Traveling with babies and toddlers for the first time can seem like a daunting task, but with the right preparation and mindset, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience that strengthens family bonds and creates cherished memories.

As a mom of six, including a lively 2-year-old, I’ve embraced family travel as a key way to connect and build lasting memories. Here’s my guide to making your first journey with little ones as smooth and enjoyable as possible!

9 Essential Toddler Travel Tips

Choose Toddler and Baby-Friendly Destinations

First things first: when choosing a vacation spot, think about how friendly it is for the littlest travelers. Disney Cruises are a stellar choice for families with young ones. They offer unique nursery services for children aged 2 and under who aren’t potty trained yet, allowing you some well-deserved adult time.

Here are some other amazing toddler-friendly destinations:

  • Orlando, Florida: Home to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, Orlando offers countless attractions, character meet-and-greets, and child-friendly accommodations.
  • San Diego, California: With the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, and numerous beaches, San Diego is perfect for outdoor and animal-loving families.
  • Copenhagen, Denmark: Known for Tivoli Gardens and the Children’s Museum, Copenhagen is incredibly family-friendly with its safe, walkable streets and numerous parks.
  • Honolulu, Hawaii: Beaches with calm waters, the Honolulu Zoo, and the Waikiki Aquarium make Honolulu a great pick for families wanting a tropical getaway.
  • London, England: London offers the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, and many parks, making it an enriching city trip for families.

  • Paris, France: With enchanting attractions like Disneyland Paris and the Cité des Sciences, plus beautiful gardens and boat rides on the Seine, Paris is a delight for families.
  • Sydney, Australia: Visit the Sydney Aquarium, Taronga Zoo, and numerous child-friendly beaches, or take a ferry ride for stunning harbor views.
  • Vancouver, Canada: Kid-friendly activities abound, from the Science World to the Vancouver Aquarium, and the beautiful Stanley Park.
  • Tokyo, Japan: Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea, plus Ueno Zoo and countless interactive museums, make Tokyo an exciting destination for families.
  • Anaheim, California: The home of Disneyland Resort, offering a magical experience for children with character encounters, rides, and shows tailored to young visitors.

Maintain Sleep Routines

One of the biggest challenges when traveling with young children is keeping their sleep routines consistent. Stick to the usual bedtime books and songs and bring along their favorite sleep sack to provide comfort and familiarity in a new environment. This little bit of home helps soothe your toddler or baby, making it easier for them to fall asleep amidst the excitement.


Pack Smart

Packing efficiently is key to a stress-free experience. Here’s what you absolutely can’t forget:

  • Sleepsack: For consistent bedtime routines.
  • Sun Hat and Sunscreen: To protect delicate skin from the sun’s rays.
  • Diaper Bag with a Changing Pad: Organizes essentials for quick changes.
  • Ergo Carrier: For hands-free comfort and mobility, perfect for airports and exploring.
  • Travel Stroller: Lightweight and easy to maneuver in crowded places.
  • Toddler Utensils and Baby Feeding Supplies: Bring familiar snacks and utensils to ease mealtime struggles.

  • Sippy Cups/Bottles: Extra ones, because they tend to get lost!
  • Bottle Soap & Brush: For easy cleaning on the go.
  • Pacifiers & Clips: Spare ones to avoid any fuss.
  • Bibs: To keep those cute outfits clean.
  • Diaper Wipes & Cream: Essential for quick cleanups and preventing rashes.
  • Kids’ Medicines/Vitamins: Don’t leave behind any necessary medications.
  • Car Seat: A travel-friendly option like the WAYB Pico ensures safety and ease.
  • Swim Diapers: Needed for most pools and water parks.

Bring a Baby Carrier

A reliable baby carrier, like the Ergo, is indispensable. It keeps your child close and your hands-free, easing the physical strain of carrying your baby or toddler through airports and new cities.

The Ergobaby Away is my favorite! It is lightweight and easy to fold up for packing.


Plan for Snacks and Meals

Toddlers and babies can be unpredictable eaters, so having their favorite snacks and necessary feeding supplies on hand is a must. Utilizing hotel breakfasts to grab extra fruit or snacks for the day can save you from constant purchases and keep little tummies happy.


Take Breaks and Enjoy the Journey

Travel can overwhelm little ones, so pace your activities and allow for regular breaks. This gives them time to explore and play, which not only burns off energy but also increases their enjoyment of new environments.


mom and baby on a flight

Safety First

Always prioritize safety by using appropriate car seats, strollers, and harnesses. Keep a small first-aid kit handy for minor scrapes or bumps. Investing in a travel-friendly car seat like the WAYB Pico not only ensures safety but also promotes better behavior and sleep for your child.


Leverage Screen Time Strategically

While many parents limit screen time at home, travel (especially flying) can be a perfect time to bend the rules a bit for smoother journeys. Load an iPad with your toddler’s favorite apps and shows to keep them engaged and content during the trip.

Here are my toddler’s favorite apps and shows:

  • VideoTouch
  • Peekaboo Barn
  • Bimi Boo
  • Doodle Tree
  • My Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Disney+ and PBS Kids

Capture the Moments

Don’t forget to document these precious moments. Photos and videos of your toddler’s first dip in the ocean or their wide-eyed wonder at seeing a Disney character are priceless.


Armed with these tips, you’re ready to tackle your first trip with babies and toddlers head-on. Embrace the adventure, prepare for the bumps along the way, and remember that every moment is an opportunity to make lasting family memories.

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Emily Myers
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