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Travelling With Toddlers

This time of year is ideal for a family with younger children to go away, as rising temperatures, cheaper off-peak travel options, and quieter destinations create the perfect recipe for a holiday. However, travelling with toddlers can be quite daunting, but with the right preparation, you can transform a potentially stressful experience into an enjoyable and memorable one.


Where to go – 

Choose your destination wisely. Look for places with family friendly areas, pools, and dining options, with air conditioned rooms and plenty of shade to keep everyone cool. Entertainment is a must, and choosing a country with minimal time-zone differences can be really helpful when it comes to keeping to nap-time and bedtime routines. 

Also think carefully about the accommodation. A villa or apartment can be a fantastic choice over a hotel room, offering more space, privacy, and flexibility. However hotels tend to have a wider range of facilities. You just need to decide what’s more important to you and what will suit your family. And remember, if you’re staying closer to home and there’s a chance of wet weather, be sure to stay somewhere with indoor attractions nearby to keep everyone entertained on those rainy days. 

What to pack – 

The more you can take on holiday from home, the better. Middle of the night missions to find a particular type of milk or infant paracetamol are no fun, especially in a foreign country. If possible, increase your baggage allowance and fill a suitcase with things to cover all eventualities; sun safe swimsuits, sun hats, non-slip water shoes, arm bands, etc.

If your toddler only likes a particular brand of rice cakes or cereal bars for their daily snack, make sure you take enough to last you for the whole holiday. Take more sun cream than you think you’ll need, and don’t forget the after sun and mosquito repellent – some after sun brands actually contain mosquito repellent!

Take comfort objects, such as a soft toy or blanket that will help your child to settle for naps and at bedtime. A couple of their favourite books and small, easy-to-pack toys that will keep them entertained during downtime can be really helpful too. Here is a great tip for travelling with toddlers is teaching them to pack your own suitcase.



Planes, trains and automobiles – 

If you’re going abroad and flying, the shorter the flight, the better. If possible, aim for flights that match up with nap times rather than bedtimes to keep things smooth. Keep your pushchair with you until the last minute, you don’t have to check it into the hold at check-in. 

Take a variety of snacks and a drink to keep your toddler happy and hydrated, remember to pack a change of clothes for both you and your child in your carry-on luggage, in case of spills or accidents.

Choose comfortable clothing for your children, thinking about all stages of the journey, especially if you are travelling to a different climate. Layers are ideal for adjusting to changing temperatures.

However you’re travelling, take a few new toys and books they haven’t seen before; they will be more likely to hold your child’s attention due to the novelty factor. And if all else fails, don’t hesitate to use screens.

Although too much screen time isn’t ideal for toddlers, an iPad loaded with your child’s favourite programmes or videos can be invaluable in keeping them entertained in these situations. 

Another great tip for travelling with toddlers is planning your route with regular stops every couple of hours to let your toddler stretch their legs and burn off some energy, and have a playlist of favourite songs or audio books to make the journey enjoyable for everyone. 



Sleeping strategies – 

When booking your holiday, find out if a travel cot is provided, if you can hire one when you arrive, or if you need to take your own. Aim to keep to the usual night time routine your toddler has at home, including familiar bedtime rituals like reading a bedtime story, singing a lullaby, or snuggling up to a favourite soft toy will help them to wind down and relax.

If possible, stick to their usual daytime nap times and find quiet spots, out of the sun, for them to rest – a pushchair is helpful for naps on the go. But try not to worry too much about disturbing your usual routine at home, instead prioritise enjoying the holiday and be flexible wherever you can. 


Managing tantrums – 

If your toddler has a tantrum/s on your holiday, keep in mind that they definitely won’t be the first child to have done so, and other people around you are probably far less bothered about it than you think. Remember to stay calm as your child will often mirror your reaction and the more stressed you are, the more agitated they are likely to become.

Find a quiet spot to help them calm down, talk through what happened, and have a hug. Distraction can also be effective; offer them a favourite toy or activity to shift their focus, while praise and positive reinforcement when your child displays ‘good’ behaviour can work wonders. Ensuring your child is well rested, fed and entertained can prevent tantrums happening in the first place, so worth keeping in mind. Read more about how to handle tantrums.



Travelling with toddlers can certainly be a journey full of twists and turns but with some careful planning and consideration, it can be a wonderful experience for the whole family. Being well prepared, knowing what to expect, and having strategies to deal with problems that may arise, can ensure an enjoyable trip and the chance to make some wonderful memories. Happy holidays!