We are fortunate enough to work with the best parents and we want to help you by sharing their secrets. Each Monday, we will launch a new blog series, sharing a post with our most admiral mommas. We take a moment to celebrate their highest achievement and share their best, most anticipated tips + tricks for successful days ahead.
You walk onto a plane and immediately get the glare, the eye rolls and you know what people are thinking: no one is getting any peace + quiet with that toddler. It's downright intimidating: I've been there. However, traveling has always been a passion of mine and now Estelle’s. We’ve put together the best tips and travel hacks for a seamless adventure with a toddler. We've been fortunate enough to travel within Australia and overseas both driving and flying, so I've had my fair share of practice to figure out ways that work best for Estelle + me. The key in the proper execution is in the preparation.
THE PREPARATION | (the week before)
1. Hype Them Up: Something that may be so simple to us may be very overwhelming for little children, including the first time (or second time) on an airplane. Make your children aware of what is happening and encourage them that they are going to have lots of fun.
2. Create His/Her Own Travel Kit: Creating a bag just for them gives a toddler both a special reward as well as a certain amount of responsibility during travel. This (small, easy-to-hold) backpack is perfect for travel by plane and by car. You can spend time packing with them the week prior so they can feel satisfied + excited when they finally get to open, eat and play with everything in their bag.
- Snacks: Let them pack their favorite fruit snack or cracker they get to open + eat as a reward once they get on the plane or in the car and buckled in.
- Coloring Book + Sticker Book: I would recommend to not take their favorite toys or books from home; instead, head to the nearest $1 store grab some little toys you know they would love and you would not mind if the toys went missing.
- Crayons: Pick up crayons or colored pencils because markers can make a hell of a mess.
3. Create Your Own Essentials Bag: the less, the better. Let’s be honest- who wants to lug a bag around of things we may not need? Keep hand luggage light and try not to over pack. Here's what you need:
- Travel Documents (+ extra copies): Keep your passport, license and a copy of baby’s birth certificate in a safe space. And, add an extra copy somewhere else just incase (even if it's saved as a PDF on your phone!).
- Snacks, snacks and more snacks: I must admit this was one of my first wrongs when we first travelled with Estelle when she got older. Estelle has always been a pretty good eater, so I presumed she would eat the food on the plane. But, nope- totally wrong. She got a snack bar so you can image what was going through my head: “this poor kid must be starving”. I was right and I heard it the rest of the trip. So, make sure you pack a whole heap of snacks that you know your child will eat. If you are going to another country pack extra snacks for the entire time you are there. You will have peace of mind knowing you have something your child eat plus you will save money + time on your end!
- Toys: Entertainment is key! Pack a special surprise toy: not only does it give you some quite time to think but it makes that time go a little quicker for your little ones. When we recently went to Japan I packed some playdoh and figurines in a lunch box it created hours of entertainment. Don’t be afraid to bribe, I packed some little surprise toys which I used as a good leverage when she started to get restless and they worked a treat.
- A change of clothes: Bring a set of PJs if it’s an overnight flight.
- "Mom" Supplies: Pack your wipes, travel-sized hand sanitizer, and even an empty water bottle so you can fill it up when you get past security.
- A reading book or iPad: While your kid is busy playing or snacking, you can try to get some work done or maybe even find time to enjoy yourself!
- Comfort blanket: Airplanes and airports can get so chilly and you want to be prepared to keep your little comfy if they start to fall asleep.
THE EXECUTION | (the day of)
Be Positive: Ever since Estelle was born, I have always lived by, “the way you act is the way someone will react”. I always find that if I’m flustered or moody Estelle would misbehave or have the dreaded tantrum. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but always remember to keep positive and reset your mindset if you feel uptight or anxious. Your kids can feel that. This is one of the fundamental tips that has helped us immensely when traveling that no one talks about.
We are often so hard on our self to make sure our children are “good”, especially when it comes to travel. Just take every moment as it comes and remember not everyone is perfect and neither are our children. There has been many times where I have thought “this is too hard and stressful”, but we all have to keep positive cause WE GOT THIS and keep making those special memories. I hope these tips can help and encourage all the parents out there as a guide for traveling with toddlers. Happy Traveling!
To follow more of my journey, follow me on Instagram at @adele_samuel. I’d love to hear your best tips + tricks so I can incorporate them on my next adventure! What's a necessity for you? Leave your comments in the section below!
I love these tips! STICKERS could keep E happy on a 12hour flight if I let her put them all over her seat and her Dad lol. These are excellent! Thank you for sharing. We probably have been on over 6 international flights and we still haven’t been as executed as the list above, but now we know =) (I especially like the surprise travel toy! Great idea!)
We travel often, too. Tips are on point and we use a lot. I need tips on to “not over pack” lol 😝
Thank you for sharing such great tips! Travelling with my small kids always gives me anxiety as I am unsure of how they will behave on the plane. Will be using some of these on our next trip!
Agree with all these tips! I have two toddlers (age 2 and 3) and they’ve been on 16 flights this year alone. Those stranger glares before the flights are the worst (but then hearing them applaud your kids at the end of the flight for being so well behaved never gets old) Lol. Some tips I would add is if the kids have any favorite shows on Netflix, download different episodes on different devices so they have them readily available. Also, for longer flights, try to request children’s meals ahead of time (if offered). I find my kids will eat more of what’s in those meals then the adult meals and they give added snacks and fruits as well. Finally, see if you can request the “bulkhead seats” on the plane! Hate worrying about the kids kicking the chairs in front of us plus it gives them so much extra space to move round and play. When we get them, we’ll usually lay the airline blanket on the floor (since we also bring our own blanket) and let them play with their toys or color on the floor.
I need all these tips!! Love the bribe tip and bringing your own snacks, as I assumed there would be plenty for the kids to eat on the plane. These are great not only for plane trips but for our long road trips that we take as well. With the one year old I actually need these for our daily run to the shops too haha.
We take a lot of road trips and we move to different states often as well due to military. We used some of these tricks too. Snacks was always a hit on road trips. And play doh was a hit on a plane. We’ll definitely try out ones you talked about that we haven’t tried. Awesome blog post!
Love it! We also travel often, I agree with all the tips!
These are some great tips that I will definitely be using next time I travel!! I also made the snack mistake the first time we went on a plane & never again!!!
Oh, love the tips!! They are spot on and this traveling Mommy will definitely put them to use. Thank you for helping a fellow Mommy out!!
Such great tips even this grandma could use for the grandchildren. I’ll keep these and mind when traveling with my grand babies . Thank you for sharing these.
So much yes! We’ve been travelling with our 3 year old since she was a month old and I totally agree with all these tips!
Such great traveling trips!! We try to take a trip, at least once a month, and these are some of the tricks I use as well. We all know how stressful it can be to travel with littles but with awesome tips and tricks like these, future adventures can be flawlessly executed with no eye rolls from strangers and tears from not the kids and Mama. hehe Thanks for sharing.