Toddler Travel Tips to master travel with toddlers in tow!

Toddler Travel Tips to master travel with toddlers in tow!

Many people think toddler travel is hard if not impossible and many put off traveling until their kids are out of the toddler stage. However, having travelled round the world with our toddler in tow I can say it is the best things we have ever done! Ok, I’m not going to say it is the easiest but I love traveling with her at this age as she brings fresh eyes and makes us do new things and in our opinion the pros outweigh the cons. Here I have rounded up some of the best toddler travel experts to give their one biggest toddler travel tips so you can master travel with a toddler in tow!

Things to Know Before you Travel with a Toddler

As with anything in travel preparation is the key – as an old teacher of mine used to say fail to prepare – prepare to fail!

Holly at Four Around the World says: “Prepare your toddler before you travel by talking with them about your upcoming trip and what to expect. You can also get them involved in your trip preparation with packing and related simple tasks, to help reduce the potential anxiety from the change in their environment and routine. They may not understand in a lot of detail, however if you work on building up their excitement, it can be a big help”.

But we think it is also important to prepare yourselves for traveling with a toddler! Make sure you readjust your expectations as toddler travel is very different to couple travel or even travel with a baby! Night outs and exploring in the evening might not be any option anymore and as long as you have readjusted your expectations you will have a good time!

What to Pack for Travelling with a Toddler

Karen at Smart Steps Australia says “My number one piece of advice for someone travelling with a toddler (or multiple toddlers, in our case) is to travel with a rucksack as your cabin luggage as you can never have enough spare hands. If you carry your flight bag on your back, it leaves your hands free to hold little hands, carry a toddler, push a buggy or to hold passports/tickets/boarding passes etc”.

Suzi at Survey Suzi says “My tip for dealing with toddler travel is to always have lots of spare clothes on you. You never know when they will have a toilet accident or one with food, mud, vomit, anything around at all. This is especially true on long flights when you don’t have access to your luggage – take at least three changes!”
And don’t forget as Anna at Popitha says  it is important to take a mix of new and old toys to keep your children entertained.

Managing the Airport with a Toddler

Kate at Rolling Along with Kids says “Flying with toddlers can be daunting and I highly recommend deleting or hiding any Apps from your tablet device before you board the plane. There is nothing worse than a toddler seeing their favourite App and then not being able to play it. Saved many tantrums in our family!” While Mich at travel fun fam reminds us that you can download your child’s favourite shows before flying so you can still access them on the flight!

Marianne from Mum on the Move recommends buying a ride along suitcase as it meant her kids could ride them rather than be carries through the airport and it kept them excited about he airport experience!

These ones come highly recommended!

How to Keep Toddlers Entertained on the Plane

I think the plane journey is probably the number one thing that puts parents off traveling with toddlers however with a bit of preparation it doesn’t have to be as daunting. Step one in Chontelle at mums little explorers opinion is to try to book the bulkhead seats so you have extra legroom! Jenn from Come Back Momma  recommends this cheap and easy way to keep toddlers entertained on flights. “We pack colored post it notes. The kids stick them on the seat in front of them and the tray tables. As they got older, we could write letters on them to practice ABCs. Small colored cups for stacking. They don’t make too much noise and who cares if you lose one.” While Ania from the Traveling Twins goes further by preparing a whole pack for the flight “It could be a small vanity bag from a previous flight (the one which had contained a pair of elastic socks and a facecloth) in which I would put some small toys – similar to what you would find in a birthday party goody bag:  stickers, crayons, a small notebook, small cars or bendy toys, a few templates for noughts and crosses, a lucky stone, a coin which they could can trace with paper and pencil. Anything which is small and can entertain your child. You don’t have to give them to your child all at once  – you can let him/her do the lucky dip.  If you assume that one thing will last for 10-15 minutes, then four or five items will give you one hour of peace.”

If flying isn’t the thing that panics you but perhaps flying solo with a toddler is the thing that sends you into a cold sweat Jenny at Planet Pilgrims has some advice: “When traveling as a single parent on an airplane with a toddler, it is advisable to become friends with some other passengers on the airplane. It does help when you have a cute kid. I never had a problem whenever I needed to go to the toilet and I just needed 5 minutes. Other passengers were always happy to help.”.

Travelling with a potty trained toddler

As with every stage of parenting, the toddler stage presents some new difficulties for traveling parents. One of the big things in this stage  is  potty training! Should you potty train while traveling and what do you do once you have potty trained when you travel?

Jill from Lets Travel Family says “Plan in potty breaks often so that you don’t become stressed when inevitably you will need to take them while traveling with a toddler. Whether you are full-time RVing with kids, taking a week-long road trip, or flying with a toddler be intentional with your bathroom breaks. We have found that planning in a bathroom breaks every 90 minutes while traveling usually prevents any accidents along our journey”.

For us, when we are flying with our potty trained toddler, we also put her back in pull up nappies! Not to use them instead of the regular toilet breaks (Lets face it no one wants a recession) but in case of turbulence! The last flight we had we had a solid four hours of turbulence where the seatbelt sign stayed on. As much as I wanted to get her up to go to the toilet it was impossible so the nappies were a great call! Just make sure you explain why you are doing it to the toddler in advance!

Helping toddlers sleep while traveling

We are lucky that our little one will sleep anywhere but not all toddlers are the same! If you have a toddler who like sleep routine then Lisa at FlipFLop Globetrotters recommends  “toddler travel bed. Having a safe place to sleep that was always the same and completely his really helped their boy sleep during naps and at night. It also saved us money as they didn’t have to pay for an extra bed. The one they had was similar to the KidCo PeaPod Plus, a tent-like toddler bed completely covered with mosquito netting so they didn’t have to worry about insect bites either.

Angela from says “Don’t forget your children’s favourite cuddly toy or plushie. It will provide comfort and familiarity especially for getting to sleep. Keep it close at all times so it doesn’t get lost! For additional fun, we established an early tradition of photographing the toy (a soft toy Panda) in all destinations – it became part of the family travel group! That meant it was unlikely to get lost as we were always asking “Where’s Panda?”

At the destination

For booking accommodation Pam at Hey Miss Adventure says “COMFORT OVER SAVINGS. Of course, we still do our best to stay in budget but there are certain areas where we realized, it’s much better to aim for everyone’s comfort than keep the savings”.With our second baby around, we have become “flashpackers”, spending a little bit more (than usual) on accommodations and transportation (eg. using Grab car, which is like Uber here in SEA, instead of mass transport). The more comfortable the kids are at least in these areas, the more enjoyable the entire trip becomes, and the more our sanity stays intact! This is especially helpful if you are traveling with a little one on your own – you do whatever you can to survive!

Katja at globetrotting says it is important to balance your itinerary! Try and do activities in the day while letting kids blow off steam I swimming pools etc in the afternoon! For Emily over at Kids and Compass parks are the definite best afternoon activity for letting kids blow off steam!
Sarah at Chasing the Donkey agrees that “Traveling with a toddler can go pear-shaped as the day progresses, but before the day can go all wonky and your toddler loses control – get out and explore (or fly!) your destination. Let’s face it, most toddlers are the least cranky in the morning – when they wake after a great nights sleep, I suggest you get moving! One way to do this is to have all the bags and clothes ready the night before so that when you all wake up, you can head out and grab breakfast out and about. When we travel with our toddler, we skip the dinner at a restaurant (and eat in instead), so having a great breakfast makes us feel like we made the most of the city – and it’s cuisine. After a great breakfast, you can head off and explore your must-see-sights. Maybe your toddler will be like mine and sleep in the stroller (be sure to travel internationally with a travel one for even extra ease) which will make the morning of sightseeing even less stressful. 

Sinead over at Map Made Memories also has a tip for the morning should the worst happen while you are out sightseeing – “Before heading out for the day to a crowded beach, busy theme park or another popular venue, take a full frame photograph of your child on your mobile phone. If your child should get separated from you or lost, you will have an accurate description of what they are currently wearing – and one that can be widely shared instantaneously”.

Melissa at The Military Homestead says “Be flexible. Don’t expect naps or bedtime to go according to plan. After being cooped up in a car seat or airplane for hours, your kids may simply have too much energy saved up. Combat the sleepless nights by allowing naps to happen as they come (or not), and leave room in your schedule at the end of the day for physical activity before settling in”.
Melissa at the family voyage recommends building in frequent snack breaks as a full child is a happy child! Karen at mini travellers goes further and says to take snacks from home just so your little one has familiar snacks they love!

The great toddler debate stroller versus carrier

I think when researching travel, especially in cities one of the top questions our readers and we ask is should we take a stroller! For me the answer to this is always yes!

Keri at our globetrotters agrees and recommends  buying  a lightweight foldable stroller such as the Familidoo air stroller so you can be prepared for all important naps! As Anna at Dreamista says it is really important to respect nap time!
Here is our recommendation for a great value travel stroller!

The details 

The Familidoo Air Pushchair, Black Panda can be purchased on Amazon


However, it is also important to. have the option for a carrier with you!
Though the Ergo Baby is the most versatile carrier on the market, I would recommend looking to invest in a toddler back pack ! We found that for when we go hiking in National Parks and when we were on the Great Wall of China etc, this heavy duty back carrier made life much easy!
Celine over at Family Can Travel recommends buying a specific toddler carrier! She says “Once our toddler started walking more, we bought a toddler carrier that fit both us and our toddler better than a baby carrier. Rather than pushing an empty stroller half the time, this allowed us to easily carry our toddler when he was done walking and still pack the carrier away when we weren’t using it”. If you are looking for a specific carrier recommendation Sandra at Heading for the Hills recommends the  Osprey Poco baby backpack carrier. She said “It gives us two free hands and our little absolutely guy loved being up so high and seeing the world. Getting him to stay in his pram was always a challenge but he never complained once in the backpack carrier. It made getting through the airport and out again a breeze. We’ve travelled to a lot of countries in Asia where it’s hard to use a pram because there are often no footpaths or when they do have them, they are jammed with obstacles that are impossible to navigate with a pram. I recommend a baby backpack carrier to anyone travelling to south east Asia”.
So there are the top tips we have for toddler travel – what are you experiences of toddler travel? What is your number one tip?

Toddler travel tips #toddlertravel #travelwithkids

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  1. March 5, 2019 / 7:53 pm

    Such good tips! Comfort really is more important than saving when you need a good night’s sleep after sightseeing with a toddler and rucksacks at the airport are a must!

  2. March 8, 2019 / 12:52 pm

    Some excellent tips as always. We’re well past this stage now but i remember it well #fearlessfamtrav

  3. March 10, 2019 / 3:48 pm

    Such awesome tips here! I know some kids don’t get on with Trunkis, but for us, they seriously are the best buy. My 5yo still uses them and they have made getting around an airport so much easier.

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