Travelling with a toddler can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it does come with its own set of challenges and worries. From knowing what to pack, packing enough, and thinking about how to keep them entertained – there’s so much to think about when it comes to travelling with a toddler.
Here are my 5 top tips for making your travel journey as stress-free and trouble-free as possible.
# 1 Create a Travel Packing List
Get started early – like a month before you go – so you have plenty of time to think about what you may need to get.
Make a list of all the things you’ll need to pack for your toddler. From the essentials such as nappies, wipes and any medication, to their favourite cuddly, books and spare clothes. Then when it comes to packing, you can tick off your list as you’re going – that way you won’t forget anything.
What I like to do, is when I see our toddler playing with his favourite toys, I write them down on the list. For example, when he’s playing with his tablet, I remember I need to take his headphones too – so I write them down as well as a note to charge them before we go!
Remember to take spare clothes for your little one – as well as for you. You can guarantee the day you don’t take a spare top is the day a juice carton will be squeezed all over you! That’s definitely my luck anyway!
#2 Pack Comfort Items and Activities for Toddler
Toddlers will be happier on the trip if they have familiar items with them. Think about including items such as soft blankets, favourite stuffed animals or a comfort object.
Make sure to pack plenty of activities which they can do while travelling. I was once told that you need a new activity for every 20 mins of the journey! Maybe that’s a bit much if you are travelling for a few days! I’d suggest rotating activities such as colouring books, small jigsaws, playdough and stickers.
I love our magnetic tin with magnetic astronaut pieces inside. You can get different versions of these, there are loads to choose from on Amazon.
Or you could even create your own with a metal lunch box and a few alphabet, number and animal fridge magnets. Playdough and cutters are another good activity to place in a lunch box.
Giving a toddler their own backpack with their activities inside will give them the independence of choosing what they want to play with – make sure it’s not too heavy for them to carry though.
#3 Use packing cubes for your clothes
Packing cubes are a great way to organize clothes for little ones and keep them from becoming too disorganized. I pack a cube for each person, or if 1 cube isn’t enough, maybe get different coloured cubes for each person. That way you know whose clothes are who and can access them quickly.
I know some people even plan and pack the clothes into days – day 1 clothes in one cube, day 2 clothes in another etc. Even sandwich bags are great for daily packing. I used this tip when packing my hospital bag when pregnant – each sandwich bag had a different size baby outfit.
After the clothes have been worn and are dirty, I put them into a separate cube ( I mix everyone’s clothes in this ‘dirty’ cube). Not only does it keep the clean and dirty clothes separate, but it’s much easier when we get home as I know which cube(s) are the dirty ones that need a wash.
# 4 Talk About the Travelling Ahead of Time
When travelling with a toddler, talking about it in advance will help them tremendously. By talking about the journey and what to expect, your toddler will be aware of what will happen – hopefully, there won’t be any surprises along the way.
Maybe you could discuss any possible changes that could happen; delays etc. Then it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise for your little ones if changes did happen.
If possible, try to stick to the usual bedtime and eating times in order to keep them comfortable on their travels. Keeping up routines helps promote good behaviour and make your trip smoother. But I know this is much easier said than done!
#5 Don’t Forget to Pack Snacks
Remember to bring snacks that are easy to eat so kids can feed themselves, like dried fruit, rice cakes, cereal bars, and crackers. Avoid anything that is overly messy or requires too many utensils—it will be hard for them to manage.
I put a few of them in his little toddler backpack, so again, he has some independence to pick something if he’s hungry. I also keep some extra snacks in my bag, as well as hiding the backup chocolate!
Why not place some snacks into pill dispensers? These are great for separating the snacks as well as keeping your toddler entertained in opening and closing each section.
Also, make sure you take plenty of drinks for your little one if you’re flying – air travel tends to be dehydrating.
I like to take the small concentrated bottle of squash – you know the tinnie tiny ones that are about 70ml. You can take them with you on a flight as they are under 100ml. Make sure to place them in a clear bag for security. More often than not, there is a water fountain in the terminal that I refill our water bottles and put some squash in it.
So, there are my 5 top tips for travelling with a toddler. We’ve done quite a bit of travelling with our toddler since moving to the Czech Republic. We learn something new each time, or find a new hack, or encounter a new difficult situation!
It’s all a learning curve!
Let me know if you find some of these tips for travelling with a toddler useful, if you have tried them and if they were they are a success, or if you have other tips that we could try out.