Happy Monday! This post is long overdue, but better late then never! Traveling with a toddler is waaay different than traveling with a baby. Babies are somewhat easy to travel with – they sleep the majority of the time and if they are awake and they cry it’s likely they are hungry or need a clean diaper. That’s not to say it doesn’t take some time adjusting to all the baby stuff that is needed and figuring out the logistics ie: whether to check the stroller at the check-in or at the the gate, bring or rent a car seat, etc. If you’re interested in more traveling advice, read our tips for traveling with a baby and traveling with an older baby!
Now… traveling with a toddler is a different story. William absolutely loves to fly, so there is not a chance in the world that he sleeps on airplanes anymore. In fact, it was when we went to LA in February when I realized I should give up on trying to get him to nap on a plane. He is way too interested in everything going on around him, flirting with the flight attendants and other passengers or wanting to walk up and down the aisle. He understood early on that when the seatbelt sign was on we had to stay in our seats, but the minute the light went off, he was ready to roll! Each time we traveled last year, we started to get better about keeping him busy on the plane. Here are a few tips we learned along the way!
Tips for Traveling with a Toddler:
- Check your car seat: If you need a car seat at your destination, check this when checking bags. It’s free and takes a load off of your hands! We like to check William’s car seat in a wheeled travel bag to protect it, keep it clean and make it easy to transport until we get our car.
- Bring an umbrella stroller: We won’t be able to do this now with two babies, but it was so nice to have a lightweight, umbrella stroller for traveling with William when he was older. It folds to nothing and doesn’t take up space in the car
- Travel in the morning: If your toddler is like William and won’t nap on a plane, traveling before nap time (and before fussy time) is optimal.
- Pack a meal: We like to pack a favorite sandwich and fruit to feed William once we’re air born. It gives him something to do while the plane is reaching altitude and before we can move around.
- Pack snacks: We also pack a variety of snack foods such as Cheerios, cheddar bunnies, Annie’s snack mix and mini peanut butter crackers. These make a good diversion when we’ve hit the bottom of our bag of tricks 😉
- Bring your toddler’s backpack: For William having all his things in his very own backpack makes it all the more fun to travel. And we don’t have to worry about digging through our bags to find his snacks and toys when we need to put our hands on something quickly!
- Sit in the bulkhead: It may cost a little extra (although some airlines will assign the bulkhead to a family traveling with a little one) but it is well worth it! The extra space allows your toddler to sit on the floor and play and gives space for moving around while you’re in your seat. We lay one of William’s play blankets down on the floor and he can have his snacks there and read or play. This is a lifesaver on long flights!
- Bring a couple of books and small toys: William isn’t really big on toys, so we only pack a few that we know will keep him engaged. He loves the All Aboard book series. Finding the conductor and pointing out landmarks in each book will keep William occupied for short periods of time. Small alphabet stacking blocks are also a good diversion. He loves to stack them into a tower, but also loves to look at all the pictures and letters that he recognizes.
- Pack a favorite lovey and security blanket: William has far too many loveys to take them all when we travel. They would overfill his entire backpack! Before we leave we ask him to pick one or two of his “guys” to come along on the trip with us (Ellie the elephant always comes along!) and we always bring his small “baba” blanket.
We would love to hear some of your tips, too! And, please wish us luck as we are taking our first trip with William and Henry after Henry gets his 8-week shots. That will be a big adjustment! 🙂
Shop Tips for Traveling with a Toddler:
Stia, Jean and Katherine