10 Expert Tips for Traveling with Toddlers

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With the holidays upon us, you might be planning your holiday to go visit friends and family or go on a vacation. If you have a toddler you might be a little stressed about traveling with them, but we have you covered with these expert tips when it comes to traveling with toddlers

10 Tips for Traveling with Toddlers

Traveling with toddlers on an airplane can be a little overwhelming. What if your toddler wakes up cranky? What if they start screaming on the plane? And what if they have the dreaded accident?

These tips will help your holiday travels be smooth sailing and get your trip off to a great start!

#1 Book a Direct Flight

Book a Direct Flight

If at all possible book a direct flight. This allows you to get on the plane and get settled. There is no getting everything out to only have to pack it up and race through the airport to the next flight and do it all over again. 

If a direct flight is not possible, book a flight that has a longer layover. This allows you to eat a meal and let your toddler run around and get some energy out in the airport before taking off and having to sit in a seat again. 

#2 Preboard


Take advantage of preboarding. This gives you time to drop off your items that you are gate checking, get in your seat, strap in the car seat (if you are taking one) get out a few items to entertain your toddler, and put your bags in the overhead bin as well as under the seat in front of you. 

#3 Gate Check Stroller

Gate Check Stroller
Source: thebabytutor.com

Take advantage of gate check, especially with your stroller. Gate checking allows you to use your stroller in all the airports for your toddler and help hold your carryon bags. It is simply a lifesaver with young kids!

It is simple to gate check strollers. You just get a gate check tag from the airline’s customer service representative and then wheel it down to the plane. Right before you get on the plane you drop it by the gate door to outside by the plane. 

The airline will then grab it, and place it under the plane. When you arrive at your next airport (even with a layover) they will bring it back to the same location at the next airport and you can use it in the airport rather than trying to carry a toddler and all your carryons. 

If you do have a layover and are switching planes you will need to get a new gate check tag at the next airport. 

#4 Bring Extra Diapers/ Underwear 

Extra Diapers

Always bring extra diapers and underwear in your carryon bag. You never know if they will have an accident. When I was flying with my toddler recently I literally had just taken him to the bathroom and no more than 5 minutes later he announced to me that he had an accident.

Thankfully I had extra underwear that we were able to change them quickly before boarding our flight. 

Be sure to bring extra bags to hold the soiled underwear or just toss them in the trash if you don’t want to worry about carrying them with you for the rest of your travels. 

#5 Change of clothes

Change of clothes

Along with extra diapers and underwear, bring at least 2 changes of clothes. Again, you never know if they will have an accident or even spill a drink or food on their clothes. 

It is always better to be overprepared than underprepared when traveling with toddlers. 

#6 Lollipops


Pack Lollipops! Even if you don’t normally give your toddler sweets, lollipops can be your best friend when traveling with toddlers. 

  • Lollipops help relieve pressure in their ears as they suck on them. 
  • They also help them to stay a little quieter because they have something in their mouth. 
  • It is a great bribe when you need it most on the flight!

#7 Bring Entertainment

Source: verywellfamily.com

You want to make sure to pack plenty of items that will entertain your toddler. I always recommend packing books and other activities that will help keep your toddler in their seat. Not only that but you want to try and entertain them with quiet activities.

Try color books, beading activities, vinyl clings that they can stick on the window, reusable sticker books, etc. 

I always buy a few new toys when traveling because new toys always keep them busier than ones they have had forever. 

#8 Snacks & Drinks

Snacks for kids

Snacks, snacks, and more snacks are key! Toddlers love to eat, so pack them all their favorites. Make it easier on you by picking up prepacked options at the grocery store so you don’t have to worry about carrying bigger sized snacks. 

Snacks can really be your saving grace on the plane, especially when your toddler starts getting restless. 

If you are traveling with a toddler most airports in the United States will let you bring a sippy cup through security. They will have to do some additional screening on it, but at least your child will have their favorite drink to enjoy while on the plane.

I think it is well worth the key extra minutes in security so I don’t have to hunt down a drink upstairs. 

#9 Choose times wisely

Choose times wisely

Choose flight times wisely. You don’t want to book flights that fall in the middle of naptime unless your toddler can sleep anywhere. I always try to pick flights that are in the morning or after naptime.

It is easier to feed your toddler on the plane than have a cranky toddler because they are exhausted because they missed their nap time. 

#10 Use Screens

use screens
Source: verywellfamily.com

Screens might not be a normal activity for your toddler, but it might be your saving grace on the plane. Download some movies and some toddler-friendly apps to your device to help entertain them in a pinch if they are needed. 

Bonus Tip: Be flexible

The most important thing when traveling with toddlers is to be flexible. Things might not go as planned. You might have to be a little more lenient when it comes to screentime, and you might give them candy when you try to steer clear of sweets, but it is all worth it if it makes them happy while flying. 

Do you have more expert tips when traveling with toddlers? Share in the comments below!

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