5 Great Tips for Traveling with Your Toddler During the Holidays

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Image adapted via Flickr/ donnierayjones

The holidays are here with Thanksgiving just around the corner and the December celebrations quickly thereafter. It's a fun time of year when we're all making plans, checking our lists twice, getting together with family, and making traveling arrangements.

If you're going to be traveling any distance — short or long — with your toddler, it may be a challenge. Remember that time you thought you'd take your toddler with you for a quick trip to Target because you needed something right away and they would be OK to miss nap time? Remember how epically wrong you were? Yeah, traveling during the holidays with your toddler is kind of like that, but bigger.

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Before you make your traveling plans, here are 5 tips that will make it all a little easier.

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Image via Flickr/ donnierayjones

Be mindful of the traveling times.

If you found the cheapest flight tickets and you were just about to hit “purchase,” double check that they're not super affordable because they're for that middle-of-the-night redeye flight. Trust me, you're probably going to want to spend a little extra on the flight that doesn't interrupt your child's usual sleep time — if you can.

Sure, you're going to justify it, saying your toddler is just going to sleep through it, but you're not going to be pleased when/if they don't. Keep the traveling times in mind and leave a lot of extra time for bathroom breaks, tantrums, food, etc. for your sanity!

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Image via Flickr/ Lars Plougmann

Prepare, prepare, prepare!

If you want to keep your sanity during the holiday travel time with your toddler, make sure you think ahead. Pack for what you need, plan your destinations ahead of time, and think about what could happen and what you'd need just in case (like more diapers than you think you'd need or that extra favorite blanket).

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“For short trips: snacks and water bottle. He will always ask for water and a snack the moment we arrive to our destination. Also, an extra set of clothes because toddlers are messy! Depending on the season, add sunscreen, hat, mitts (I keep a spare pair of mitts in his coat pocket). I try to keep what we need to a minimum — less things to lose or worry about when we are out!” – Emily, mother of two children.

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Image via Flickr/ donnierayjones

Lower your expectations.

I am a grown adult and I don't enjoy certain parts of traveling, and I can imagine that if I don't that a toddler would not enjoy it all either. I don't think you need to excuse your child's behavior and assume they're going to be at their worst during holiday travel, but lower your expectations of others a little.

It's going to be crowded, other travelers are going to be grumpy, and just having a slightly lower threshold of how easy it's going to be should ensure that you won't be frazzled when things go a little left instead of right.

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Image via Flickr/ Rodolfo Nunez

Think shiny and new.

If you're going to be in the car, in a plane, or a strange new place, think new! Toddlers love new toys, and if you're in need of keeping them entertained through something as boring as being still in car seat or on a plane, put together a backpack of fun new items for them to open during the boring parts of travel.

“When I had two under the age of 3, I had a separate backpack with all new things for them: new books, new small toys, new snacks. The novelty of it all kept them enthralled for the flight.” – Alexandra, mother of three children

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Image via Flickr/ mundo resink

Have fun.

The holiday season should be all about having fun, and while traveling with crowds and young kids can be anything but fun, try to make it a good time. Doing so will keep your stress down, your child's stress levels down, and that's just going to keep everyone happier and better behaved.

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What are your tips for making traveling during the holidays more bearable? Share in the comments!

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5 Great Tips for Traveling with Your Toddler During the Holidays

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award and named one of Babble's “25 bloggers wh ... More

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