It doesn’t matter if it’s your first or hundredth trip- traveling with toddlers is not for the faint-hearted! Everything from what to pack to your arrival can be in a word: stressful.

But, it doesn’t have to be. Save your energy for all of the fun you’re going to have and help minimize your anxiety with these essential tips for traveling with toddlers. 

1. What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

Don’t answer that!

Or, actually, go ahead and answer!

What’s your worst fear? Mega melt-down in the middle of a quiet airplane, or restaurant? Sudden “potty” announcement, with no rest stop for miles? Keep going down the list. It’s an excellent mental exercise for you. Chances are, none of it will happen. But, if they do- you will have already thought up ways to handle them.  

2.  Research

Pebble stones arranged like footprints on the beach

Look up the best family-friendly vacation spots. If you know you are going somewhere tried and true by other families, or where there is an equal amount of noise, you won’t be nearly as apprehensive. 

3. Travel at Bedtime

The greatest benefit of traveling at bedtime is the kids will sleep through some, if not all, of it. And that’s a win for everyone. If you’re flying, you won’t have to fret over disturbing other passengers, and you might even get to squeeze in a nap for yourself. If you’re driving, make sure you can stay awake through the night safely.  

4. Snacks, Snacks, and More Snacks 

school lunch boxes with sandwich and fresh vegetables, bottle of water, nuts and fruits on white wooden background

There could be delays, roadblocks, layovers and who knows what else. Meaning, you might not make lunch or dinner exactly like you planned. All of the toys or carefully calculated distractions in the world won’t be enough to save you from a hangry toddler. If you’re on the road, bring along a cooler. If you’re flying, pack a few dry snacks. And do yourself a solid; toss extras in the bag for yourself, because hangry parents aren’t fun either.  

5. Don’t Underpack Clothes (or Baby Wipes)

There is no such thing as underpacking with a toddler. They are magnets for dirt disaster like no other age group, and it’s because they can’t sit still. They will inevitably find all of the things you don’t want them to touch. Which is why you will be thankful for extra outfits, and lots of them. Same for baby wipes!

6. Make Space to Run it Out 

Happy toddler boy with hat, goggles and wings playing outside in spring nature

Speaking of ants in their pants, find ways to let your toddler get rid of that energy. You’re more likely to encounter tantrums if you attempt to keep them strapped down all day long. Look for large fields and playgrounds at rest stops, or a few trips up and down the airplane aisle should do the trick. 

7. Plan- But Be Flexible

Character breakfasts and dinner shows are fun for the whole crew. But, you don’t have to book up every portion of your trip with activities. Save unplanned time slots for something completely spur of the moment you may encounter, or a little downtime in your hotel. 

8. Be in The Moment 

cute family having fun on the beach

Take photographs! You will look back one day and be glad you did. Just don’t get too caught up in having the perfect set up to flaunt on Social Media. Your kids won’t know- or care- what your family trip looks like to other people. They are simply happy to be with you. So, don’t stay plugged in, and promise to be more in the moment. 

Need tips for traveling with teens?

We’ve got you covered! Check out this post next.

Family With Teenage Children Walking In Countryside