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Challenge: Summer Fun

Making Life Easier when Traveling with a Toddler

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My daughter LOVES to travel. She became a little traveler at the age of one, when we moved from the United States to Japan. I will say it was pretty scary for a first time mom, having to travel by plane with a one year old, and add in the mix of traveling to another country. Could make for a long, stressful flight.


I wanted to make the move and flight as easy as possible. All of our household goods were already in transit to Japan. We had three very large suitcases, a stroller, and car seat in tow. Four years later we did that move again from Japan to United States, with a lot less luggage in tow this time. We have traveled by automobile, plane, train, and shinkansen (bullet train) with our daughter. And she loves every bit of it, but the shinkansen is by far her favorite mode of transportation.

I hope these tips will help new moms and dads with planning a trip to visit family in a neighboring State or taking an international flight. Of course each kid is different, so some may work wonderfully and others may not work the best for you family. What’s great about these tips, you can also tailor them to fit your family. As always, it is a learning experience when traveling with little ones.

In Japan, majority of kids and parents carried some type of kid backpack. My daughter always has her backpack with her. No matter how long or short a trip, her toddler size backpack always comes in hand. Here are some tips to help make life easier when traveling with a toddler.

  • Lots of snacks. Having your toddler’s favorite snacks (and even a few for yourself) makes it easy to calm them down when they get a little fussy.
  • Entertainment. For any trip, we do not leave home without the iPad mini and DS when traveling. Sometimes even for just running errands I’ll toss the DS in my handbag. Also bringing a favorite toy, helps the little ones entertain themselves when waiting in an airport or while in car on the road trip. It’s also good to pack some activities like coloring books, crayons, and blank paper for drawing/writing.
  • Change of clothes. Even though my daughter is potty train, accidents and slips can happen. It’s better to be prepared, instead of having to buy something on the go.
  • Fly at nap time or bedtime. Living in Japan, many of the flights were usually evening flights when we flew back to the USA. This made for an easier flight, as not only did my little one sleep; we the parents were also able to get a little shuteye too. If you can book an evening flight, I say go for it.
  • Pack a small surprise. On our last flight I packed a couple of small surprises in my handbag, which I would give to our daughter. They were small and inexpensive things. I brought a travel-size coloring book with her favorite character. A small toy she could play with on the airplane. I gave her one while waiting for the plane to board, one while on the plane, and one at a layover. Kids LOVE getting gifts and this was a hit with my daughter. It helps put a smile on kid’s face who may just be a little tried and grumpy from traveling.

I hope these are able to help with planning the next trip. As parents all we want is for the trip to so smoothly and the kids be happy and enjoy traveling. I know my daughter loves to travel and is always ready for a new adventure. Happy summer!

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