Traveling with toddlers can easily seem like a daunting task. There are plenty of factors with which to contend, after all, and nearly all of them are out of your control.
Long car rides, uncomfortable temperatures, disruptions to the normal routine, new faces and experiences, events that interfere with nap and eating schedules, and plenty of other elements can quickly throw off your family’s status quo.
A little planning and some creativity can go a long way toward keeping your peace and travels on track, however. Here are a few of our favorite tips for ensuring your next trip with toddlers is filled with fun and success.
5 Tips for Traveling with Toddlers
1) Always Bring the Favorite Toys & Games
Toddlers thrive on what’s familiar, and every parent has likely experienced accidentally leaving this week’s favorite item behind. Be sure to pack your son or daughter’s go-to playthings to create a sense of familiarity and bring a little bit of home with you no matter how far you travel. Add in a few favorite books and games, too. Bonus if there are learning elements that will double as education!
2) Create Fun — but Safe! — Travel Dens
Install your car seat properly before doing anything else. Next, create dens with pillows, stuffed animals, those aforementioned favorite toys, glow in the dark stars, and a blanket canopy over your toddler’s seat to make the perfect travel den. Leave an opening in the front so you can check on him or her, of course (and make sure you can still see out all your windows for safety), but creating a fun and organized travel space will make long car rides seem like a ton of fun rather than a tedious process.
3) Sometimes Devices are Your Friends
While spending too much time on an electronic device might not be the best idea, having your toddler’s favorite cartoon shows and movies on hand on a phone or tablet is a great way to pass the time during long trips or distract him or her while waiting in slow-moving lines. Toddler-friendly phone and tablet cases will also ensure your electronics’ safety, should they fall out of his or her hands.
4) Adjust the Schedule to Incorporate What’s Important
If your toddler can’t survive without a nap, make sure he or she gets the needed rest! You’ll be miserable if you don’t carve out the time. Take a whole-family rest a couple of times per day, giving yourself permission to relax and read or sleep between stops. Also try to keep eating and bed times as close to normal as possible to avoid uprooting your tiny traveler too much.
5) Make every Stop a Fun Adventure
The best way to keep your toddler engaged is to make everything a fun game. Turn less-exciting stops into scavenger hunts, play color or animals games at zoos or other places with bright attractions, take happy and goofy pictures to keep his or her creativity up, and use your imaginations to tell stories about the things you see. You might even find that your inner child gets lost in the games, too!