Friday, December 21, 2012

Tips and Tricks for Toddler Travels

It's that time of year!  You know, traveling to see family except if you're a parent to a toddler, you are probably stressing about how you're going to keep your little tyke busy on the plane.

We took E to Florida in October and I know for months ahead of the flight I worried, and planned so before you step on that plane, I thought I'd share some of my tips for traveling with a toddler.

Plan ahead

1. Be Techno Ready -  get the iPad or Kindle or whatever technological tool you're planning on taking charged up and loaded with lots of apps.  Make sure you know which apps need WIFI to work and which don't.  On the flight to Hawaii, we had no WIFI so I had to remember which ones he could use. 

Our Favorite Apps:
  • (needs Wifi) - provides clips from all the kids shows available on PBS.  Keeps E busy for hours.
  • Pocoyo (Needs Wifi) - A british kids character.  The app plays the little 3-5 minute episodes.  It does take WIFI but you can also download them to your iPad so they can be accessed without it.
  • Daniel Tiger's World - (Does not need WIFI) - An app that lets kids explore Daniel Tiger's world.  A great interactive app
  • Elmo's ABCs (Does not need WIFI) - Another interactive app that helps kids learn their ABC's.  It has an option to let them trace the letters. 
  • Freshwater HD  (Does not need WIFI) - It's basically a fish tank but it has a choo-choo that drives through it frequently so E loves to watch for it.  You can also feed the fish and play with bubbles.
  • Shapes (Does not need WIFI) - A great interactive app that lets kids learn their shapes.
  • Windosill (Does not need WIFI) - A problem solving app that I originally bought for my husband and I but E has really taken to it.  He loves trying to solve the puzzles. 

2. Snacks, Snacks and Snacks - Variety is key.  We always pack some fruit chews, granola, raisins, and smoothie pouches.  Have it all stashed away in your carry on and bring them out only when necessary.  Also, we took E's cup with us.  That way, when the flight attendant brought drinks, we wouldn't have to worry about spills. 

3. Time Wasters - The dollar store or the dollar isles at Target are the perfect place to shop for these little trinkets.  I think I spent about $10 and got E a plethora of little toys, crayons, games, etc to keep him preoccupied.  In most cases, they may only work for a little while but having variety will keep him busy for a while.  Put each one in a different baggie or wrap it to add to the fun (and time it takes to get to the gift). 

On the plane

1. Make sure all the goodies are at arms reach and not in the overhead.  Depending on where you sit, getting to those treasures might be a challenge. 

2. Create a comfortable feel.  If you're a nervous traveler, try to think as positively as possible.  Kids sense the nervousness and adds to their nervousness.  If your tot has a teddy, blanket, or other lovie, make sure to have them.  I know we will be taking E's super giant teddy and blanket. 

3. Stay cool.  If a meltdown does happen, try to stay cool.  I know that's easier said than done but keeping a level head will keep everyone on the plane at ease.

4. Make sure all the things needed for diaper changes are also at arms length. 

5. Have something to drink ready for take offs and landings.  To help them equalize the pressure in their ears. 

Hopefully those tips will help you have less stressful travel.  Flying with kids doesn't have to be a nightmare if you're prepared.

What are your tips?

Merry Christmas and safe travels!


  1. I think you forgot the adult beverages...those are very important when traveling with toddlers!! :)

    Thanks so much for the ipad app list. I have a new ipad and have no good apps on it for my toddler. I just installed 5 of the ones you suggested and I'm sure my kids will love them. Our next plane flight isn't until March but it will be a long one (going to Mexico) and I'm sure the ipad will help keep everyone entertained!

    1. Totally. Adult beverages are a must and if I wasn't pregnant I'd be all over it. :)

      Hope you like the app

  2. I swear by the app Monkey PreSchool Lunchbox for my boys! I love the app list. I'm looking for a few new ones to keep them or no travel! Great Post!

    1. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll download it.

  3. Love the iPad list of apps! We'll be flying with the kiddos shortly and need all the help we can get. Ditto to the adult beverage comment from Happy Running Mama! ;)

    1. I can't imagine how crazy its gonna be when I have two running around. Can't wait to hear about your travels.

  4. The more chill mama is, usually the easier the whole thing goes. We traveled a LOT with our older kids when they were really little. Have a lovely holiday!

    1. Totally agree. A chill momma is a happymomma and family