can walk (or run in his case) up and down the plane, then why let him!

On the airport

Any of you who have read my previous posts on travelling will know that there are no direct flights to Manchester from Riyadh, there will always be a transfer via the airline’s hub. So far we have done anything from 1.5 to 4.5 hours with Lucas. We tend to find the shorter the better for obvious reason!

  • More food, we usually find a restaurant or cafe and grab some more food
  • Find a quiet place and let them run!!! As they’ve obviously been sat or strapped in for the last 7.5 hours, airports (where possible) are fab for toddlers to run around. Lucas loves to hold onto the hand luggage case and push it around, it has honestly killed a good 30 mins before now!!
  • Find the airport kids area, most have some sort of entertainment area for children these days. The best one we have found so far is in Heathrow Terminal 5, they actually have a soft play climbing frame in there though you must have socks to use it!!!!
  • Toy shops, can be dangerous for the wallet….but a good time killer to let them look around and point out their favourites!

And every now and again they may even sleep…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s