9 Tips For Traveling With A Toddler


I got a lot of these tips from other mamas, so I’m not claiming any of these to be my ideas! I wanted to make a list in case other mamas were looking for tips like I was and also so I can come back to this list for future trips. This past weekend Charlie, who will be 2 next month, went on his first plane ride/vacation to Texas. I was very nervous of how it was going to go, but overall I would say it was a success. I’d like to think a lot of it was because of all of the research I did beforehand. So here’s my list…



3-D STICKERS

These stickers were SO helpful on the airplane. I went to the Dollar Tree and grabbed a bunch of sheets of these. They had all different themes and since they were 3-D they were very easy for Charlie to take off himself and stick to the back of the seat. They were also fairly easy to remove from the seat too and left no markings. When we were in Texas I actually went to the Dollar Tree again to get some more.

BLACK OUT CURTAINS

These were a game changer for nap time and bedtime. You never know what rooms will be like and how dark the bedrooms get. Charlie is used to sleeping in a dark room with black out curtains at home which is why I brought them with. He slept perfectly for naps and bedtime.

SOUND MACHINE

This one is a no-brainer for us because I can’t even sleep without some noise. Once we learned this trick when Charlie was about 4 months old, he has been a much better sleeper with white noise on. We go everywhere with the sound machine even if it’s just a day trip.

NEW TOYS & SNACKS

For the plane I found this to be very helpful. It’s a good distraction for them and also a special little treat. In my packed bag I packed some more familiar toys to give him some familiarity to where we were staying.


DOWNLOADED EPISODES AND MOVIES

As much as I limit Charlie to screen time each day (usually 30 min - 1 hour a day if any), this was thrown out the window for the airplane and whole trip. I knew it was going to be a hard adjustment when we got home, but I’d much rather enjoy my vacation than worry about screen time the whole time. I used this as my last resort. If the stickers, toys, and snacks weren’t working then I pulled out my old phone with Cocomelon downloaded on it!

“HOLD MY HAND OR I HOLD YOU”

I learned this phrase a few months back when I was researching how to get Charlie to hold my hand while crossing the street or when we’re in a busy area. If you only force them to hold your hand then there’s a higher chance they’re not going to do it. Just like adults, toddlers like choices to choose from. Instead of it being hold my hand or run free during these busy or crossing the street situations, teach them the safe options. So before I go to hold Charlie’s hand, I say “hold my hand or I hold you”. He’ll either reach for my hand or put his hands up and say ”up”.


BUY DIAPERS WHEN YOU GET THERE

This allowed for more packing room! I made sure to pack at least 5 diapers in my carry on to have at the airport, plane, and after we landed. Then the first stop we made was the grocery store which is where I picked up regular diapers and also swim diapers.


SPECIAL SNACKS FOR TAKE OFF AND LANDING

I learned this one after we landed from our first flight. The whole flight I was offering Charlie all the snacks I had packed, even the chewy ones I got to help with his ears. This back fired in a way because about 30 min before we landed his ears started to pop REAL bad. He began screaming bloody murder and holding his ears. Yes, we were that family with a screaming toddler on a plane for about two minutes. He looked terrified. I felt helpless. I was trying to get him to eat the chewy snacks I packed to help him, but he didn’t understand that would help. He was just understanding that his ears hurt and mama was trying to distract with snacks. He wasn’t intrigued by the chewy snacks because he had already had them. So the only thing he wanted was for me to hold him and let him know it would be okay. He basically screamed until it tired him out. He fell asleep for the rest of the trip. Before our flight coming home I got special chewy snacks that I only offered during take off and landing.

TRAVEL WITH GRANDPARENTS 😉

If you have the option, I suggest traveling with grandparents or other family members who your kiddo spends a lot of time with. It was SO wonderful being on the same plane as Charlie’s Grammy and Grampy. We see them multiple times a week, so Charlie spends so much time with them and loves them so much. They also are able to pick up on his cues on what he might want because they have a lot of experience with him. It was nice to be able to pass Charlie back and forth between all of us. We were also staying with my siblings as well which was nice for Charlie to have even more loved ones to play and hangout with. It was also very nice for Mama and Dada to get some breaks every once and awhile.



I was told multiple times how lucky we were to have a toddler who traveled so well. I like to think there was a little bit of luck, but also a lot of research and boundaries set too that helped! I’m not saying every trip will go this smoothly if you use these tips, but overall I would say this one did for us!

Hi, thanks for stopping by!

Just a reminder, I'm not a medical professional! Not a therapist or doctor. My advice is based off of my own experiences being diagnosed with anxiety and depression. A lot of the tips I share are things I've learned from my therapist! 

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