We're heading off to Florida tomorrow, and our house is bursting with anticipation. Literally my almost 5 year old can barely sleep. This weekend I've been packing and prepping for the trip. We'll be spending the first part of the trip swimming with manatees, poolside, exploring and hanging out with family, and the second part of the trip at Disney (so packing for a variety of adventures). We've made this trips several times (a few times just me and the kiddos), so I feel like somewhat of a veteran at this, though with toddlers in tow, it's always an adventure! Here are my my tips for traveling with toddlers:
My tips for traveling with toddlers:
Relax- seriously, take a deep breathe and remember to laugh and enjoy the adventure.
Don't worry what about what others are thinking- Yes, easier said then done, but don't focus too much on what other people are thinking, you have enough to think about.
Ask for help if you need it- when I'm flying solo with the kids this is especially important, but never be afraid to ask for help from the flight crew, gate agent, or using a porter etc.
Novelty will buy you time- I always go to the toy store and load up on NEW games, activities, and little toys (Not expensive just new and fun.. i.e. a new deck of go-fish cards, new stickers, a new wind up toy, a Melissa & Doug activity book etc).. I'll pull one thing out at a time to buy us as much time as possible. Now that my boys are getting older they bring little back packs, and I always stash a few things in there as a surprise.
Pack plenty of favorite snacks- I always pack plenty of everyone's favorite snacks, individual ziploc bags are great. Food is always a big help (I'm not above bribery) and frankly when you're traveling you don't always know when you're next meal will be.
Car seat for the win for the little guys- We've tried all possible methods, and bringing the car seat on the plane when they're little guys has worked best for us. The car seat comes with us and doesn't need to take a beating below, and a squirmy little guy is secure and usually sleeping.
If there is ever a time to embrace technology, this is it- Everyone has their own opinions/approach, but I'm OK with technology helping us through plane rides and layovers. Loading the device ahead of time with appropriate new games/movies is a lifesaver.
Take advantage of family lines- They have lines for families and pre-boarding for a reason, so take advantage of it! I know some people feel the opposite and like to wait as long as possible to get on the plane, but for me, it's always worked best to get on before the masses if possible and get situated.
Plane your travel times wisely- If you can help it, take your time mapping out your trip and planning your travel times. If you're traveling in the car, it's usually helpful to travel when you're little ones are tired and likely to fall asleep. Air travel totally depends are your child.. i.e. my kids do really well with morning flights and don't do well traveling in the evening when they are tired and cranky.
Baby/toddler wearing is a lifesaver- Really, I can't tell you how helpful our carriers have been through the years! Especially helpful coming on and off the plane!
Have drinks available for take off and landing- If you traveling on an airplane, remember to offer something to suck on during take off and landing. For wee ones, nursing or taking a bottle or pacifier will be SO helpful to combat the pressure and clear their ears, and even the older ones find sucking on a water bottle or straw helpful.
No matter how old your toddlers are, pack a change of clothes- Regardless if they are 100% potty trained or not, bring a change of clothes for all your kiddos, accidents and spills happening when you are traveling. I try to pack outfits that are lightweight and easy to fold... i.e. wind pants etc..
Here's a look at what I'm packing:
Go-Go Babyz Travelmate
With a young toddler, the safe and easiest (imo) to ride on an airplane is in their car seat. A travel cart is definitely the easiest way to get schlep the seat around airport.
Diono Radian RXT
While it's a heavy seat, the slim profile and straight back makes it a great seat to use on the plane. We'll strap it onto the cart, but note this seat also folds and can be carried with backpack straps.
Baby Jogger City Mini Single
If we were staying in Disney longer than a couple days, I would likely opt for my double City Mini, but oldest is 1 month shy of five and has very little interest in stroller riding. I'm choosing to bring the City Mini because it's lightweight, so easy to fold (I can do it with one hand), small profile (will be easy to maneuver in airports and Disney), durable (it withstands the gate check well), and its a great seat that reclines flat if my little Calvin wants to rest.
Baby Jogger Glider Board
This board has been a huge lifesaver for us. It hooks right on to our City Mini (or any of our BJ Strollers) and I can still fold the stroller with the board attached, and can also flip it up when no one is riding. My older son knows he has to ride on "his board" through the airport.
This is a Beco Toddler Carrier. They are brand new to the market and only available in limited supply. Keep an on Frogmama.com! Other great options are Toddler Tulas, and Angelpack Max carriers.
Foxy Vida Anchors Diaper Bag
I'm bringing this bag because I'm a Foxy fan, and it's really lightweight, and I can carry it cross body, not to mention it's chic and stylish, while still super functional (which is great as it's the only bag I'll be bringing). Traveling with little ones is not the time to bring you fancy bag with heavy hardware; the lighter the better, and make sure it's comfortable to carry. I like carrying my bags cross body, but if you're looking for a backpack, check out the Ju-Ju Be BFF bag- their new nautical collection looks fabulous.
Honest Company Hand Sanitizer
No denying that traveling means facing lots of germs! In general, I'm not a germ freak, but I feel a lot better carrying these in my bag.
I love these! Messy faces are inevitable, and these wipes are the best. A natural and easy was to keep your favorite faces clean.
Honest Company Diapers & Travel Wipes
I'm a big fan of honest company diapers and wipes, but I especially love the convenience of the individual packs of travel wipes; they're perfect for traveling!
Skip Hop Zoo Backpack
Now that my boys are older they love to have their own bag for traveling. These backpacks are a perfect size for traveling.
Skip Hop Zoo Travel Blanket
Especially when traveling on a plane, it can get chilly, and sometimes it's just comforting to curl up a soft blanket, these Zoo blankets are an easy and fun way to bring a blanket along.
Pipsqueak Kids Travel Kit
These are great, and even better they're Maine made. Such a fun and convenient way for each of my boys to bring a pad of paper and crayons.
Melissa & Doug Water Wow & Other Fun Travel Activities
I always stock up on fun new activities, hiding them until the day of the trip to keep the novelty etc. Melissa & Doug has some great activities.
Shrunks Tuckaire Toddler Bed
I love this bed, and I tuck it in my suitcase for my almost 3 year old. He's a climber and out of a crib, but does too much rolling for a hotel bed. He also loves this little bed; we bring our own crib sheet (which fits this bed great) and he loves the comfort of the familiarity etc.
Swim Zip Rash Guard & Swim Trunks
If you're going somewhere warm, check out Swim Zip. I'm a huge fan of their swimwear.
Honest Company Sunscreen
If you're going vacationing in the sun, sunscreen is essential. We've tried many many brands, and and honest is definitely a favorite, especially love that its not insanely sticky.
What are your favorite travel tips?? Would love to hear them and any of your go-to items to pack! Thanks as always for stopping by!!
I'm Rebecca, a Maine mom of three energetic young boys and wife of a lobsterman, living in my favorite place, the coast of Maine. You'll find me here talking about my parenting journey, mom style, recipes, running and exercise, travel, stories from our life in Maine and so much more! Most days I'm just figuring it out as I go - Thanks so much for stopping by!