Vacation Ideas & Tips For Traveling With Toddlers
Are you planning a family vacation with toddlers and worried that you won’t know how to keep kids busy on your trip? Luckily for you, toddlers are easily entertained by the smallest things.
With this guide, you’ll be able to create the perfect low-maintenance, toddler-friendly trip.
Where Is the Best Place to Travel with Toddlers?
Looking for the best family vacations on a budget? No matter what your toddler travel priorities may be, you don’t need to plan something extravagant to have a great trip.
Toddlers are perfect travel companions. They find joy in the little things in life. And honestly, it could do us all some good to slow down and be present. Whether you’re planning a road trip with your little one or book a flight to another state, what’s important is that you’re prepared with all your toddler travel essentials before departure!
Looking for the perfect toddler travel destination? These five toddler-friendly destinations are guaranteed to make the whole family happy:
- San Diego, California – With one of the country’s best zoos, tons of children’s museums, beautiful beaches, safe parks, and great shopping, there’s truly something for everyone. San Diego can be a great trip for both young and old.
- Crystal River, Florida – Known as the “Manatee Capital of the World,” this beach town is quiet, warm, and just a one hour drive from Tampa.
- Jefforsonville, Vermont – If you’re an outdoorsy family, you should find your way to Vermont. There are tons of activities to do in the mountains, and you can visit Smugglers’ Notch Resort, the most kid-friendly resort on the whole East Coast.
- Traverse City, Michigan – Lake Michigan is a fun summer spot with outdoor events, world-famous cherries, and an up-and-coming wine and craft brewing scene.
- Yellowstone, Wyoming – At this national park you’ll find geysers, Yellowstone Lake, Mammoth Hot Springs, hiking trails, and a cute nearby town where you’ll see herds of buffalo nonchalantly crossing the street.
How Do You Fly With a Toddler?
Traveling with toddlers for the first time is stressful. Besides making sure you’ve packed your child’s favorite pacifier and the stuffed animal they refuse to sleep without, you can’t help but worry about your little one’s in-flight behavior. Namely crying for 3 hours.
Try not to let this fear keep you and your family from living your lives. With these useful tips, you can get rid of the extra travel day stress on you and your little one.
Do Babies Need Their Own Seat on a Plane?
For domestic travel, kids under the age of two are considered “lap infants,” which is exactly what it sounds like—you share a seat. Airlines only allow one lap infant per adult, so if you’re flying solo and have more than one child under two with you, you’ll need to buy a ticket for one of them.
Does My 2-Year-Old Need a Car Seat on a Plane?
- While the decision of whether or not to fly with your child in a car seat is totally up to you, it’s the safest way to travel and you should strongly consider it, whether your child is two or younger.
Here’s what the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend—it has less to do with age and more to do with weight:
- Less than 20 pounds – Use a rear-facing car seat
- Between 20 and 40 pounds – Use a forward-facing car seat or Child Aviation Restraint System (CARES), which is suitable for kids age one and up between 22-44 pounds
- Over 40 pounds – Use the airplane seatbelt
These are some other reasons why bringing a car seat is a good idea:
- It’s the perfect on-the-go kid’s chair while waiting at the airport.
- You can ask the gate agents if there are empty seats on the flight—if there are, they can move you so your child (and their car seat) get their own space on the plane for free.
- Car seats and compact folding strollers can be brought on the plane (in addition to your carry-on and personal item) or checked at the gate for free, so you don’t have to hang on to it if you decide you won’t be needing it until you land.
- If you’re worried you’ll have too much to carry, you can easily arrange for someone to help you through the airport.
Car seats need to be FAA-approved (they’ll have a sticker that says “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft”) and should be 16 inches wide or less to make sure they fit nicely in most airplane seats.
When Is the Best Time of Day to Travel With a Toddler?
Some people say that traveling with toddlers should be done during the day so you don’t have to worry about keeping people up, while others would rather run that risk if it means their child may sleep through the flight. But one tip a lot of parents have had success with is scheduling flights around nap times.
By booking your flight so that nap time happens while you’re in the air, you’ll have the best chance of your child sleeping on the plane. You still can’t bank on your child sleeping the whole flight though.
How Can I Keep My Child from Getting Sick on the Plane?
One of the biggest concerns for parents traveling with toddlers is the threat of their cute little kiddo getting sick. Airports and airplanes are full of germs, but there are plenty of ways to protect your young child and you.
These days, airports and airplanes have upped their cleaning techniques, require face masks (except for kids under the age of two), and even installed high-grade HEPA air filters on board. But to be extra safe, here are some things you should do:
- Make a pre-travel doctor’s visit – Depending on where and when you’re traveling, your young child may need to have their routine vaccinations early. Visit the doctor’s office and plan this out ahead of time to avoid fevers, rashes, and other negative reactions during your family vacation—the CDC suggests making this appointment at least one month in advance.
- Pick a window seat – With items falling from overhead bins and service carts passing through the aisle, window seats have always been the safest option for small kids, but now there’s another reason: sitting in a window seat makes you less likely to get sick, according to a study by Emory University.
- Disinfect your space – Fill a small travel organizer bag with anti-bacterial wipes and mini disinfectant spray to clean seats, seatbelts, arm rests, tray tables, and any other high-touch surfaces you can think of—don’t forget to pack hand sanitizer you can use when you’re done.
- BYOCP – Bring Your Own Changing Pad. It’s safe to assume that every changing table you’ll come across on travel day is far from clean. That’s why putting your own portable surface in your baby travel bag is an easy way to limit germs and irritants on your baby’s soft, sensitive skin.
What Should I Bring on a Plane for My Toddler?
While not everyone wants to bring a car seat, CARES harness, and stroller on board, you shouldn’t step on the plane without these five things.
1. Multi-Tasking Diaper Bag
You’re allowed to have a carry-on bag, personal item, and diaper bag, so making sure it’s a versatile one, like the BÈIS Diaper Bag is important. In your diaper bag, make sure you are equipped with everything you need for your long trip.
Here are some of the multi-purpose aspects to look for:
- Travel-friendly – Built-in trolley sleeve, loops that attach to our stroller bags, and a laptop sleeve in case you don’t want to lug around separate bags.
- Adjustable straps – 4 sets of interchangeable straps in different sizes and styles.
- Easy-access organization – With an odor-proof bag for dirty diapers, reusable changing pad, pockets for new diapers and wet wipes, two bottle holders, pacifier pouch, and adorable teething ring keychain, this bag’s got your back. You’ll remember where you put all your baby needs.
2. On-the-Go Nap-Worthy Comfort
There are some undeniable truths in life, like: planes get cold, kids are messy, and sleep is sacred. Make sure you have a change of clothes for both of you that can also double as an extra layer if it gets chilly. A baby blanket and travel toddler bed can go a long way too, and don’t forget a pillow of your own to take advantage of that momentary bliss.
3. Snacks, Bottles, and More Snacks
Obviously, food, water, and milk or formula are necessities, but snacks are one of the best ways to keep a child busy and happy. Standard TSA liquid rules don’t apply to any baby food, so go crazy… There’s no better place for a food coma than at cruising altitudes.
4. DIY First Aid Kit
Putting together a DIY emergency kit when traveling with young kids is a little different than your typical first aid kit—here’s what you’ll want to pack:
- Different size bandages
- Antibiotic ointment
- Individual rubbing alcohol prep pads
- Pain meds, fever reducers, and gas relievers (for babies and adults)
- Children’s ear pain drops (ask your pediatrician first)
- Daily prescriptions, vitamins, and supplements
5. In-Flight Baby-Friendly Entertainment
Think no-mess, hands-on fun like drawing, playing with favorite toys (and teething toys), reading a book together, or watching a kids’ TV show. Sure, pediatricians don’t recommend screen time for babies, but kiddie headphones exist for a reason—you both deserve this.
Get There with BÈIS Baby
At BÈIS, you can find your go-to travel bag that you need to make traveling with young kids easier, all while nailing the timeless jet-setter look. The BÈIS Baby line is mom-tested, mom-approved, and made for moments like these, born to keep you chic amid the chaos.
BabyCenter. Car seat safety: Using a car seat on a plane. https://www.babycenter.com/0_car-seat-safety-using-a-car-seat-on-a-plane_3656331.bc
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccines for Your Children. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/travel-vaccines.html
Emory Health Digest. Germs on a Plane. http://emoryhealthdigest.emory.edu/issues/2018/spring/from_the_well/germs-on-a-plane/index.html