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Traveling with the Toddler: Tips & Tricks

I have done a lot of traveling in the past few months with my toddler, for work and for play.  Some of it has been plane travel, some of it car travel.  Now that spring break is over, we are wrapping up our travels, for a little while at least.  It has been an adventure, to be sure, and I love that we are adding so many memories to our book of life.

The kids have been almost angelic through it all.  I thought I'd share my top few tips for traveling with the toddler, to add to our travel archives.  These tricks have worked for me, so I thought I might share, even if they won't work for everyone.  I welcome you all to share your top tips & tricks as well.

  • Napping: in the car, carrier, stroller.  You know better than anyone how your babe will nap best.  Find that technique and exploit it.  Many families know their kids will sleep in the car & will start the road trip then.  My kid doesn't sleep well in the car, so we avoid starting the road trip at his nap time.  He naps well in the carrier or stroller, so sometimes we go for a long walk to get him to sleep, then use that naptime to go to the museum & entertain the older kids.  If it's a work trip, sometimes we get tuckered with some playground time, then go for that long walk, which can potentially buy me 3 hours of work time.
  • Snack food: bring it.  I have heard the words "I'm hungry!" at the most inopportune time.  My pockets and bags are full of high nutrition food like CLIF or Luna bars, nuts, crackers, apples, bananas, sometimes even PB&J.
  • Breakfast food: it takes too long for us to mobilize and get out.  If my kids had to wait that long before breakfast, their stomachs might start to eat up their insides.  My true and tried trick is to bring instant oatmeal packets for some nourishment even before we make coffee with the in-room maker.  Recently found Better Oats with reduced packaging & even cheaper than the Quaker Oats variety.
  • Dipes: We use cloth at home & gDiapers when we travel.  The gInserts are really absorbent & I don't even have to change the outer cloth cover but once a day!  Super efficient means less to pack.
  • Stroller-less:  My toddler is pretty small, so I can manage to carry (via Ergo, usually) him when he needs to be carried.  I started to notice that he objected to riding in a stroller, preferring instead to push the stroller.  He's a toddler, wants to walk, explore.  Traveling on the plane without a stroller means you don't have to wait on the other end for gate check to bring it out to you.
  • Entertainment: I have a small pouch where I carry his two favorite cars, about 8 pieces of duplo, a stack of post-it notes in different colors, two crayons/markers.  That's about it.  My emergency entertainment are pictures of his sisters on my phone and his single most favorite song (Rhianna's "What's my name").  Also, of late, I have used Google Maps on my phone to find the closest park where we can get our swing on.


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If you're flying a longish way, try to fly red eye. Eventually you'll fall asleep and so will your kid--when you wake up, you're there!

I don't know WHY people hate doing this, I'd so rather deal with a less than optimal night's sleep that be bored and miserable, wasting an entire day on a flight.

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