I often am asked how we travel so much with our kids… and my response is we don’t really have a choice so we make it work!!!  We’ve traveled domestically, with connections, long layovers and internationally!  Through the last five years we have picked up a lot of tips and tricks, and I’ll get started with the hardest stage on this post….  traveling with a one year old.

The toddler years, especially one year old’s are tricky because our go to’s of the iPad/tablet, electronics, bribery… etc. don’t really work so well.  Instead it’s time to get creative and inventive to make traveling enjoyable for everyone!  These tips can be applied to children of all ages, but they are my go to for the 1 year old/toddler stage.

Best toddler travel tip:

If you are traveling with others, my favorite thing to do is split up!  One adult should take the children and walk/crawl/dance the extra energy out right until the end of boarding time!  This way the children aren’t sitting, confined, and waiting in the airplane any longer than they need to.  The other adult(s) can get settled (wipe the trays, seats down if you want… or maybe thats just me!) and get everything squared away!

Also make sure you have a dedicated bag for your trip.  There is nothing worse than opening all your carryon’s looking for a toy or snack!

Easy distractions to bring along:

  • Lollipops:  So if you know me I’m not the biggest fan of candy and sugar for my littles.  However at this age range its hard to have your toddler suck while ascending and descending on the airplane.  So a lollipop is a novelty to our children and something that takes longer than a pouch but is safer than gum/other candies and keeps our kids sucking to prevent pain from ear pressure!
  • Tissues:  it’s messy, but tearing tissues can provide endless entertainment for my little one, if you have an older child, you could ask them to join in to make snowflakes or shapes!
  • Bandaids:  there is something about unwrapping and sticking bandaids.  It requires a lot of attention and focus and takes plenty of time!
  • Washi Tape:  so easy to tear and tons of fun.  Our favorite is to make race car tracks and drive small cars around.  You can make designs, stick them on people, your options are endless.
  • Target Dollar Spot/Dollar Store Toys wrapped in layers of wrapping paper:  wrapping paper for the win… layers keep everyone busy with a nice element of surprise.  I tend to pick up a few goodies before the trip that the kids haven’t seen before, and then have a bag of travel goodies that I grab a few toys from to keep things novel and exciting.
  • Medicine Pill Box with Snacks:  best tip ever for a young child!  make sure to get a medicine box with daily slots and fill them with a variety of snacks!  it takes time, is entertaining, and a happy tummy is a happy toddler!
  • Melissa and Doug Water Wow books:  these are meant for older children but I have found my one year old loves these books.  they along with most of the plane will be amazed at how color instantaneously appears with water, but then dries off and can be reused again and again.
  • Cling Ons:  the best thing for sitting next to the window and at your destination.  They are small, compact, and provide endless entertainment!
  • Sticker Books:  just like the bandaids and washi tape, a pad of stickers is always tons of fun!  they take a while to take off and then more importantly they are a ton of fun to play with!

In an emergency, make the most of what is available on the plane:

  • Glass with ice:  ask the flight attendant for a few empty glasses and some ice, you can transfer ice between cups, make a race track with your wash tape, and “paint” on your tray.
  • Snacks:  like the medicine box, snacks are our favorite way to pass time, and new snacks from the airplane always seem like a treasure.
  • Make friends with fellow passengers:  a new face on an airplane can make a trip speed up in an instant!
  • Walk the aisles:  sometimes you just need to burn a little energy, and as long as the crew allows you to, walking the aisles is a great way to pass time and make friends.
  • Origami out of the inflight magazine:  practice your elementary school skills and fold some impressive characters for your children out of the inflight magazine!

Other life savers for traveling:

  • Skip Hop Backpack Diaper Bag:  This is my FAVORITE travel bag, not only is it a discrete diaper bag, it has room for everything including my camera!  I was able to stay organized and have all the things I needed on my finger tips, and when I had the stroller could easily hook it on!
  • GB Pockit Stroller:  This has changed our life!  You can literally wheel your child through the airplane aisles to your seat and it folds up to fit any airplane, including a prop plane!  No more waiting for your stroller or having it damaged!
  • Uppababy G-Link Stroller:  This stroller is our go to when we are going long distances and know both kids will want to take a ride!
  • Wet Wipes  and Clorox Wipes: Traveling is full of germs, you might as well wipe things down (especially hotel remotes and tray tables!)
  • GoGo Babyz Travelmate:  If you need to cary a carseat on the plane with you, you can use this to save your back and use it as an impromptu stroller!
  • CARES Flight Harness:  I love having a 5 point harness for my wiggly children.  I wish I could carry their carseats onboard with me at all times, but they are heavy and just HEAVY.  This is a FAA approved way of keeping the littles safe even with turbulence.  (and from experience put a non skid mat  underneath your child, and they won’t wiggle all over the seat!)
  • and if you have time before your trip, we like preparing our kids by reading stories!  a favorite at this age was Maisy Goes on a Plane  and playing with travel stickers that describe the process!
  • Other Travel Baby Products

Recent additions to our travel bag:

  • Toy Straps We used these to keep our toys from falling everywhere, they were critical on the plane and on the go
  • Fat Brain Toys MiniSpinny:  This was a huge win with both of our children, it is fun to play with and can double as a teether
  • Quiet Book:  A new find but great for this age, while it requires supervision since there are small felt pieces, it is fun and easy and self contained!
  • Instax Camera Hear me out on this one… in a pinch my kids love documenting what they are up to!  The flash may be a little annoying to fellow passengers (so make sure to disable it) but both children were enamored with taking pictures of what was going around with them and it helped passed time for us all (just make sure you have enough film, this kit will keep you occupied for awhile!)  If you are wanting a digital option, we also love the VTech Kidizoom Action Cam

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