Tips for Traveling with Young Children

Written by Fiona

Holiday season is here! I remember vividly at one of the classes with Mireille last year, she asked everybody’s plan about the holiday week. I enjoyed listening to other parents’ wonderful trip plans, but I couldn’t resist showing my anxiety for  the upcoming family trip. It was supposed to be a relaxing trip on the beach at Los Cabos, but my biggest fear was how to entertain my two boys on the plane (Julian was three and Alan was nine months old). I believe many parents share the same concern. The following tips are particularly great for toddlers and preschoolers who constantly want to jump off the seat and play!

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Prepare some tape for the kids! I got this idea from Mireille. Toddlers love to play with tape! Washi type tape is cute and can be easily peeled off, so you don’t need to worry about the stickiness left on the flight table. Tape is also good for developing fine motor skills. Another good choice is Melissa and Doug’s “Scissor Skills” and “Tape” activity books. This packaged set includes plastic scissors (so it is safe and passes through security check), some tape, and an activity book.

Stickers are another fun activity for young kids. I usually bring a small pack of crayons and some paper, so my son and I can draw together. Afterwards, I ask him to add stickers to finish the work. Usborne offers several “First Sticker Books”. They are thin, so good for travel. They also have a set of sticker books specifically designed for travel.

Pack enough snacks and water! I believe this saves a lot of parents on a long trip. It keeps the kids from starving between meals. Moreover, it can be entertaining. But keep in mind: a) prepare healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, raisins or dried cranberries, goldfish crackers, yogurt, or sandwiches cut into different shapes; b) pay more attention to things that may pose a choking hazard; c) give them a break between snacks!

Prepare treats for others! We apologize for any disturbances that my children may cause. We prepare a few bags of holiday chocolates for those who sit next to us and for the flight crew. Last year, I asked Julian to put them into small bags, for which he was so excited. In that way, he was involved in this gesture that showed gratitude. Luckily, the flight was not fully occupied and we got some empty seats around us. But still, he was so happy when he handed them over to the flight crew.

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Ask for support! We have parents who are so experienced in planning and packing for family trips. This year, I received more great advice from the parents at Little Wonders. For example, one mom told me about wrapping a small new toy for the kids. I love this idea! This small gift not only triggers kids’ excitement about the holiday, but can also entertain them for a while. I will try this one out this year.

Check your bag for sanitizer, wipes, and pull-ups or diapers (even if your child is six years old). Bring plastic bags for trash!

Last but not least, manage your own stress! As difficult as it sounds, try to finish the packing the day before departure. This will give you a moment to take a deep breath before the trip. Get yourself and your child excited about the adventure and enjoy it!
What are your favorite travel tips?


Fiona has two energetic and sweet boys: Julian, nearly four years; and Alan, almost eighteen months. In her spare time--usually after the kids are asleep--she enjoys reading and watching movies of the mystery genre. She also loves yoga and Barre exercise.