Traveling with a Toddler

Hey guys!

Hope you guys are having an awesome start to your September! Our September has hit the ground running with a bathroom renovation, a work trip for my hubby, and a trip to California.  My husband and I, both, have family in California, specifically grandparents.  We wanted to take a quick trip to take the munchkin out to meet her great grandparents for the first time.  This equaled flying to San Francisco then driving to Cupertino, then flying to LA and driving out to Hemet then driving down to San Diego.  Phew!  That’s lots of travel time for adults much less an 18 month-old.  We made it through the weekend with a few meltdowns, but overall she did great!  I wanted to share a few tips we used that helped us immensely, in hopes that they might help other parents traveling with littles.


1.) Snacks

The nuts were for us (obvs) but the carrots were perfect travel snacks!

We brought all the snacks.  Madeleine is a really good eater, so she’ll almost always eat when offered food.  This means, it’ll distract her from missing a nap or being forced to sit on our laps and not walk around for 2+ hours.

Here are a few snacks we brought:

– Craisins

  • She actually wasn’t very interested in these, surprisingly

– Graham crackers

  • These were a big hit, and we, admittedly, didn’t bring enough because they were gone wayyy too quickly into the first flight

– Animal crackers

  • These were a big hit as well because we also played with them a little.  Went through each animal and made the noise and made them walk, etc.  Every minute entertained is worth it on a flight!

– Carrots

  • Tried to include a healthy veggie that didn’t need to be refrigerated.  It also takes her a while to eat one baby carrot, so it took up more of the flight time.

– Tortilla chips

  • Something salty so she’d be thirsty on take off and landing….which leads me into the next point


2.) Drink (through a straw) at the right time

This one is a biggie because kids don’t know how to automatically pop their ears during take off and landing.  We made the mistake on a flight a few months ago, by not making sure she drank out of a straw at the right time and her ears never popped on the descent.  This meant 30 minutes of straight screaming….yep, we were ‘those’ people on the flight.  So much screaming led us to make sure we brought something she would drink.  We don’t give her juice very often because of the sugar content, but she loves it.  This is a great option because most kids love it and will drink it when offered.  We also tried to make her extra thirsty by giving her tortilla chips (which she also loves) and then holding off offering her the juice until about 30 seconds after we took off.  Once we started offering her juice she drank throughout the rest of the ascent.  We followed the same method for the descent, and gave her first drink about 25-30 minutes before landing.  We used a simple kids’ water bottle with a straw to make sure she really had to suck to get the juice out, and more suction means better ear popping.


3.) New toys

I don’t know about your toddlers, but my sweet little girl does not like to sit still.  She’s always moving from toy to toy, and gets bored easily.  Bringing new toys on a trip peaks her interest and gives us a longer time where she will sit still.  I brought a new coloring book along with coloring pencils and new stickers.


4.) New books

Such sweetness

This tip goes hand in hand with #3.  My little one LOVES books.  It was her first word and we are constantly reading books to her each and every day.  Before we fly, I always bring a few of her favorite books as well as a couple new ones.  We may need to read them 593 times, but if that means she’s happy and not screaming on the plane, we’re fine with it!


5.) Walking around time whenever possible

Exploring the airport…

This tip was a new one on this most recent trip because we now have a walker.  On our last trip, we only had a crawler which meant she didn’t mind being held and snuggled.  However, now we have a walker who does not like to be constrained in any form (even in a swing!).  We noticed after day one that she needed ‘walking around’ time to eliminate meltdowns.  We tried to let her walk around wherever we could.  This meant hotel lobbies, airports, parks, hallways, wherever!  There were days when she (and we) did nothing but sit.  We sat on a plane, then hopped into a car and drove to lunch and sat down at lunch, then hopped back in the car and drove 2 hours, etc.  Any time we could let her walk around, we did.

Stretching our legs after a car ride

This helped on the latter half of the trip (since the first half we didn’t realize she needed so much walking around time) and made for our easiest flight, the one back home.


I hope some of these tips help you with your littles next time you travel!

One last tip…if carrying the carseat on your luggage fails…there’s always your head 😉

Well, that’s one way

Happy Friday!  Hope you guys have a great weekend!



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