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Going on holidays with a toddler is basically just parenting in a different location, with a toddler that turns into a beast….

Toddlers are creatures of habit and thrive on predictability. Holidays can really throw them out as they can involve changes in routines, long car trips, changes in location, people, weather, and differing time zones.

I will never forget the deflated feeling that I had after coming home from a “holiday” that mostly involved my toddler not sleeping, clinging to me like a koala for the ENTIRE trip, and having huge meltdowns. I returned home feeling exhausted and kind of resentful that the not so cheap and elusive getaway didn’t involve rest, but rather more work!

If you are tired and wondering how to holiday with a toddler, you have landed in the right place. 

Over the years we have created a simple list of tried and tested survival tips on how to holiday with a toddler, as well as make it much more enjoyable and bearable! 

Here are our top 6 toddler holiday hacks; 

-Adapt expectations.

-Plan holidays for the toddler phase of life

-Prepare your toddler in advance.

-Create a holiday rhythm over routine.

-Bring familiar objects and activities.

-Provide security through consistent boundaries and empathy.

We share all the details about each of these steps in our Raise Toddlers Membership.

Road trips and flights with a toddler packing list

Long road trips and flights with toddlers can be tricky as they involve having to sit still for a long period of time. Ideally, if you can book your flight around sleep times so that at least part of your trip is relaxing, then this would be a great start. Unfortunately, even if you do this, it won’t always work out. Besides snacks, ensure you have our toddler holiday packing list on hand;

  • Get yourself a baby carrier or a light weight travel stroller to make the carting around part of travel a little bit easier
  • During the “waiting time”, besides eating, there isn’t a whole lot to do. Try sitting near the window so your little one can look at the planes coming and going, or find a little area to get their energy out before boarding. Some airports have small play areas which is FAB!
  • Pack a small collection of light, and quiet toys. This could include a reusable sticker pad, a small fidget toy, quiet books, mini book sets or mess free colouring or water painting books, my toddler loved this one on our recent long haul flight.
  • Always download Bluey, Wiggles, Playschool or any of your toddlers fave shows so they are ready to go as needed!
  • Sit your toddler in the window seat, this can keep them quite happily entertained during the tricky parts of take off and landing.
  • Most importantly, DO NOT worry about the person in front of you that keeps looking over their shoulder- just smile and wave!

Eating out on holidays and enjoying day tours with your toddler 

Having a few items to make outings easier with you toddler can relieve stress, try taking along:

  • A sticky bowl and catchy bib!
  • Pick restaurants with playgrounds and take the iPad or a simple colouring set or mess free colouring pad to keep them busy during.
  • Book age-appropriate outings, or locations that keep your toddlers natural need to move and explore in mind
  • If naps need to happen whilst out, they probably won’t happen the way you want them too but don’t worry it will all even out…. eventually. 

Our final thoughts on travelling with a toddler;

Expect to have a toddler who sleeps less, clings more and has the usual battles like getting dressed or wearing hats (with slightly more emotional meltdowns!). These times in your lives are fleeting and remember, it will get easier. So, the big question, is traveling with a toddler worth it? Yes, absolutely. The memories you make are well worth it (just follow our tips!)

If you would like to stay in the loop and get all our toddler tips , tools and toddler related blog posts sent straight to your inbox then sign up to our newsletter below!

We are here to help you help your toddler (while staying sane yourself)! That is why we created or Raise Toddlers Membership.

Always adhere to the toy safety instructions and age recommendations on each toy product you buy to suit your child’s age and always supervise their use of toys to ensure safety.

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About the author

Mandy Richardson is a qualified Early Childhood Educator and also holds a Masters in Childhood Studies. She is currently completing her PhD in Respectful Parenting Methods. She is passionate about promoting a positive parent-child relationship and a natural, slow paced, peaceful and fulfilling childhood.

Past Posts

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The Regulation Station

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Toddler Temperaments 101

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Saying Goodbye to the Dummy

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