Traveling with a toddler can be both exciting and challenging. They have boundless energy, a curious mind, and a tendency to get bored quickly, which makes it essential to plan ahead. After traveling around the world with Max, I’ve come up with a few tips to help make your trip with a toddler more manageable and enjoyable.
Pack the essentials, such as diapers, wipes, extra clothes, snacks, and a few toys. Also, consider bringing a stroller.
Not only should you pack these essentials, but they should be carried aboard with you. There’s nothing worse than your toddler having a poop accident and sitting in it for hours and hours on the plane because you forgot to bring an extra pair of pants on the plane with you.
Schedule Your Flights Wisely
Try to book flights during your toddler’s usual nap or bedtime, as they will likely sleep for a significant part of the flight. If possible, choose a direct flight, which will minimize the number of times you have to get your toddler in and out of their seat.
During a recent trip to Dubai, we flew overnight from Dallas to Dubai on an Emirates flight that was 16 hours. Max slept for almost ten hours of the flight and woke up refreshed. It was the longest flight we ever took yet it was one of the best flights yet.
Pack Food and Drinks
Pack plenty of snacks and drinks for your toddler. Consider buying a refillable water bottle and packing a few juice boxes or pouches.
Toddlers can be picky when it comes to food. If they don’t have the exact same snacks as they have at home, they might choose not to eat at all, which leads to a hungry, cranky kid.
Make sure to pack enough food and snacks to get you through layovers and delays.
Toddlers have a short attention span, so it’s crucial to plan activities to keep them entertained. Bring small toys, books, and coloring books, and take advantage of airport play areas and inflight entertainment systems.
We always bring a media device for Max and fill it with his favorite shows and games. While we have restrictions on media time at home, we let him watch as much as he likes during travel.
Be Prepared for Meltdowns
Toddlers can get cranky and throw tantrums, so be patient and have some strategies in place to calm them down. Some parents find it helpful to have a change of clothes, a pacifier, or a favorite toy on hand.
I always say that you need to accept that at some point you are going to be the parent with the screaming child. That’s ok. It will pass. (And if it takes a long time for it to pass, you most likely won’t see most of the other travelers ever again so forget about it.)
Bring a Child Carrier
As a travel writer and a parent, I know firsthand how challenging it can be to travel with a toddler. They’re full of energy and curiosity, but their little legs tire quickly, making it difficult to explore all the sights and sounds of a new destination. That’s why I always recommend bringing a child backpack carrier on trips with young children.
Our favorite choice for toddlers is The Freeloader Child Carrier. It’s designed for children aged 2.5 to 6 years and can accommodate up to 80 pounds. It will keep your toddler safe and secure while allowing you to explore more.
Allow for Flexibility
Toddlers are unpredictable, so it’s essential to allow for extra time and to be flexible. If your flight is delayed or you get lost, try to stay calm and find a way to keep you both distracted.