My Top Tips for Traveling with a Toddler
I recently returned from New York, where I made the brave (or crazy) decision to travel ALONE with Emma. Josh flew home with us, but we flew up a few days earlier than him so I had to do the whole ‘travel with a toddler’ thing all by myself! With this being my fourth flight with Emma I wanted to share my personal must-have items that I swear by for traveling with little ones:
My number one tip: STAY CALM and stop worrying about what other people think. Many of the passengers have either had young children or currently have young children so they understand. For those people who don’t understand – WHO CARES?! You have a baby or toddler and you’re doing you’re best to keep them quiet and under control. You’ll never see these people again anyway! Stay focused on yourself and your child 🙂
Purchase a lightweight travel stroller. It will make your life so much easier to not have to deal with a big, heavy stroller in the airport and at the gate. We gate-checked the stroller using this gate check bag (this protects your stroller since they literally throw it under the plane).
Splurge on an extra seat; it’s SO worth the money if you are able to afford it. If it’s a really quick flight this may not be worth the extra money, but for flights longer than 2 or 3 hours I highly recommend getting an extra seat for your little one. Emma still wanted to sit in my lap a lot, but it really helped having the extra space for our stuff (LOTS of stuff) plus gave us more space to stretch out!
During take-off and landing: give your little one something to suck on to help with popping their ears. I recommend the boob if you’re breastfeeding, a bottle or a pacifier. I love this pacifier – it’s bpa-free and made with natural rubber.
Pack LOTS of snacks: Emma could happily snack all day and it keeps her from trying to jump out of my lap on the plane. I make a big batch of my homemade nut-free tahini energy bites (they’re free of all common allergens which is important on a plane plus they’re vegan/gf). Also make sure you and your little one are drinking plenty of water since flying always seems to dehydrate me.
Toys/Activites: We ordered these cheap plane stickers on Amazon and they were a lifesaver – Emma spent over 30 minutes playing with them which was huge! These reusable stickers were also a big hit and this write and wipe book also kept us busy!
iPad: We downloaded a few Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Sesame Street episodes before we left. I recommend these headphones for kids since the plane is so loud it’s difficult to hear the iPad even with the volume turned all the way up.
Bring along a familiar comfort item: having one of Emma’s favorite toys, blankets or stuffed animals makes her so happy plus having a familiar item makes her feel more at home once we arrive at our destination.
Sleep tip for once you arrive at your destination: invest in a portable white noise machine! I usually keep my house very quiet (it’s normally just me at home on weekdays so when Emma naps the house is really quiet). However, at my mom’s house it wasn’t so silent (even though they tried) so I was really glad I brought this white noise machine – Emma slept amazing the entire time!
Mama’s: have you traveled with your little one yet? If so I’d LOVE to hear your top travel tips by leaving a comment below. We have a few more trips planned for this summer too so wish us luck!
I love all your very wise travel tips! I’m sure your parents tried very hard to keep the house quiet-maybe they’ll do better next time you visit. Being a parent of toddlers once, keep remembering this phase will pass too and one day there will be a mini adult next to you very occupied by a movie or whatever and not requiring much attention anymore. The day will come when you’ll sympathetically walk by parents flying with babies/toddlers and be so relieved you’re past that stage. Until then, great advice!!