Tips for Traveling with Toddlers

Before I had kids, I promised myself I wouldn’t let kids stop me from seeing the world…. little did I know that would be a pretty big promise haha. Our oldest has been pretty darn easy to carry around and travel with, but now that we have a toddler AND a baby- it’s a little more challenging! Traveling during a pandemic- even more difficult- but not impossible! Here are my favorite tips/activities I recommend when traveling with kids to make YOUR life a lot easier!!

  • Wearing Masks- US Airports and airlines require anyone over the age of two to wear a mask at all times unless eating or drinking (clearly whoever made that rule has never raised a toddler… but whatever) to prep Addie (who is 2 1/2) for the two flights across the country – we bought her some fun new masks from Old Navy, let her know ahead of time that we would be flying on an airplane AND wearing masks, and we even placed one on her favorite toy kangaroo so she would know everyone (minus the baby) had to be protected by a mask. When she would get sick of it, we would break out the snacks or have lunch so she could get a break and still be in compliance with the rules.
Reusable Puffy Stickers
  • Activities!!! Activities save me! They make the travel go by so much faster and really minimize the whining and complaining. But not just any activity will do. Things that entertain for more than a few minutes, are easy to transport, and are not messy are ideal. My favorite portable, no mess activities that keep my 2 1/2 year old occupied are: Wow water boards, reusable puffy stickers (both by Melissa and Doug,) this Busy Board, & an LCD Writing Tablet. Some other no-mess faves are Crayola Wonder Mess Free Kit (magic markers that color only on special paper) and the game Spot It.
    • **Pro Tip: Don’t give kids the new toy/activity until they’re on the trip- then surprise them once in a while with a new item and be sure to save the best for last.
      **If you don’t have the budget or the need to buy new stuff – take a few of their toys/activities you plan on bringing a few weeks before you go and hide them until the trip- that way they’re new and exciting.
    • Screen time- We save this as a treat when we are really desperate- We have Daniel the Tiger and Cars (her favorites) loaded onto an old phone and these kid friendly headphones (BONUS- the volume on these won’t go above a safe level.)
  • Snacks – I try to keep a mix of healthy not messy snacks and treats Addie has picked to make our trip fun (but not bouncing off the walls crazy) Some of Addie’s faves from Costco: Fruit Leathers, Motts fruit snacks, peanut butter pretzels
    • Sanitary Tip: these disposable placemats were a lifesaver when going out to dinner Addie was younger and a little more messy – they would also be great to cover the airplane tables!
  • Water Bottles
    • Staying hydrated keeps you healthier while traveling and helps with the low humidity on the airplane so we try to carry water with us to keep us drinking- The problem was I CONSTANTLY sterilizing the straws of her cups because she would drop hers (and mine) on the ground ALL-THE-TIME, so when I found these bottles with a cover over the straws I was hooked!! These two are my favorite travel bottles for Kids and Adults.
    • $$ Saving Tip- go through airport security with empty water bottles and fill them up at the water fountains/bottle stations (when we flew in Sept, some of the water fountains were closed off due to Covid-19 but the bottle filling stations were open..
  • For Parents:
    • Tide to go wipes for inevitable spills
    • this neck pillow is the ONLY way I can sleep while in a car.
    • This accessory organizer makes traveling with multiple chargers/headphones/harddrives/wires so much easier
    • Babyganics sanitizing wipes for peace of mind as your kid touches EVERYTHING
    • Packing Cubes to organize your clothes and kid clothes (trust me-total game changer-makes finding things so much easier and less stressful!!)
    • TSA PRE CHECK IS WORT EVERY PENNY!! $85 per person for 5 years AND children under 12 can accompany a parent/guardian These credit card companies even reimburse the application fee
      • *If you’re going out of the country, global entry is $100 for 5 years and INCLUDES TSA precheck (FYI- each child needs a global entry)
  • Airplane travel:
    • Carry ziplock gallon bags + an extra outfit for dirty diapers/stinky clothes (makes the dreaded blowout on a 5 hr flight less scary haha)
    • Managing Car Seats/Children: I clip Addie’s Graco car seat into this Britax travel cart and it doubles as a stroller!! I also use these car seat covers/travel bags so they don’t get dirty damaged when I check the car seats with my bags. The cart can be placed in the car seat inside the bags OR if you prefer flying with your child IN the carseat, the cart fits in the overhead bins. We check car seats at the gate so we use our baby bjorn to carry our baby and still be hands free.
    • Air Pressure changes: If kids are awake, have them snack or suck on something (or nurse/bottle feed if young enough) just after take off and before landing to prevent painful ears.
    • Sleeping on the airplane (say what???) Yeah, Addie took a three hour nap on the plane because we had this awesome contraption!!! I love how portable it is- we just threw a blanket over the airplane seat and pillow to keep it sanitary, and we were so happy we didn’t have a cranky sleepy child while flying!!
  • Bedtime:
    • Bringing the things you typically use for your bedtime routine will help kids feel more at home and hopefully sleep better: Favorite PJs, a few books, sound machine etc… Addie has a stuffed kangaroo and small flower blanket we take on every trip and our Hatch to mitigate any noise/create a familiar environment. We also bring our Owlet monitors so we can check on our kids at night without bothering them. Caden Lane swaddles are by far my favorite little soft blankets to bring and throw in the wash after traveling.

Let me know if any of these helped you or if you have any go to tips when you travel with kids!!

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