a small child points out of a car sun roof

10 Tips for Traveling with a Toddler

Aug 20,2022read

Traveling with toddlers can be fun, exciting, and rewarding. The one thing that it does not have to be is stressful.

Here we will go over 10 tips for traveling with a toddler that will make any trip more enjoyable. Whether your family is traveling by plane or car, these tips are great for any trip with a toddler.

Have Snacks, Snacks, and More Snacks

a child's hand grabs strawberries from a snack board

Photo by Ryland Dean on Unsplash

There is nothing more annoying than a hungry toddler. Remember, if your toddler is eating, then they are quiet. Make sure you have an array of snacks for your child to choose from. Some great toddler-friendly snacks can include Cheerios, pretzels, fruit gummies, string cheese, granola bars, goldfish, and dried fruit.

Preload Tablets and have Headphones

a mum plays with an ipad with her child

Photo by Robo Wunderkind on Unsplash

While it is good to limit screen time most days, traveling days should not be regulated. Traveling is already stressful enough, so parents should just allow their child to watch their favorite shows or movies if it is keeping them quiet and entertained. Make sure to preload the tablet with your child’s favorite shows, as many planes and cars do not have WiFi for the tablet to connect. It is also wise to bring headphones made for toddlers, as this will keep those around happy as well.

Pack the Diaper Bag Wisely

When traveling with a toddler, it is important to have everything you may need in the diaper bag. Make sure that you have packed some extra clothes for your toddler. If traveling by plane, you may want two just in case your luggage doesn’t make it to your destination right away. Also, make sure that you have plenty of diapers and wipes. Even if your toddler is potty-trained, it may help to have your child wear pull-ups. You never know how easy it is to find a working bathroom while traveling. Some other useful items to have in the diaper bag are sanitizer, gallon Ziplock bags for any trash, extra formula or breastmilk with bottles, and any medicine your child may need.

Provide Children with Their Own Carry-on

small children with backpacks

Photo by note thanun on Unsplash

Whether you are traveling by plane or car, it can be helpful to have your toddler carry their own entertainment in their own bag. If traveling by plane, it is recommended for a toddler to have a carry-on that has wheels. There are some great carry-ons that toddlers can ride on while their parents pull or affordable carry-ons that are small bookbags that can turn into a wheeled bag.  Having a child carry their own gives them a sense of responsibility and takes some weight from parents.

Dress Kids for Travel

All kids are created differently, and that includes their running temperatures. While one may be cold the other may be hot. It is important to dress kids in layers so they can put on or take off as they see fit. Parents can have their children dress in stretchy pants, a tank top, a shirt, and a zip-up sweatshirt. If a family is traveling by plane, having the kids wear shoes without laces can also be helpful when going through security. This would allow children to quickly take off their shoes if they are required to, and then easily put them back on.

Bring Entertainment that Doesn’t Take up Space

One of the best things that anyone can do is to pack lightly, and that goes for kids as well. There are a lot of fun activities that children can bring in the car or on the plane that is small yet entertaining. Instead of bringing a whole pack of crayons that will probably just get lost between seats, kids can pack invisible ink activity pads. These drawing books come with a special marker that is only visible when drawn on a certain activity paper. A fun game of Go Fish or Old Maid doesn’t take up space and can easily entertain more than one kid at a time. Finger puppets can take the place of larger stuffed animals and magnetic blocks are less messy than normal blocks.

Make Everything a Surprise

a small child points out of a car sun roof

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Don’t give a child all the activities you brought them all at once. Spread out giving them activities throughout the trip. This creates an element of surprise and assures that a child will be entertained for a longer period with certain activities. Parents can even wrap the kid’s activities up and have them open a new “gift” every few hours.

Make sure Your Child has plenty of space

For such small humans, children take up a lot of space. It will help everyone if you set up your child with plenty of space. While lap seats can sound appealing to save money on flights, parents and kids alike will enjoy having their own space, especially on long flights. If your child is still in a car seat, bringing that on flights could help children sleep better and feel more comfortable. When traveling by car, parents can set up their kids with their own space in the backseat.

Bring a Small Stroller and Carrier

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If possible, it is highly advisable to bring both a small stroller and a carrier. Strollers are nice to have not only in the airport but also when traveling through new locations. They allow toddlers to sit and take breaks and also nap while out. Carriers, on the other hand, are nice to have when strollers are not an option. For example, some older cities are not as stroller friendly, and having a carrier can be helpful. Carriers are also nice while on the flights because little ones can contact nap.

Parents Should Give Themselves Some Grace

Traveling can be stressful without kids, so when you add children into the equation it is even harder. Parents should give themselves some grace when traveling with little ones. Remember that kids will be kids no matter what, so if your baby starts crying know that is okay. If your toddler is whining, that is also okay. Parents should breathe and know they are doing the best they can.

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