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Tips for Traveling with Tots

By Rita Nutt, DNP, RN

Tips for Traveling with Tots

Looking to travel with your little ones? Be prepared when you plan ahead—then relax and enjoy the journey when traveling with tots!

When you’re traveling with young children, you might think taking a trip sounds like the opposite of fun. With these tips, you’ll be prepared for the twists and turns that are family adventures!

Make a Traveling with Tots Checklists

Preparation is key and nothing makes you feel more organized than a list to check yourself again, and tasks to be crossed off as accomplishments toward your vacation dreams. List the big things first: destination; sights to see; accommodations; flights, train tickets or driving routes/times. Then work on more detailed lists: baby gear you’ll bring or rent at your destination, and what you can order and have waiting for you, such as extra diapers, wipes, sunscreen, pool toys.

Prioritize your packing list: It’s your “to do” list going and returning home. It will keep you from feeling overwhelmed and calm those last minute fears that you’ve left something essential at home.

Getting There and Back

Don’t over-plan. Choose 1 or 2 activities per day. Your baby may get overwhelmed from all of the stimulation and toddlers and preschoolers want to touch and explore everything, so each outing will take longer than you think. Include downtime for naps and free playtime.

Bring along comfort objects. A security blanket, stuffed animal or doll for your child. (But whatever you do, don’t leave it behind!) Your child will feel safer and more comfortable snuggled up with something from home.

Pack light when possible. Ship extra clothes, diapers, wipes to your attention at your destination.

Be flexible. A vacation is supposed to be about rest and relaxation, too! Accept that there may be meltdowns and temper tantrums—but there will also be lots of laughter and joy, too.

Flying the Friendly Skies

  • Children younger than 2 typically fly free in your lap; ask what documentation you need, such as a birth certificate
  • Most airlines will ship a car seat or stroller free
  • Consider a red-eye flight to travel during your child’s normal sleeping hours
  • Nurse your baby, or give them a bottle or pacifier, to help equalize ear pressure during takeoff and landing
  • The 3.4-oz. liquid rule doesn’t apply to breastmilk, formula, juice, ice packs or gel teething rings; keep these separate from your other liquids

Have a Stress-Free Road Trip

  • Consider driving through the night to avoid sleep disruptions when traveling with tots
  • Plan stops for nursing, diaper changes, and relaxing outside the car

Find our tips on what to pack when traveling with a baby.

Rita Nutt, DNP, RN, is an expert adviser to Healthy Mom&Baby.


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