The Top 7 Mom Hacks for Traveling During the Toddlers Years & Beyond

7 top tips for traveling with toddlers

mom hacks for traveling with toddlersWe have traveled with our young twins 18 times before their 5th birthday.  Six of those trips have been international.

I would argue that in true Troop Beverly Hills style, these 18 trips have earned me the coveted “Traveling Mom-Pro” badge.

There have been lots of travel associated stresses, a few lengthy delays, even a few “twincidents” (now mamas that is a post you shouldn’t miss)!  But along the way, we have refined our systems and figured out a few tried and true strategies that have allowed us to joyfully travel with our young twins.

A lot of the travel tips we talk about in our posts to help you prepare for traveling with your twins and navigate the airport/plane with infants apply to traveling with toddlers.  Be sure not to miss those posts!

And once you have read up on those helpful tips, demystify traveling with your kids once they turn into walking, talking, illogically opinionated humans, with these mom pro-travel hacks.

7 Mom Hacks for Traveling with Toddlers:

Just Do It:mom hacks for traveling with toddlers

Nike says it perfectly.  Sometimes it is easier to put it off, making excuses about why traveling with little ones is too hard, therefore deciding to wait to travel again when cars can drive themselves.

But the truth is, the more you just do it, the easier it will become.  You figure out what works best for you and your kids will learn to go with the flow.  Traveling brings on the unexpected, which in turn teaches flexibility and patience.

I won’t lie to you…for a long time we took family or friends with us when we traveled with our twins. Eventually, we threw all caution to the wind and decided to take a trip as just a family of 4.  With all the trips we have taken, our kids are well adjusted, easy little travelers.

Arm Yourself Appropriately:

You will want to be sure to arm yourself with ample toddler ammunition, which really translates to toys and snacks! The important thing here is that you have a wide variety, but no one thing will hold their attention for all that long.  

The key is staggering out your arsenal of entertainment, don’t give it all to them at once.  Start by giving them a toy, then mix in a snack, then pass along a new toy.  Continuing in this way will help keep them distracted without getting bored, antsy and cranky too quickly.

Some of our favorite plane toys include:

mom hacks when traveling with kids

From TOP to BOTTOM, LEFT to RIGHT: Stickers, Tegu Magnetic Wood Blocks, B Pop Beads, VTech Call and Chat Phone, Melisa and Doug Lacing Cards, Wiki Sticks

Rules Go Out The Window:

Ok, well not all the rules, but I might suggest that you bend your screen time rules just a little while traveling.

In our house, we save time on the iPads for traveling or very special occasions.  My twins cherish their screen time because honestly, they never get it, which is why it is the perfect tool for keeping my kids quietly entertained on airplanes (and in the car).

We used to travel with our iPads until we recently discovered the amazing new Amazon Freetime app on the Amazon Fire 7 (Kids edition).  This parental controlled app gives your kids a world of books, movies, tv shows, apps and games in a kids-friendly, safe environment!  Having access to this app has changed screen time for my family…it’s a must have for parents of young kids!

mom hacks when traveling with kids

Last is Best:

The option of getting on the plane early during family boarding is very enticing, however, once your kids are mobile, all they want to do is be on the ground exploring.  Sitting on the plane, quietly, for any extra amount of time equates to torture for your active little ones.

As long as you have assigned seats on your flight or need a ton of overhead storage, we highly recommend that you do not board the plane until the very last possible minute.  Let your kids run around and get their wiggles out in the terminal instead, just be sure you have enough time to get yourself settled on the plane!

mom hacks when traveling with kids

Car Seats:

Imagine sitting your wiggly, curious toddler in a big car seat, strapped in by an adult size seat belt and ask them to sit quietly for several hours?

Easy….said no mom ever!

The one place that where you can always keep your kids strapped down (for safety obviously) is their car seat!  So trust me when I say that the slight hassle of dragging your car seats through the airport and onto the plane is WORTH IT!

Unless you never drive your kids anywhere, by the time they are toddlers, kids are very comfortable in their car seats, which will only make your in-flight experience that much m

ore enjoyable…you’ll even be able to have a cocktail without the possibility of spillage!

So you’re going to check your stroller or, even better, rent one at your destination, and take along your car seats….right?

Check out this article by! They have a great comprehensive list of places all over the world to rent baby gear while traveling! 

Here are a few nifty little products that make taking your car seats through the airport a snap!

Get the Gear You Can’t Live Without:

There are a few things that I have found are guaranteed to simplify your life while you’re on the road just a bit!

  • The Bentgo Kids Lunch Box – This little gem makes packing school lunches for two very simple, but it also doubles perfectly for an individualized snack pack on an airplane.  You can use this to pack a variety of snacks (including healthy fresh options) for your kids in one leak-proof box.

  • Boon Snug Silicone Lids – Now mamas, these are life changing.  These silicone lids, which come as sippy cups or straw lids have saved me so many times.  They are easy to pack in any bag because they don’t take up much space.  The silicone lid fits over the top of any cup, instantly making it kid-friendly AND spill-proof!  Mom hacks don’t get much better than this!

  • Britax Car Seat Travel Cart – This is the one you’ve been waiting for!  This piece of travel gear is a must.  You can easily strap the car seats onto this wheeled cart so you can easily glide your car seat AND child through the airport!  Once you’re on the plane, the travel cart folds up compactly for easy storage in the overhead compartments.

It Happens:

Traveling is hard, like really really haaaarrrrrd!  Everything is new and exciting for your little ones AND their routine goes straight out the window.  So we all know that all the planning and preparation in the world won’t stop your toddler from having a major meltdown no less than 5 minutes into the trip!

Give yourself and your kiddos a break.  Again, the more that kids travel, the easier it will become. Handle the meltdown as you would normally and move on with the trip.  Trust me, the memories make it all worth the hassle.