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Travelling with a Toddler

I would say we are a well traveled family. I'm not putting that out there to brag or say "wow look at us", I'm sharing that because even as a well traveled family we still make mistakes and forget key items.

Prior to having Mckenna we were a well oiled machine when it came to travel. I had traveled a lot as a child with my family and I fell in love with the experiences of seeing new places and meeting new people. Chauncey also traveled as a child and explored some amazing parts of South America as a young adult. Coming together as a travel team we felt unstoppable. We packed lightly and breezed through airports. We have never been afraid to mix with the locals upon arrival and figure out the best way to get around; what we should see to really get to know the city or country we were visiting.

Now with Mckenna things look a lot different! The amount of stuff we pack for her is a bit crazy and believe me we are minimalists. There is so much organization prior to leaving and lists and more lists. Even with all this organization and in the end we manage to forget something almost every time.

We were off to Austin a week ago and we decided to stay overnight in Toronto as we had a very early morning flight. We had packed her stroller but we left it in the car knowing we would grab it in the morning. No such luck! We were running a bit late for the 5 am shuttle and were rushing around in the morning, my parents were traveling with us and offered to bring the items we didn't need down to our car for us. We didn't even think of the stroller. We only had one actual piece of "equipment" to bring as the hotels had cribs and the car rental place had a car seat for us. Only one key item....and we forgot it!

We are problem solvers so as we landed in Austin we got back on WiFi to figure out where the closest Target was to buy a cheap travel stroller for the trip. Voila! Problem solved.

The only thing you really need to remember when you travel with your kids are two crucial things, your passport and your patience.

With that said I have included four very helpful optional items that I think make travel a little easier when you have your little ones in tow.

Stroller or Baby Carrier

Oh the irony that this is first on my list! The reality is that some type of contraption to keep your child save and happy cruising around will be very helpful, as you walk through airports and once you get to your destination. I love our everyday stroller and I've linked it here. You can also get a lighter travel stroller like this. Finally as I've mentioned in a previous post the Ergo 360 is by far my faviourte carrier for younger children.

New/Small Toys

These are always very helpful on the plane and while you are in transit. We found that the Water Wow colouring books to be the best. It's one marker that has "invisible ink" which equals no mess.We also like to bring some small toy cars, something that we don't have to worry about if we happen to loose them. We travel with a stuffed animal from home her favourite is between her JellyCat and her bunny.

Antibacterial Items

For the adults we use eye drops and saline nose spray before we board. I've read that you are less likely to catch a cold on an airplane if your eyes and nose are lubed up! Something to do with the dryness of the airplane, drying out your eyes and nose can help germs stick. I'm not a doctor but I do know that these items are cheap and if they work, great! For Mckenna we have wipes for her hands and face and we use also have antibacterial wipes to wipe down every surface near us. Yes I am that woman on the plane wiping down the tray table, the TV, the wall of the plane and the window itself. The reason is Mckenna loves to bite or lick random items including the armrest. So I wiped that down too.


I left this one until the end as I know this will bring up some polarizing opinions. There are those that feel any screen time is not a good idea and there are those that feel screen time is totally okay. I fall somewhere in the middle. Mckenna did not watch any TV or have any screen time before the age of one. After her first birthday we watched The Wiggles here and there. Now coming up to her second birthday we have purchased a tablet specifically for travel. We use this on long car rides and now on airplanes too. I know that the current research states no screen time under the age of two. I agree that children should be engaging in free play and you should be down on the ground talking and playing with them. However when it comes to being stuck in an airplane with a toddler who loves to run and jump and generally never stops moving, all bets are off in our family. This tablet was a life saver on this trip. We were proactive and downloaded Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Frozen prior to leaving. In the moments on the plane and in the car where she just didn't want to colour or play with her toys, this came in very handy!

As I stated earlier, really all you need is your passport and your patience. There are highs and lows when travelling with kids, but for us, seeing this world through the eyes of our daughter is truly worth all the extra work it takes to get to our destination. Mckenna could not stop saying "Wow" everywhere we went in Texas. She may not remember this trip but her father and I will cherish these memories for the rest of our lives.

Mckenna and I in Waco, Texas. January 2020.

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