How to Travel with a Toddler

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So, you’re going on a trip? With a toddler? You’re going to travel with a toddler? Are you out of your mind? No, no you’re not. It may seem like the scariest thing ever, but, trust, me….you will be fine.

Many parents before you have traveled with a toddler and have lived to tell their stories. Some of them even laugh about the stories! You can do this! Whether you’re planning on taking a road trip an hour away or heading on a 5 hours plane flight, you can handle this.

In my experience, the best way to tackle what could seem like a somewhat daunting situation is to prepare for it. Think about it; we prepared for the SATs. We prepared for our driving test. If you’re married, you prepared for your nuptials. Heck, you prepare yourself for for a successful day by getting yourself together each morning. (I mean, unless it’s a typical Saturday because I am Team Sleep in and Stay in PJs all day!) More than likely, you are going to absolutely kick butt when you go to travel with a toddler.

Let’s get you prepared! Besides including the obvious tablet (don’t forget the charger!), his is how I would prepare for travel with a toddler when my boys were tiny:

Pack a Backpack

If you don’t have one already, you’re going to want a backpack for your little person. If you’re traveling on a plane or train, each passenger likely gets to bring a carry on, so treat this backpack as their carry on. Plus, if your child is anything like my boys, it’ll make them feel extra special. Amazon has a ton of toddler backpacks available! If your child may be anxious about the upcoming trip, consider allowing them to pick out their own backpack print!

Put some Activities in that Backpack

I mean, your child might just enjoy walking around with an empty backpack, but let’s be safe and assume they could get bored on this trips. Plan ahead for travel with a toddler by putting some fun activities in that backpack!

You really can’t go wrong with any of the smaller Melissa and Doug toys. From experience, though, the Melissa and Doug Water Wow are some of the most beloved travel activities. They’re reasonably priced, they’re reusable, and your kids will love them! I like to grab one of the multi-packs because the price is usually a tad lower and, who am I to say “no” to a little bit of extra savings?

Another tried & true travel activity? Crayons and coloring books have always been a welcome diversion. If you are going to a warm climate, though, you may want to skip the crayons and opt for colored pencils because…crayons melt and you don’t want to mess with that.

Want to add some options for pretend play? Depending on your child’s interest, you may want to put some animal figures, play cars, or a doll in the backpack.

I bet there’s some more room in that backpack, right? Consider adding a few board books or interactive books to the mix. Bonus points if the books are new because you’ll probably get a few extra minutes of toddler happiness with some brand spankin’ new books!

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You know they’ll get Hungry

Or thirsty. Probably both. During travel with a toddler, both are inevitable! Plan ahead by packing some snacks and a sippy cup or two. If you’ll be going on a plane, wait until you go through security to fill the cups. Otherwise, I’d definitely fill those cups with the drink(s) of your choice.

When it comes to purchasing sippy cups, I’ve always preferred Contigo Water Bottles and Thermos Water Bottles because they wash well, they don’t spill, and they last a long time! Like, “I’ve had some of their water bottles for 8 years now and they’re still doing awesome” long time. It’s definitely worth investing in quality water bottles for the kids. They’re also super easy for little fingers to open an close independently.

As far as snacks or food, stick with your toddler’s favorite finger foods or snacks. I wouldn’t bring anything that has potential to stink up an airplane (read: leave the tuna at home) or make a huge mess. If you’ll be flying, keep in mind that your toddler might experience the dreaded ear pops. Plan ahead and bring a few lollipops. Just as nursing or drinking a bottle would help a newborn, a lollipop can help with keeping the pressure somewhat stabilized in their little ears. My kids love Yum Earth Lollipops, but go with whatever flavors or brands your child prefers.

One more item…

Don’t laugh at me, ok? If you’ll be traveling by car, consider bringing along a travel toddler toilet. Don’t laugh! If your toddler is potty-trained (or, even if you’re traveling with big kids!), a potty break is guaranteed to happen at least once…no matter how long the drive is! Avoid using a public restroom and be prepared for anything. Might as well pack some wipes or toilet paper, too.

You’re all set!

I mean, besides packing the obvious clothing, diapers and toiletries, you should be all set! Seriously, you are going to be just! Your child(ren) will probably love having their own backpack and finding it filled with goodies. Wouldn’t you enjoy having a bag full of items to make you happy, too? Enjoy your trip and make so many memories!

Elizabeth (and the kids. and the husband. even the dog)

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