How to Travel With A Toddler

Laugh at the things that don’t go quite right and think about the big picture – you are fortunate to have health, happiness and family and are going on a trip!!

Holiday Travel Time: This Flight Attendant Knows

It’s that time of year; time to travel with your young children. Whether it is travel by car or by air, or any type of transport for that matter, travelling with a toddler can be really tough, really exhausting and demands that you be prepared every step of the way. Really!

Travelling family

Think You Are Prepared?

Great to double check! May I suggest being “over-prepared”! You never know what will be ahead of you and all comforts of home, routine and resources are no longer options.

Travel Tips For Parents With Toddlers

There are many challenges when it comes to travelling with a two year old. Preparation for travel helps make your life easier, and frankly, is a MUST! Forward thinking and having many options on hand is the key to a successful transport with children of all ages, My family trip remains a fond memory instead of a disaster to try and forget.

Halfway Around the World

We returned from a very long trip, halfway around the world, boarded and disembarked three airplanes in 24 hours –  my husband and a two year old toddler. I returned sane, but I will admit, it was NOT easy. I am a seasoned traveller as it is literally, my profession, however, nothing can fully prepare you for hours and hours of confinement and the sheer exhaustion that is inevitable when it comes to travel and little ones. But you can make it easier. Be prepared when travelling with a toddler!

Ok, I’ve stated, and restated my main premise here. Here’s what to do!


Before The Big Day

Even before you board that flight, for example, or before you leave the house and attempt to attain on-time departure or stay within determined scheduled deadlines so as to keep to your plans, stress begins to loom. The pressure to remember everything so as to not go without any comforts or needs is important to you and will assist to make this vacation a wonderful experience. It is a tall order!

Make Lists Well Ahead of Time

Create concise, simple, but comprehensive and complete lists utilizing any of our fabulous means of list assistance; mobile phone apps, or pen and paper if this works for you. Categorise in four simple lists; Toddler, Dad, Mom, Family Stuff. Think about basics and then add details. For example – Sleep, Eat, Wear, Change, Entertain, Importants (documents, passports, wallet, keys, phone).

Break down your trip and write it down…. If you are visiting someone for an event, focus on that. What will you wear? Have you packed the gift? Do you have directions and phone numbers. Do you have all camera cables and electronics’ parts and bits?

Again, check you have your pertinent documents and passports for everyone. (I will repeat this again just for emphasis 😉

It’s Not The Destination, It’s The Journey?

I am sure you are aware of the challenges as you are a seasoned mother and it is generally challenging travelling to the supermarket, for instance!  I am not going to sugar-coat it; not after what I recently went through and after all I witness onboard my international flights.

We can, however make the journey go as smooth as possible by arming ourselves with tools to combat all obstacles that may come our way.


Arm yourself with patience. Get sleep, pack ahead of time and try to eliminate stressors. Yes, I said eliminate. If you are prone to run a little late, start getting ready earlier. Your little one doesn’t understand all the fuss and he or she is not the reason for being late, or for us forgetting their few simple needs. Don’t forget that comfort toy or blanket. Children don’t understand hurry up!

Eat good food before you get going or pack healthy snacks.

Go to the bathroom.

You get it; take care of all basic needs and get ready to go – help make it a good trip! Sometimes we are so busy being in a bad mood we forget the positives and forget to have fun! Laugh at the things that don’t go quite right and think about the big picture – you are fortunate to have health, happiness and family and are going on a trip!!

Essential Packing

Ok – so what to pack? Attempt with all your might, to pack light. How? Pack smart.

Keep clothing to a minimum. Think ” All-purpose”! Pinterest, for example, offers ideas to mix and match pieces of your outfit in order to create many different outfits. If you have access to a washer and dryer, pack only two pairs of pyjamas, for instance. Or one – perhaps your T-shirt can double as a nightie one night. Whatever you can leave at home, just leave it. I found I overpacked clothing and it was valuable space as I had gifts to transport back home, not to mention, things seem to pack nicely once, but why is it so difficult to repack the same way?

I consulted several Pinterest blogs and various websites regarding packing essentials etc. That was the easy part. What takes a little more time and creativity is sifting through the many ideas and preparing for your unique family.

The best ideas are simple and don’t require store bought toys. Do-it-yourself activity kits are a great idea and mine was a big hit, and an absolute saviour when it came to confinement on an aircraft for a full day.

Visit your local craft or dollar store and purchase inexpensive stickers, paper, coloured pencils, felt shapes and pipe cleaners, pom poms, puzzles, on and on… put them in various pencil-type cases and easily pack them away; ready to entertain and occupy.

My son loved popping colourful pom poms into an empty water bottle I was given onboard. This is just an example of what simple things can entertain for some time. When my son tired of watching his favourite animation, and when music  and playing got old, he enjoyed playing with Mom and Dad. It may have only entertained him for awhile, but the variety helped distract and then he would go back to his iPad games and animated movies, until he fell asleep periodically.

Note: Although electronics have quite a negative placement in our lives, I feel that there are appropriate times and there are many devices that are damn near essential – even though our parents or parents – parents did not have the same.


Have you got the basics covered? Remember a change of clothes for everyone.   The first time I travelled with my son, he was one and a half and he threw up all over me at the airport, prior to embarkment. He had a change of clothes, however, I was an unfortunate, smelly mess!

  • Change of comfy clothes
  • Nappies, changing pad, creams, etc
  • Handy wipes and disinfectant wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Snacks of all kinds – fresh fruits and vegetables and biscuit types
  • Hydrate – Bottles of milk are allowed for infants. Small juice boxes.
  • Sippy cups or bottles
  • Activity packs
  • Electronics
  • Passports and documents

Enjoy your travels!!