7 Tips for Traveling With Young Children

The holidays are upon us and with that comes traveling. It is never anyone’s favorite thing to do, but it’s even worse with a toddler. There’s so much anxiety for the parents and for the kids when you’re rushing through the airport or when your child asks every 5 minutes if we are “there yet”. I have had my share of traveling with toddlers, between my husband’s job and our yearly family vacation. Here’s a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

Always have snacks on hand

I don’t know about you, but when my kids are hungry, they’re hangry so I always try to keep snacks on hand. I don’t count on having time to grab a bite to eat because there’s always something that can come up. For instance, a layover that was shorter than expected or some of the restaurants being closed or (worse) too busy for us to have time to eat. Keeping something on hand ensures that their little bellies are quieted down before they get too loud. Happy kids = happy momma!

Some easy snacks I like to keep on hand are fruit snacks (My kids can never get too many of those), goldfish, chips, etc. Pretty much anything in its own little container individually wrapped. If we are going on a car ride, I like to pack a cooler and do some fresh fruit or something in there as well.

Consider bringing an iPad or Tablet (and charger!)

I know a lot of parents don’t like too much screen time for their children. I say all rules go out the window when you’re traveling! The stakes are too high for me to try reasoning so I am not at all above bribing them with their iPads! (If you do take an iPad or tablet, make sure you don’t forget the charger!)

Make sure they have plenty of games on there and movies to watch. We like to download a bunch of videos on Netlix or Amazon Prime for them, and they have their Panda Bus games they like to play as well. I can’t even tell you how much faster time flies by when they are sitting in their seats quietly watching/playing on their iPads.

Invest in some activity books

Sometimes kids need something tangible. Something they can manipulate with their hands. They’re curious and like to touch and explore things around them. There are some pretty great activity books (or busy or quiet books) by Usborne, or if you are wanting something fancier, Etsy has some really amazing personalized ones.

Window clings are great because they’re as fun as stickers, but they’re reusable and come off cleanly, so you don’t have to worry about using these on the plane if you have a window seat. You can even customize them to match the occasion (Christmas clings for the holidays, anyone?!).

Bring drinks, pacifiers, or bottles

Changs in cabin pressure can be pretty tough on tiny little eardrums so I always try to have some kind of sippy cup, bottle, or pacifier on hand. The sucking motion can help alleviate some of that pressure on their ears. (Just make sure you have easy access to the bathroom or put your child in pull-ups you have a little one that is newly potty trained or one that can’t hold their bladder!)

Pack a favorite blankie or stuffy

Being on an airplane can be a scary experience for anyone, much less a young child! Having something familiar can help ease some of that tension. I always let my kids pack one toy that they love (I don’t want them walking around with a backpack full of toys), and I make them pack it in their little backpack along with their favorite snack or candy.

Don’t forget diapers or pull-ups

Bring more than you think you’ll need. I was at an airport once and a lady asked to borrow a diaper from me because she ran out. I know that I wouldn’t want that to happen to me. My luck, there wouldn’t be anyone there to borrow from!

If your child is newly potty trained or younger and has a small bladder, I would recommend putting them in a pull-up while traveling, if you can. My daughter had just turned 3 and was newly potty trained, but when we had a whole day of traveling, I made her wear a pull-up. I was afraid that it would make her regress, but I made sure to tell her that it was a special occasion. If you think your child might fight it, you can try to put one on OVER their underwear for just in case.

Extra change of clothes

I have heard too many horror stories of parents being peed on, pooped on, thrown up on, basically all sorts of bodily fluids being spewed all over them. Most parents think of bringing extra clothes for their child…but you should consider maybe an extra shirt or something for you as well! Especially if your child tends to get motion sickness.

Know that no matter how much you prepare, there is always going to be something that goes wrong. That is just life. If you go into it with that mindset, then a little setback here and there is not going to seem like that big of a deal. On the other hand, if you go into it thinking your child is going to be an angel and that nothing will go wrong, then when something happens, it can cause anxiety and stress and a whole slew of bad emotions. You can’t control everything. Sometimes, you just have to trust that everything will work out, you will survive, and it won’t matter a year from now.

Happy travels!

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