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Toddler Travel Tips

 Posted by on November 13, 2012
Nov 132012
 

Will you be flying with your toddler soon? I have compiled a list of toddler travel tips based on 3 plane trips (6 total planes) I took with my son Aiden when he was 19 months and 21 months old.  It was just the two of us, so I had to come up with some creative ways to keep him busy on the plane and while we were waiting that fit into a small diaper bag.

toddler travel tips

Travelling with a toddler soon?

 

Toddler Travel Tip #1:  Take the Stroller

I thought it would be a pain, so I didn’t take it on the first trip.  Our first flight was late arriving, so we had to rush from one terminal to another to make our connecting flight.  I did not have the stroller and really wished I did.

The second trip, I took it.  At some airports, families with strollers have a separate line for security.  We essentially got to skip to the head of the line.  The wait was so much less.  You check the stroller at the gate, which means they give you a tag to put on it and you leave it just outside the plane.  It’s waiting for you at the next gate.  {Although, I did have to wait for it to get off the plane at one airport, which took seemingly forever and delayed my getting to the connecting flight…but we arrived just in time to board first – I guess they don’t like little kids waiting in lines – fine with me!}

 

Toddler Travel Tip #2: Activity Books

For our trip, I made an activity book for Aiden.  I used a small scrapbook (5×7 inches).  I cut paper and fabric to size and glued them to various pages.  I also sewed the fabric to the paper with a sewing machine.  Each page has a different activity with all the pieces attached with ribbon.  The book includes shapes, colors, animals, textures, felt tangrams, a matching game, zippers, ribbon, and buttons.  I waited to introduce the book to him until we got on the plane.  Every page was an exciting new adventure.  We explored the book together taking our time to talk about what was on the page, touch the textures, and move things around.  If you make a book like this, be sure to only let your child use it under close supervision.  {One day, my son decided to pull everything off of the pages he could.  Everything glued down was pulled off; everything sewn down has stayed.  I was a little sad half of the book got destroyed, but I knew the risk when I let him play with it without being right next to me.}

Here are some of our favorite pages.

 

Another great take-along book idea is a homemade picture book. I created one for Aiden using photos of his toys.  I used a $1 4×6 photo album.

You could also place blank pieces of paper inside the photo album for drawing with a dry erase marker.  Or create a few coloring pages or games for the photo album pages to use with a dry erase marker.

 

Toddler Travel Tip #3: Snacks

Bring along your favorites plus something extra special.  I brought our standard Cheerios and some extra special animal crackers.  This was especially helpful for take off.  Aiden didn’t want any Cheerios, but he was very interested in the animal crackers.  I think it helps to eat or drink something during take off and landing for ears to adjust to the slight change in pressure.

 

Toddler Travel Tip #4: Take a Bottle of Water through Security

 

You can take liquids through airport security if they are for your child (under age 2).

They will open the containers and test the contents.  They were done with the test by the time I put my shoes on and gathered all of my belongings.  This meant I didn’t have to buy an expensive bottle of water at the airport, and I didn’t have to recycle a plastic bottle.  {I was able to reuse my own bottle and know the quality of the water.}

 

 

Toddler Travel Tip #5: The Nook

I brought along my Nook Color and preloaded it with some new entertainment.  This saved lots of space because I didn’t have to bring along a pile of books.  I chose a few interactive books.  My favorite of which is The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton.  You can read it to your child or a narrator can read it.  I like to read it so we can explore all of the interactive sounds and movement on each page without interrupting the narrator.  My son loves to read, so the books were a big hit.

I also added a few music application that I thought Aiden would like.  One app was a piano.  You could choose the sound of the piano to a few different instruments and also animal sounds.  Aiden really like pressing the piano keys and hearing the animal sounds.  The second app included a few different instruments, but I chose it because of the drum set.  Aiden loved playing our friend’s drum set and this app was fun for him.  These music apps didn’t keep his attention for very long, but they did help entertain for a little while.

To go with the Nook, I brought along two sets of headphones and a splitter, so I could hear what Aiden was hearing.  I found a nice pair of kid headphones for Aiden and used a pair of ear buds for me.

I’m sure most Smart Phones have applications that would accomplish the same things.  However, I liked the screen size of the Nook for reading books.

 

Toddler Travel Tip #6: Small notebook

 

I always carry a mini composition notebook with me and some crayons or a pen in my bag.  It is perfect for drawing games.   Your little one can draw in the book, or you can draw and he can describe what you are drawing.  I like to draw letters, numbers, and shapes.  Aiden likes to scribble and attempts to copy what I draw.

 

 

 

 

Do you have any toddler travel tips to add to the list?  Please leave them in the comments.

{This post was originally published in March 2012. There are several additional great tips in the comments.}

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Happy travels,

 

 

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  27 Responses to “Toddler Travel Tips”

  1. Love it! I just up a similar post but with different tips! Great, right? Here is the link to my post:

    http://carrotsareorange.com/road-trip-haves-toddlers/

    Look forward to your blog!

    • Thanks for sharing your tips, Marnie! Bringing something familiar is so important. I can’t believe I forgot to include that in my post. ha! For Aiden, I brought the thinnest blanket we had {it’s now his favorite} and his favorite stuffed animal. I’m not sure we would have survived without those!

  2. I love your idea of the scrapbook with all the different textures and things to do. I have seen the fabric type but really like the mix you did.

    We also like to use finger puppets on trips. I have had little felt ones that fit in a small baggie and my girls love them. So many ways to play to with sounds, on and off, going on a trip with the animals just a few that we do.

    • Thanks, Kaylyn! Bringing along finger puppets is a great idea. They don’t take up much space and can provides tons of entertainment {and learning}.

  3. I just love the activity books you created! They would be great for travel, and even restaurants. Thank you so much for sharing with Tuesday Tots! I have pinned this to the Tuesday Tot board!

  4. Have you ever tried a baby/infant carrier instead of a stroller? I recommend the connecta or ergo. Great post.
    Pinkoddy recently posted..Money Saving ideas you Should Know AboutMy Profile

    • Yes, I loved my Moby Wrap. I used it with my son from newborn to around 18 months. He decided he felt trapped and didn’t want to be in it even though he still fit just fine. He preferred to walk. I didn’t even think about trying it again for our trip. It’s a great idea – especially if you don’t want to bring a stroller. Thanks for the reminder. :)

  5. We like to play “I Spy” when we are waiting somewhere (like to board the plane). When our daughter was younger, we would play the traditional way (“…something that is green”) As she got older we started playing by letter (“…something starting with a ‘W'”) -it requires no equipment, and can help work on her spelling!

    • I Spy is a great waiting game! We also play a version where we just say what we see – “I see some clouds.” “I see trees.” “I see the letter A.”

  6. I work at airport screening in Canada and there is an age limit on the liquids. The child has to be under 2 years of age for the liquids to be allowed, otherwise they have to follow the same rules as everyone else of 100 ml containers. If they are under 2 years of age there is no limit to the liquids you bring and they will just need a quick swab if they are over the 100 ml (this goes for things like baby food as well). It makes it easier and faster for everyone if all the liquids are in the same bag and not spread out into different bags and if you take them out of the bag and put them in the trays it makes it even easier so we don’t have to go digging through bags to find them.

  7. I am getting ready to travel with my 18 mo son and am super nervous. A friend of mine told me to wrap some of his toys. The unwrapping is an activity in itself. She said it went over well with her 15 mo son. Crossing my fingers it works for us.

  8. Great ideas! I’m adding a link to this at the bottom of my blog post (guest blog post on my blog) about the same topic.
    http://gotkiddos.blogspot.com/2012/06/preparing-for-take-off-with-tots-in-tow.html

  9. I am so impressed with your activity books, they are awesome, both my girls would love them.
    Ali recently posted..Painting with shapesMy Profile

  10. A cheap etch-a-sketch will keep little ones occupied for a little while. Before we go on long drives, I usually pop into the dollar store or thrift shop and grab a few little toys. I give my son one toy every couple of hours. He loves playing with something new, and I have a happy kid on the road. Next year he will be on his first transpac flight and I will definitely make an activity book. Thanks for the tips!

    • An etch-a-sketch and new toys are great ideas! I’ve heard wrapping the toys up in paper (even newspaper) adds to the fun as well. Thanks for stopping by, Katharine!

  11. We’ve got the flights down with our little guy, but we were a little nervous to drive long distances with him (flight prices are ridiculous at the times we want to travel). Paying $200+ per person for a 1-hour flight seemed ridiculous, so we started driving. We do the MagnaDoodle-like devices that are out, but Wiki Sticks saved our sanity! They are waxed covered strings you can arrange in different shapes. When my son gets tired of shapes, he wants to start making letters and numbers with them. Magnadoodle, Wiki Sticks, movies on our phones keeps him entertained for at least 4/6 hours he’s awake in the car. Just a warning to use your best judgement with Wiki Sticks, they can be balled up into something chokeable. J started playing with them under supervision about 18 months.
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  12. Don’t forget their favourite snuggle friend. they need it to go to sleep,relieve anxiety and someone to play with.
    I also like Duplo cars and figures. Pack the rest in your luggage for play at your destination.
    I have found jigsaw books and sticker books (that have a story) double up as 2 activities in one.

  13. Our 22 month old has now flown over 50,000 miles and has been to 8 countries so I’m always looking for good travel ideas. I LOVE the scrapbook/activity book idea, and wiki sticks sound great!

    We’ve found bulkhead seats to be less useful as they’re older – busy families with little babies tend to be there, and need the bulkhead more anyway for the bassinet. Plus, you can’t put the armrest up for your little one to snuggle onto your lap.

    Window stickers have proved a real hit. They can stick them on the airplane window, or on the sheet they come with (we used Melissa & Doug habitats this last trip), and you can take them home after and re-use them. We also have a water-coloring book, meaning a coloring book that only works with a water pen. Much better than markers or crayons, which can get messy.

    For long-haulers, pack twice as many diapers as you think you’ll need, and definitely bring your stroller and/or a sling. Have a change of clothes for yourself too – I’ve been vomited on after 10 hours of flying and really appreciated having something clean to wear. Always have an ear thermometer and pain killers/fever reducers on long-hauls. Two flights ago my daughter had a 105 (40) fever on the plane and it was an 8 hour flight. Finally, make sure they get opportunities to walk/move around when you can. The flight attendants are usually happy to help/chat if you catch them when they aren’t busy. It’ll help a lot when you need to insist they’re buckled in! LAST idea – British Airways have a little travel log book for little ones where the captain registers your child’s flight number, miles flown and total, with little pages for stickers and awards for miles flown. Really fun for those who travel a lot, and I bet other airlines do it too. Or, make your own! Happy travels!

  14. I recommend ring pops for take off and landing. My daughter loves it, it takes her a little while to finish it, and because it’s on her finger, I don’t have to worry about her dropping it.

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