Traveling with a Toddler

I have always loved traveling. When I had Turner, I prayed that he would love it too. I heard horror stories of kids who hated flying and even sat next to one or two in my travels. Whether it was fear or their poor little ears bothering them, I hoped my Kiddo didn’t have the same reaction.

When Turner was 6-8 months old he had non-stop ear infections. We were in the process of planning our first trip to Florida to visit my grandparents and my fear was he would be one of the screaming babies I sat behind so many times before. Between that and constantly being on antibiotics, I didn’t hesitate when the doctor said he needed tubes in his ears. A few weeks later, we boarded our first plane together to head to Florida.

I had read so many articles and talked to people who had traveled with toddlers before, all of which prepared me for the first experience. I was so excited to take T to a new place and start showing him the world! Since then, we have traveled quite a bit (I’ll tell you all about our trips, don’t worry!). He quickly become an expert, enjoys it as much as I do and is my favorite person to travel with.

Here are some that have worked for us in making Turner a great traveler:

1. Show your excitement not your nerves.

Of course I was nervous traveling alone with an 11-month-old. I had NO idea how he would react. I did know, however, that kids sense your fear and tension. I figured if I showed him how excited I was he would share my excitement. For weeks before we left I talked about how much fun we were going to have to build excitement, not fear.

2. Make them a part of the process.

I know that 11-months-old is very young but it’s amazing how much he understood. I bought him a toy airplane, showed him how it worked and explained we would be going on one in order to get to Florida. I let him help pack. He watched me put clothes into a suitcase (p.s. this is the best suitcase I have ever owned) and threw in his toys and his blankie to “help”.

3. Pack snacks. Lots and lots of snacks!

It’s funny how distracting eating can be. And how quiet they can be when their mouths are full! Snacks are still a big part of our travel routine and can help pass the time. You can also use the less healthy snacks as treats for good behavior.

4. Plan out some activities.

Whether it’s coloring, reading, action figures, playing on the iPad or all of the above, playing games together on the plane can give you lots of scream-free bonding time!

5. You are not the first and won’t be the last parent to fly with a child.

If your kiddo isn’t the best flyer, it’s okay! Plenty of people fly with kids who don’t love the experience. Most passengers completely understand if there is a baby who is upset on the flight because it happens all the time! And if there’s one that isn’t, chances are they will get over it and you will never see them again.

Regardless of how your babe behaves on the plane, know that eventually, you land and it will all be over!

Tell me your travel tips! I’d love to hear how you manage traveling with your kiddos.


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