BEST Age to Fly with a Baby (100+ Moms Surveyed!)

As of writing this sentence, I have taken my baby on 13 flights (domestic and international!) and so far, flying has been a breeze for us. I was curious whether I should be concerned with the upcoming toddler years when it comes to flying with our son, so I surveyed over 100 other mothers who travel with their babies and toddlers and here’s what they said:

Between 4 and 9 months old is the absolute best age to fly with a baby, in terms of ease for the parents — after babies have had their first rounds of vaccinations, but before they are too mobile. Traveling with a fragile newborn can be stressful, and the toddler stage offers a range of challenges.

You’ll see the detailed results of this survey in the pie chart below, which shows you how more than 50% of moms voted that babies are best to travel with from the ages of 0-9 months (with the REAL sweet spot being 4-9 months).

From my own personal experience, I have to say that I wholeheartedly agree with the results of this poll! However, if you have a budding toddler on your hands (like I do), FEAR NOT! You can still travel with a baby/toddler at ANY age and have a positive experience.

In this article, I’ll provide you with some hopeful and helpful information that will fill you with confidence for your next trip. And if you’re curious I also asked these same moms what the WORST age is to travel with babies — you can see those results here.

If you’re curious about the “other” section of this survey, please see the end of this article for details!

Most moms agree that “younger is better” (and easier) for traveling with babies

If you’re thinking about traveling with your very little baby, I have some great news for you. Almost 25% of moms surveyed in this study said that the 0-3 month old range was the best age for flying and over 30% of moms chose the 4-9 month range as ideal! Why is this?

As one mother put it: “[I said] 2-3 months (post vaccination but small enough to carry everywhere).” The portability factor plays big here. A smaller baby is not going to be as wiggly (in the airport or on your lap) as a baby who can crawl or walk.

I traveled with my son starting at 3 months and at that age, we carried him absolutely everywhere in his Boba baby wrap. Our first time going through airport check in and security, he slept through the entire thing and didn’t wake up until we were about to board!

Thanks, Boba wrap! At about 4-5 months, he graduated to his soft carrier, but I miss the wrap!

In the newborn stage, many babies are thankfully completely unbothered by airport noises around them and can take long, quality contact naps — another huge plus for younger babies over older babies. Another mom in the survey said this when asked which baby age was best for travel:

4 months. They sleep a ton but have somewhat of an immune system. Totally portable. Light weight. Don’t need tons of toys or books. And they can eat boob and boob alone.

“Boob and boob alone” — too funny! I know this isn’t everyone’s situation, but for me personally, breastfeeding was so convenient for traveling with a young baby. Exclusively breastfeeding meant that I didn’t need to carry any bottles, formula, or even my electronic pump with me (although I did travel with my Hakka just in case my son was having an off-day — I didn’t want to become engorged and not be able to expel my milk).

Nothing more convenient than breastfeeding on a plane!

Best advice for traveling with babies 0-9 months

Before 3 months of age, my biggest issues for air travel (or road trips honestly) would have been the same issues as as day trip with a newborn. I was still physically recovering from the birth, my husband and I were sleep-deprived new parents, and our baby felt very fragile to bring out into the world!

But looking back, months 0-3 were very easy, in all other aspects, for taking our baby places. If you’re feeling healthy and confident, this might be the absolute perfect time to travel with your baby. Talk to your doctor about any health or vaccination questions you might have before you decide.

We started flying with our baby at 3 months, and after 6 months or so is when things started to get interesting (more movement, more noticing things around him, more work for us… and also more FUN!). Another mom said the best travel baby age was:

Below 8 months. Or Whenever they aren’t teething and crawling yet

I agree that teething (starting around 6 months) and crawling (starting around 8-9 months) begin to make traveling more challenging with a baby. A teething baby is generally not a happy baby, and a crawling baby does not stay contently in your arms as long. However, you can alleviate some of these issues with a few handy items in your carry on/diaper bag.

For a teething baby on the plane, be sure to pack:

  • Baby Tylenol (read the label carefully for correct dosage information)
  • Teething toy to chew on — wrap it in a cold pack and offer it on the plane (Note the TSA requirements re: cold packs. You can bring them for babies to cool their milk, juice, or formula and then also use it for their teething toy).
  • Small washcloths — ask a flight attendant for some ice water to soak them in. Let baby suck on the washcloth.
  • Familiar comfort items (pacifiers, blanket, stuffed animal)

For traveling with a crawling baby, following these tips for flying:

  • Let them get out as much energy as possible at the airport. Let them crawl around at the gate or children’s play area if there’s one available. Let them explore, out of your arms, as much as possible before the flight.
  • If you’re traveling with another adult, split up. Have one person take advantage of the early boarding when flying with babies to set up your seating area and store your carry-on bags while the other person continues to tire out the baby at the gate until the last possible moment!
  • Bring lots of novelty dollar store items to surprise and distract your baby with (and keep them in your lap!). Hopefully your baby will sleep on the flight, but if not, have lots of activities ready for them!

I flew alone with my baby twice when he was about 8 and 9 months old (and newly crawling) and the power of distraction from the new dollar store items was KEY to getting him to stay happy on my lap and not disturb others around us.

Best advice for traveling with older babies (after 9 months)

I’ve traveled with my son (alone and with my husband) when he was between the ages of 9 and 11 months (and will soon be traveling with him again at 13 months on long haul flights) and I agreed wholeheartedly with the moms who said it gets “harder but more fun.”

I loved how this mom described her experiences and the advice she gave:

I think it’s more enjoyable if you drop the expectations and prepare yourself for anything. Be flexible with naps and schedules. It’ll all be okay. Any experience you have is something to remember but I will say between 6 months and 9 months there was a shift with her activity level and at that point we can use snacks to distract/entertain for a bit. In my opinion our vacation was more enjoyable at 9 months than at 6 just because of our babe being more alert and being able to enjoy more of the experience.

Another mom gave great advice for traveling in Europe regarding stairs and strollers, which I can totally relate to after months of traveling in Spain and Turkey with my baby earlier this year:

We’re traveling with a 10 month old and 3 year old right now. The oldest is fine but the youngest is too heavy to constantly carry and the stroller is a pain to take everywhere so it has limited our plans. For context we are in France and a lot of the places we are visiting have TONS of stairs.

Here is some of the best advice to remember when travelling with older babies/toddlers (after 9 months):

  • Baby carrier over stroller: Do research on the place you’re going and if it’s possible for you, bring a soft baby carrier or baby hiking backpack instead of a stroller. My husband and I almost exclusively relied on our carrier and baby hiking backpack in Europe!
  • Drop all expectations and be flexible with naps and schedules. They’ll get back on track on the other side!
  • Use snacks to distract!
  • Come prepared with lots of activities and entertainment!
  • Stay as calm as you can — Easier said than done, I know but fake it until you make it 🙂 Your baby feeds off of your energy and the calmer you can stay, the better you both will feel. When your baby is melting down and it feels like everyone is staring at you, try to remember that you’re doing your best and this moment won’t last forever.

Through all the uncertainty (and perhaps a bit of chaos), I hope we can all do our best to stay positive and to remember that we are doing this to make memories for ourselves and our babies. As one mom put it:

You get new experiences with every age. So I’ll say enjoy your trip as much as you can with all the ages. This time won’t come back.

Me flying with my son at about 10.5 months!

Why you should start traveling with your baby early on

A few moms who travel regularly with their babies talked about how important it is to start them young so that they get used to flying. This was our plan with our son.

I’m not sure how true this is from the baby’s perspective, but I can 100% say that in my experience, starting traveling with your baby early on gives YOU, the parent, confidence that you can do it. And that makes subsequent traveling easier and more fun! The more you do it, the better you get at it.

As one mom said:

We started really early and now that they are 5 and 3, it is a lot easier because they are already used to long drives/fly.

And another mom, when asked what the best age to travel with babies is, said:

As early as possible! I love travelling with my babes!

For very little babies, you don’t need to bring snacks, and they need very little to be entertained!

Traveling: The Best “Baby Age” vs. The Best “Baby Developmental Stage”

Many moms couldn’t pin down a “best age” to travel with babies because they recognized that all babies develop on different schedules. So perhaps instead of the “best age” we should instead consider what the “best developmental stage” is for traveling with babies. As one mom said:

I think it depends greatly on your kiddos personality. My baby had colic and severe GERD as a younger baby. I couldn’t imagine trying to travel with him back then. We just got back from Hawaii with him at almost 2 now and it was AMAZING. I loved this age on vacation!

There are most definitely babies who have more or greater needs than others at different stages, regardless of their age, and it’s perhaps easy to get caught up in the comparison game — or to get frustrated that your baby is “harder” to travel with than other babies their age.

But we should try to remember that all babies develop so differently. You know your baby better than anyone and will know when you both are ready to travel. Another mom said:

Honestly, depends on your kid. I would have never brought my now 4 year old between the ages of 1 to now. But my second kid, now 16 months old is a dream to travel with.

And one mom echoed:

Depends on the baby! I have 6 kids and two of them have been difficult because they get easily fussy. And I’m in a bad mood with hot weather mostly, so you know how your baby is and you will have the answer.

Some moms say traveling with a toddler can be more enjoyable than with a newborn

As I gear up to travel internationally (across North America and across the Atlantic) with our soon-to-be toddler, I am hopeful looking at the responses from the moms in this survey who mentioned the POSITIVES of traveling with toddlers over newborns. Mostly, they said, it’s just more fun. This mom said:

We went on vacations at 2 years old. Even though he was active and more work, I enjoyed it so much more… Because he was old enough to understand things and get excited about the sights… so in turn, that was very exciting for us! Seeing the joy in his eyes, etc. That made it the best for us.

That kind of makes me tear up a little! And I get it. It was starting to be really fun (when he was in a good mood) to experience even the more recent flights with my son. As a newborn, he didn’t care where we were! Now we actively look for things to show him to watch HIM get excited. This mom said it well:

It really depends on the goal of your trip. Infants sleep a lot and don’t really care what you do or where you go, but that means they don’t get to really enjoy the trip. Plus diapers, feedings, etc. 1-2 years is fun because they start to enjoy more but then it pretty much has to be things they enjoy, plus you still have diapers/potty training and helping with eating and they are really mobile and hard to keep up with. We are at 3 and 4 years and traveling is finally feeling more fun than difficult and exhausting. They are fully potty trained and need minimal help with eating and other things, plus they are at an age that really enjoys things and remembers them. Trips are still kid focused though.

That’s the thing — your trips tend to be kid-focused, but that’s what we signed up for traveling with them, I suppose! 🙂 Many moms also expressed how fun traveling with older CHILDREN is — after the toddler years (4+). They are independent, curious, ask lots of questions, and can more easily entertain themselves! So that’s something to look forward to one day, for all of us currently in the baby days.

What else did moms have to say about when to take babies traveling?

The bar chart below is the same information as the pie chart above, just visualized a bit differently. I wanted to make sure and speak briefly about the “other” section, in case you were interested. The 10% of moms with unique responses to the poll (that didn’t quite fit into the other categories listed) were as follows:

“Other” responses to the question “When is the best age to fly with your baby?”:

  • At least 18 months
  • 2 Years
  • 2.5 Years Old
  • After they learn to walk
  • Before they’re mobile

*It’s very interesting to me that some moms said that the BEST age to travel with a baby is 2, or even “after they learn to walk”! Everyone’s experiences are so different and it’s impossible to make generalizations. Happy traveling with your baby! 🙂


Brittany is a Wayfaring Human who loves to adventure with her husband and son. When she's not having adventures, she's taking pictures of them and writing about them.

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