Expert Tips for Traveling with Toddlers

Traveling with toddlers can be quite an adventure! If you’ve ever braved the airport with a curious little one or embarked on a road trip with a pint-sized backseat driver, you know just how challenging it can be. But trust me, the rewards are totally worth it!

Let me take you back to the time when my youngest daughter’s obsession with all things Disney led us to plan a family trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. We were living in North Carolina at the time, so we decided to hit the road in a rented minivan. We made sure to equip the car with DVD players to keep the kids entertained and loaded up on snacks, doing our research to find the best times to visit the different Disney rides. However, our journey through Georgia took longer than expected, thanks to numerous potty breaks. That’s when we realized the importance of taking things easy and going with the flow. We even had a funny mix-up at the Disney Welcome Center in Ocala, Florida, where the kids thought they had arrived at Disneyland!

Throughout the trip, we learned some valuable lessons. We discovered the joy of slowing down and embracing the unexpected moments. Our kids absolutely loved everything about the trip, from watching their favorite DVDs in the car to staying in a Disney-themed house and getting to meet iconic characters like Ariel, Cinderella, and Peter Pan. The careful planning we did beforehand truly paid off, ensuring that we made the most of our time at Disney World and created unforgettable memories.

Drawing from my own experiences, I’ve compiled a list of expert tips to make your journey with toddlers a breeze. So whether your journey leads you to the enchanting magic of Disney World, hiking with toddlers, or a wilderness campground on your first camping trip with your baby, these tips will help you navigate the challenges and ensure a smoother and more enjoyable adventure.

Car Travel: Taking a Road Trip With Your Toddler

Car trips with toddlers offer the convenience of setting your own pace, making spontaneous pit stops, and packing as many snacks as your trunk allows. But, it can also feel like a non-stop carousel of demands from the back seat, ranging from snacks to potty breaks to “Are we there yet?” Luckily, with some smart packing and a few creative strategies, you can turn those lengthy car journeys into an enjoyable part of your vacation.

Road Trip Essentials for Toddlers

Before you set off, take a moment to pack these essentials:

  • Car-friendly Activities: A selection of favorite toys, a couple of new surprise toys for the novelty factor, and some travel-friendly games will go a long way in keeping your little one entertained. Look for options that encourage quiet play and don’t have too many small pieces that could end up lost or lodged in uncomfortable places. (I learned this the hard way!)
  • Snacks and Drinks: Pack a variety of snacks that are mess-free and healthy. If your toddler tends to get car sick, avoid dairy products or overly rich foods. And don’t forget the water bottles! Remember, a hydrated toddler is a happy toddler.
  • Travel Potty and Spare Clothes: “I need to pee” is the last thing you want to hear when you’re miles from the nearest rest stop. Be prepared with a portable travel potty and a spare set of clothes.

Activities for Toddlers in the Car

Long car rides can often be taxing for adults, and it’s likely even more so for toddlers. To make the journey less tedious and more enjoyable for your little ones, you need in-car activities that strike the perfect balance – engaging but not excessively stimulating. Here’s a list of suggestions:

  • Interactive Storybooks: These books can keep your toddler engaged with flip-up flaps, textures to touch, and vibrant pictures.
  • Travel-Sized Board Games: Small, easy-to-manage games can provide tons of fun while aiding in developing strategic thinking.
  • Sticker Books: An activity that allows them to get creative and keeps them busy for a decent amount of time.
  • Car-Friendly Craft Kits: Ensure they’re easy to manage and mess-free. Drawing pads with washable markers or reusable sticker sets are good options.
  • Portable DVD Player or Tablet: If you’re not opposed to some screen time, these can be your secret weapon. Load them with your toddler’s favorite shows or educational games.
  • Bonus Tip – A Play Tray: Consider getting a tray that attaches to their car seat. It can serve as a stable surface for play and meals, and can help prevent toys from getting lost in the car.

Road Trip Food and Drinks for Toddlers

When it comes to traveling with a toddler, cleverly planned meals and snacks can become a source of entertainment as well as nourishment. Making meal and snack times an exciting event can keep your toddler occupied and happy. Here are some suggestions:

  • Special Lunchbox: Pack a lunch box specifically for your toddler. The novelty of having their own lunchbox can make mealtime a thrilling event.
  • Finger Foods: A variety of finger foods can not only satisfy their hunger but also double as a fun game. Try bite-sized fruits, cheese cubes, mini sandwiches, or vegetable sticks.
  • Water and Juice Boxes: Hydration is crucial, especially during a long journey. Pack enough water and their favorite juice boxes, but be mindful of the quantities to avoid frequent bathroom stops.
  • Limit Liquids: While ensuring they’re hydrated, be cautious not to overdo it with liquids, as this could lead to frequent bathroom breaks interrupting the journey.
  • Fun Presentation: Present their meals in an engaging way, perhaps a bento-style lunchbox, or use food picks to make it fun and enticing.

Potty Breaks and Preparing for Potty Emergencies

Planning for potty breaks and being prepared for any potty-related emergencies are essential when traveling with a toddler. Here are some strategies to keep in mind:

  • Scheduled Potty Breaks: Aim to take a break for the bathroom approximately every two hours. However, be flexible and adjust the frequency based on your toddler’s cues.
  • Travel Potty: Always carry a travel potty with you. They are light, portable, and invaluable during unexpected “need-to-go-right-now” situations.
  • Spare Set of Clothes: Pack an extra outfit for your toddler. Accidents can and inevitably will happen, so it’s best to be prepared.
  • Maintain a Sense of Humor: Keeping your sense of humor is vital when traveling with toddlers. When accidents happen, handle them with a smile and remember that these are the experiences that will make your trip memorable!

Importance of Car Safety

Car safety might seem like a given, but when you’re traveling with a toddler, it takes on a whole new level of importance. Every parent wants to ensure their child is safe and sound during a road trip, and fortunately, there are several steps you can take to ensure this.

Car Maintenance and Roadside Assistance:  Before setting off, ensure your car is in tip-top condition. Check the oil, tire pressure, brakes, and battery. Ensure your vehicle’s maintenance is up-to-date to avoid breakdowns that could add unnecessary stress to your trip. Equally important is having roadside assistance on speed dial. No one wants to be stranded on the side of the road with a toddler, and having a reliable roadside assistance service can provide peace of mind during your journey.

Car Seat Inspection and Installation: It’s worth taking the time to make sure your child’s car seat is installed correctly, especially for toddlers aged 18 months to 2 years. Visit a local fire station, police station, or hospital for a free car seat safety check. You can find a car seat inspection station here. Ensure that your toddler’s car seat is correctly installed and that they’re within the weight and height limits for the seat. Remember, a correctly installed car seat can significantly reduce the risk of injury in case of an accident.

In addition to installation, it’s important to ensure that your toddler’s car seat is suitable for their age, weight, and height. Different types of car seats have specific guidelines and limitations. For toddlers in the 18-month to 2-year age range, they are typically transitioning from rear-facing infant seats to forward-facing convertible or combination seats. Check the weight and height limits specified by the car seat manufacturer to ensure that your toddler is within the appropriate range for the seat. Convertible car seats can typically accommodate higher weight limits and allow for extended rear-facing, which is recommended for optimal safety. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to determine when it’s appropriate to transition to a forward-facing seat. The NHTSA has a comprehensive guide to car seat recommendations and limitations here. 

By adhering to these safety regulations and guidelines, you can significantly reduce the risk of injury to your toddler in case of an accident. Taking the time to properly install and use a car seat that is suitable for your child’s age, weight, and height is a critical aspect of ensuring their safety during travel.

Fastening Your Child Correctly: When you’re in a hurry, it can be tempting to buckle your child quickly and hit the road, but it’s essential to take the time to ensure your child is correctly fastened in their car seat. Check that the harness is tight enough – you shouldn’t be able to pinch the straps at your child’s shoulder. The chest clip should be at armpit level, and the top of your child’s head should be at least an inch below the top of the car seat for rear-facing seats.

Dangers of Leaving Your Child in the Car: No matter how quick the errand, never leave your child alone in the car. According to the National Weather Service, temps in a closed car can  get up to 140 degrees within minutes. And cracking a window does little to keep the car cool. Always bring your child with you, even for quick stops.

Airplane Travel: Flying With Your Toddler

toddler entertaining herself on an airplane with a dvd player

Flying with your toddler can be both exciting and daunting. As the airplane engines roar and your little one’s eyes light up, it’s an experience that opens up a world of imagination. However, you might also find yourself anxiously anticipating the potential challenges ahead. Here are some essentials for a smooth flight with your toddler.

Airline Policies for Traveling with Toddlers

Picture this: you’re standing at the airport with your energetic toddler, a mountain of bags, and a stroller that seems to have a mind of its own. We’ve all been there! The good news is that airlines understand the challenges of traveling with little ones, and they’ve put some policies in place to make it a tad easier. First off, most airlines allow you to bring a stroller and car seat free of charge in addition to your regular baggage allowance. That means you won’t have to choose between lugging around your toddler’s essential gear and packing those cute vacation outfits!

But wait, there’s more. When it comes to packing, you’ll need to be mindful of some restrictions. You know how it goes with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and their rules on liquids. (I’ll go into more detail in the next section). That means baby food, formula, and other liquid necessities for your toddler will need to comply. Of course you can bring reasonable amounts of these items, but they might go through a little extra screening. To make your life easier, pack them in easily accessible containers and make sure they’re properly labeled. Trust me, it’ll save you some time and hassle at the security checkpoint.

Toddlers and Airport Security

Airport security may be a necessary evil of air travel and, when you have a lively toddler in tow, it can feel like you’re preparing for a mission impossible. Here are some of my tried-and-true tips to help you breeze through those security procedures like a pro.

Let your toddler know what to expect: Talk to your toddler about what to expect, explain that they’ll need to walk through a special machine, and reassure them that it’s all part of the exciting adventure. Encourage them to practice walking through a pretend scanner at home, turning it into a game. A little pre-flight rehearsal can make all the difference in easing any anxiety or fear.

Liquids and baby food: We all know the infamous 3-1-1 rule: containers of liquids, gels, and aerosols must be 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less, fit into a single quart-sized plastic bag, and you’re limited to one bag per passenger. However, you are allowed to bring reasonable amounts of baby food and formula through the screening process. Just make sure they’re properly labeled, easily accessible, and be prepared for additional screening. To save time and hassle, pack them separately in your carry-on bag so you can quickly retrieve them during the security process.

Special Rules: It’s also important to be aware of any specific rules or regulations that may apply. Different countries and airports may have their own requirements, so do your research before your trip. For example, some airports may require you to remove your toddler’s shoes during the screening process, while others may allow them to keep them on. Knowing these details in advance can help you plan and ensure a smoother experience for you and your little one.

Remember, staying calm and organized is key. Arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare, as going through security with a toddler can take a little longer than usual. Keep your toddler engaged and occupied during the process with small toys, books, or even a game of “I Spy” to distract them from any potential boredom or restlessness. And always be patient and understanding with security personnel—they’re there to keep us safe and ensure smooth travel for everyone.

Airline Perks for Families

Now, let’s talk about the perks that airlines offer to families like ours. Some airlines have heard our cries for help while juggling kids, luggage, and everything else that goes with family travel and offer priority boarding for families. That means you get to board early and find your seats before the chaos ensues. It’s a small gesture, but let me tell you, it can make a big difference in keeping everyone’s stress levels in check. You can see an updated list of participating airlines at the USDOT Airline Family Seating Dashboard

And here’s the cherry on top: certain airlines go the extra mile to make your journey more comfortable and enjoyable. They may have special amenities for little travelers, like children’s meals that cater to picky eaters or entertainment options that can keep your toddler engaged during the flight. Some airlines even have designated kid-friendly seating areas on long-haul flights, giving you a little breathing space and a chance to connect with other parents who understand the joys and challenges of traveling with toddlers.

Now, I must emphasize that every airline has its own set of policies and services, so it’s essential to do your homework. Check out their website or give their customer service a call to get the most up-to-date information. Believe me, being well-informed can make all the difference in ensuring a smoother and more enjoyable travel experience with your little one.

Entertaining Toddlers During Layovers and Delays

Layovers and delays are an inevitable part of air travel, and when you have a curious and energetic toddler in tow, keeping them entertained and engaged during these moments can make a world of difference. Thankfully, there are plenty of creative ways to make the most of these downtime periods and turn them into fun-filled adventures for your little one. Here are some suggestions to keep your toddler entertained, engaged, and excited during these in-between moments:

  • Seek out play areas: Many airports have designated play areas for children, complete with slides, climbing structures, and interactive games. Take advantage of these spaces and let your toddler burn off some energy while making new friends.
  • Pack a travel-friendly activity bag: Prepare a special bag filled with their favorite toys, coloring books, stickers, and small puzzles. This dedicated activity bag will provide a sense of excitement and keep them engaged during the wait.
  • Take a walk and explore the airport: Turn the airport into an adventure zone by taking leisurely strolls with your toddler. Explore different terminals, look at the planes through the windows, and enjoy people-watching together.
  • Play interactive games: Engage your toddler in interactive games like “I Spy” or “Simon Says” to keep their mind stimulated and have some fun together. These games can be played while waiting in the terminal or even during walks through the airport.
  • Read stories or tell tales: Bring along a selection of their favorite books or tell them stories using your imagination. This is a great way to create a cozy and intimate moment while also sparking their imagination.
  • Use technology wisely: If you’re comfortable with screen time, load a tablet or smartphone with educational apps or their favorite shows to keep them entertained. Use headphones to avoid disturbing other travelers and set time limits to ensure a healthy balance.
  • Bring out the snacks: Have a variety of healthy snacks on hand to satisfy their hunger and keep them occupied. Snack time can also be an opportunity for them to try new foods or engage in fun, food-related activities like making their own snack mix.
  • Create a scavenger hunt: Come up with a mini scavenger hunt using items or landmarks within the airport. This game will not only keep them entertained but also encourage observation and exploration.
  • Play with travel-sized toys: Pack a few small, travel-sized toys that are easy to carry and can provide hours of entertainment. Think mini puzzles, building blocks, or magnetic drawing boards.
  • Take advantage of airport services: Some airports offer family-friendly services such as children’s lounges, art activities, or even temporary access to airport lounges with more amenities. Check with airport information desks or online resources for any available services.

Flexibility and a positive attitude are key when dealing with layovers or delays. Embrace the opportunity to create special moments with your toddler and turn what could be seen as a hindrance into a memorable part of your travel experience.

Managing Jet Lag in Toddlers

When it comes to toddlers, jet lag can throw a wrench into even the most carefully planned adventures. Here are some tips to help you tackle jet lag like a pro and ensure a smoother transition for your little one. I’ve put together an in-depth post covering everything you need to know about toddler jet lag. Here are a few of the main points:

  • Adjust your toddler’s sleep schedule to align with the destination time zone: Gradually shift their bedtime and wake-up time, about 15-30 minutes earlier or later each day, depending on the direction of travel. This will help their bodies adapt to the new time zone more easily and reduce the shock of sudden changes.
  • Expose your little one to natural light as much as possible during the day, both before and during the journey: Natural light helps regulate their internal body clock and signals their brain to stay awake during daylight hours. Take them outside for walks, play in well-lit areas, or sit by a window to soak up that sunlight. And if you’re traveling to a different time zone, encourage your toddler to spend time outdoors during daylight hours to help them adjust.
  • Maintain a consistent routine during the journey that mimics your toddler’s usual daily routine: Stick to their regular meal times, nap times, and bedtime rituals as closely as possible. This sense of familiarity and routine can provide comfort and stability in an unfamiliar environment and help your little one feel more grounded amidst the time zone changes.
  • Encourage your toddler to sleep during the flight if it aligns with their regular sleep schedule: If it’s nighttime at your destination, create a cozy sleep environment with their favorite blanket or stuffed animal and dim the lights. If it’s daytime, engage them in activities to keep them awake and entertained. Keeping them on their regular sleep schedule as much as possible during the flight can help minimize the disruption to their internal body clock.

Remember, jet lag affects everyone differently, and it may take a few days for your toddler to fully adjust to the new time zone. Be patient and understanding as they acclimate to the changes. Offer comfort, reassurance, and plenty of love during this transition period.

Airplane Essentials When Traveling With a Toddler

When traveling with a toddler on a plane, your carry-on bag becomes a magic sack of entertainment, comfort, and survival. Some key items include 

  • Snacks: Always pack enough to keep your toddler satisfied throughout the flight.
  • Toys: These can be a great distraction during takeoff, landing, or when they just need a change of pace.
  • A change of clothes: Accidents can happen at any time, especially during long-haul flights.
  • Wipes: For quick cleanups or refreshing your toddler during the journey.
  • Comfort item: Whether it’s a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, this can be a great source of comfort in a new environment.
  • Medicine: Always pack any necessary medication your toddler might need during the flight.
  • Extra diapers: You never know how many you might need, so it’s better to overpack than underpack in this case.

Activities for Toddlers on Airplanes

When it comes to long flights with a toddler, creative entertainment is key. From traditional toys to interactive books, you want to ensure that your little one remains engaged and comfortable during the flight. Here are some ideas:

  • Interactive books: These can stimulate your toddler’s curiosity and keep them entertained for a good amount of time.
  • Sticker sets: A simple solution that’s lightweight, compact, and offers plenty of fun. Let their imagination soar with story creation!
  • Favorite toys: Bringing a couple of their favorite toys can provide a sense of familiarity and comfort.
  • Tablet: If you’re open to a bit of screen time, pre-load a tablet with your toddler’s favorite shows or games. Think of this as your last resort for those “I’m bored” moments.

Airplane Food for Toddlers

When it comes to feeding your toddler during a plane trip, the key is to provide a variety of healthy, mess-free, and convenient options. Here are some foods that are perfect for the journey:

toddler eating a healthy snack on a plane
  • Finger sandwiches: Use fillings like cream cheese and cucumber or ham and cheese for a simple, easy-to-eat option.
  • Sliced fruits: Think portable fruits like bananas, apples, or grapes. They’re refreshing, nutritious, and won’t cause much mess.
  • Vegetable sticks: Sliced cucumber, bell peppers, or carrots paired with a delicious dip like hummus can make for a great snack.
  • Cheese cubes: These are easy to pack and most toddlers enjoy them. They’re also a good source of protein.
  • Mini muffins: Whether they’re homemade or store-bought, mini muffins can be a great treat for your little one.
  • Crackers: Opt for whole-grain versions for a healthier option.
  • Yogurt tubes: These are less messy than regular yogurt containers and can be frozen ahead of time to keep them cool.
  • Dry cereal: A ziplock bag of your toddler’s favorite cereal can be a lifesaver during the flight.

Potty Breaks on the Plane

Navigating the tiny airplane bathrooms with a toddler is an adventure in itself. If your toddler is potty trained, prepare them for the experience ahead of time, so it’s not so intimidating. For younger toddlers, consider using a diaper for the flight to avoid juggling the airplane bathroom altogether.

Despite our best efforts, potty emergencies happen, especially when you’re up in the sky with a toddler. Pack a change of clothes in your carry-on, and don’t forget a plastic bag for any soiled clothing.

Safety While Flying with a Toddler

Ensuring your toddler’s safety is of utmost importance when flying. Whether you’re considering lap travel or buying a separate seat for your toddler, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each.

Lap Travel vs Buying a Seat for Your Toddler

While children under the age of two can travel for free on most airlines when sitting on an adult’s lap, this may not be the safest or most comfortable option, especially for long-haul flights. Having a separate seat for your toddler not only provides more space but also allows you to secure them in a car seat, which is recommended by the FAA.

Car Seat: If you decide to purchase a separate seat, bringing your car seat on the plane can help keep your toddler safe and comfortable. Ensure it is labeled as certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.

Seat Bed: Another option is using an inflatable airplane bed or seat extender. These devices allow your toddler to stretch out and sleep more comfortably during the flight. Check with your airline for their policy on these products.

Understanding Toddler Needs and Behaviors During Travel

Traveling with a toddler can be  as exciting as unwrapping a surprise gift! Yes, our little ones are bundles of surprises with their abundant energy and ever-evolving emotions. But don’t worry, that’s where the magic lies. By understanding their needs during travel, we can make the journey smoother, enjoyable, and full of lovely memories.

Here are a few important things to remember:

  • Toddlers are creatures of habit: They cherish routine and predictability. Travel can disrupt this, making them feel anxious.
  • The unfamiliar environment, change in routine, and long periods of inactivity can be overwhelming for them. Bear this in mind while planning your itinerary.
  • The curious little explorers that they are, toddlers love to move around. Being cooped up in a car or airplane seat for hours can be a challenge.
  • Plan your trip keeping in mind your toddler’s regular eating and sleeping schedules. Try to align your travel times accordingly. This small step can make a huge difference!
  • Pack comfort items: That favorite stuffed animal or blanket they never part with can ease any travel-induced anxiety. Don’t forget them!
  • Remember, toddlers have fleeting attention spans. Carry a variety of toys, games, and snacks to keep them entertained throughout.
  • Finally, relax the rules a little. If a bit of extra screen time or a special travel-only toy keeps your little one content and peaceful, it’s worth it!

Preparing Toddlers Mentally for the Trip

Talk to your toddler about where you’re going, what they’ll see, and what they’ll do. Read them books about travel, or show them pictures and videos of your destination and the mode of travel you’ll be using. This can help them understand what to expect, build excitement, and reduce any fear or anxiety.

Reassure your toddler that it’s okay to feel upset or overwhelmed, and that you’ll be there with them throughout the journey. Practice deep-breathing exercises or calming techniques with your toddler. These tools can be very helpful if they become upset during the trip.

Remember, the key to successful travel with a toddler is to expect the unexpected and stay flexible. Be patient, stay positive, and remember to enjoy the journey through your toddler’s eyes. After all, seeing the world anew through their perspective is part of the joy of traveling with kids.

Importance of Keeping Cleaning Essentials Handy

If there’s one thing we parents know, it’s that messes and toddlers go hand in hand. So, it’s crucial to keep cleaning essentials handy during your travel. Think baby wipes, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, disposable bags (for diaper disposal or motion sickness), and a small towel. These items are your best friends when it comes to cleaning up spilled snacks, sanitizing hands before meals, or tackling a diaper change on the go.

Another trick I’ve learned is to carry a compact change of clothes for your toddler within easy reach, because spills and accidents can and will happen at the most inconvenient times. A fresh set of clothes can quickly resolve the situation and prevent discomfort.

Traveling with a toddler can be a wild ride, but with comfort and convenience as your priorities, you’ll be better prepared to handle any situation. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll make the journey much more enjoyable for both you and your toddler. After all, happy toddler equals happy travel!

And there you have it – your handy guide to traveling with a toddler! Whether you’re revving up for a road trip or soaring the skies, you now have an arsenal of tried-and-true tips to keep things smooth and stress-free.

Let’s recap quickly:

  • Prepare well, pack smart, and keep your toddler’s comfort and safety paramount, whether on land or in the air.
  • Fill your arsenal with a variety of activities to keep your little one entertained and engaged during the journey. Remember, variety is key!
  • Be proactive about food and potty breaks. Pack nutritious, toddler-friendly snacks and prepare for potty emergencies.
  • Pay attention to car and airplane safety protocols, and ensure your child’s car seat is properly installed and fastened.
  • Remember the importance of familiar comfort objects to soothe your child during the trip.
  • Lastly, keep those cleaning essentials at arm’s reach because, well, toddlers!

But here’s the most crucial point of all – keep your sense of humor and adventure. Traveling with a toddler can be unpredictable, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. Each hiccup is a story to tell, each tiny triumph a memory to cherish.

Remember, you’re not just hauling luggage and a toddler. You’re building experiences, crafting stories, and making memories that will last a lifetime. Embrace the adventure that is traveling with your toddler. Buckle up, take off, and enjoy the ride. You’ve got this!

Traveling with Toddlers FAQ

There's no "perfect" age for travel. Yes, traveling with toddlers can have its challenges, but it's also filled with special moments and can be very rewarding. If you're prepared and flexible, it can be a blast!
Bring a "surprise bag" with small new toys, books, and snacks. Some parents swear by letting their toddlers watch their favorite cartoons or play games on a tablet. But don't forget, walking the aisles (when it's allowed) can be a big adventure too!
A good rule of thumb is to pack a day's worth of essentials. Think diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, snacks, and a water bottle. A favorite blanket or stuffed animal can provide comfort.
It depends on where you're going and what you'll be doing. If you're going to be renting a car or taking taxis a lot, it might be a good idea. Some airlines allow you to bring a car seat onboard, too.
Most airlines allow you to check your stroller at the gate right before you board and it's usually free of charge. This means you can use it right up until you board the plane. Double-check with your airline though, rules can vary.
Pre-packaged snacks, fruit that doesn't need refrigeration (like apples or bananas), and sandwiches are generally good choices. Remember, security rules apply to baby food and liquids too, so check the latest regulations.
Look for family-friendly hotels that provide amenities like cribs, kitchenettes, and laundry services. A hotel close to attractions can reduce travel time. Also, a pool or play area can be a real lifesaver!
Try to gradually adjust your toddler's sleep schedule a few days before you leave. Once you're there, get lots of daylight and follow local meal and sleep times as closely as possible. It might take a few days, but hang in there! Here's more info on jet lag and toddlers.
Try to bring some of your toddler's favorite non-perishable foods with you. Look for familiar foods on menus. But remember, travel is about trying new things, so encourage them to try local foods too!
Once you arrive, do a quick sweep for potential hazards. Cover outlets, move dangerous items out of reach, check for loose cords or curtain pulls. A roll of painter's tape can come in handy for a quick fix.
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Marianne, a mom of four, shares her journey from cloth diapers to parenting young adults on She offers practical advice, personal stories, and a supportive community. Join in as we navigate the beautiful wave of motherhood together!