Traveling with a Toddler and an Infant

It’s that time of year when we’re all traveling all over the place to be with friends and family. For some people, traveling is fun. For others, it’s kind of a pain but worth it. But for parents, it’s the kind of situation where you hold your breath from the second you leave your house until the second you reach your destination just hoping that your kids aren’t going to have a complete meltdown! I have been there so many times! Whether it’s a cross-country flight or a road trip to see friends, both Molly and Riley have done their fair share of traveling. And I have done my fair share of breath holding.

For those of you who are new to my blog, Molly is my two-year-old daughter and Riley is my six-month-old son. And just recently we did a six hour cross country flight from Los Angeles to the east coast and back. We went into the trip as prepared as we could be, but definitely came home from the trip with some more knowledge and things I wish we would have done. Today on my blog I’m sharing my best tips and tricks for traveling with a baby or a toddler, or GASP – both!

1. LIGHT BLUE TOP | 2. BLUSH SUITCASE | 3. BLUSH THROW BLANKET | 4. MIRROR | 5. WHITE LAMP | 6. BURLAP PILLOW

7. LOVE NECKLACE | 8. I DO I DO RING | 9. SWEATHEART RING

CARRY ON BAGS –

Before kids I was never one to travel with a carry-on bag. Really, the only carry-on bag I would have was a purse large enough to carry everything I’d need for the flight. Like my laptop, phone, wallet and a few other things. But now that I have kids, not only do I travel with a large purse, but I also travel with multiple carry-on suitcases and bags! So if you’re like me and didn’t have proper carry-on baggage before having kids, I strongly suggest you invest in some now! And honestly now is a great time with all the Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals going on. My blush suitcase in these photos is actually 20% off with free shipping with code FRIENDS. But you just don’t want one suitcase. You want the suitcase to carry the load of what you’re going to be bringing on the plane, which is a lot! But then you also want other bags that are easily accessible that you can put under the seat in front of you to grab things throughout the flight. Like my next suggestion.

BAG OF TRICKS –

Whenever we go on a long car ride or long plane ride with our kids we always make sure to have a bag of tricks! Not necessarily for Riley since he’s so little, but definitely for a toddler! Kevin will just go to the dollar store and buy a bunch of inexpensive toys that he’ll put in a bag and give a new one to Molly every 20 to 30 minutes throughout the flight. And as we know, kids can get tired of toys pretty quickly so being able to surprise Molly with something new when she gets bored with the first item she was playing with, saved her sanity at many points during the trip. She loves Moana right now so Kevin went to the bookstore and found a book that came with a bunch of Moana figurines. About a dozen of them! So while we were on the plane and Molly was watching her Moana movie we would pull out a new figurine every so often and she would get so excited to see all her favorite characters (yes I highly suggest getting a tablet and allowing your child to use it for travel days. Not ever parent is going to agree with this, but for me it’s totally ok to let them have screen time in these instances!)

BABY CARRIER –

A good baby carrier is absolutely essential when you travel via airplane with an infant. I wrote about this once before when I did travel tips with an infant when Molly was little. And it came in super handy with Riley this trip as well. It’s honestly the only way we can get him to nap on an airplane. He’s not the type of baby, and neither was Molly, that will fall asleep in our arms. So what we would do is put him in the baby carrier facing inward and put a breathable blanket, like this one, over him and walk up and down the aisles a few times until he fell asleep. Then honestly one of us would just stand in the back or front of the plane for 45 minutes or so he could get a somewhat decent nap in. The one we use is on sale today FYI.

 

1. LIGHT BLUE TOP | 2. BLUSH SUITCASE | 3. BLUSH THROW BLANKET | 4. MIRROR | 5. WHITE LAMP | 6. BURLAP PILLOW

7. LOVE NECKLACE | 8. I DO I DO RING | 9. SWEATHEART RING

THROW BLANKETS –

When you’re traveling with your baby you’re going to be putting them on a lot of random floors. Ha! I’m not even kidding. You won’t have your fancy baby bouncer or baby walker to put your baby in when you’re not holding him or her. And you can’t hold your baby 24/7 when you’re traveling. So whether it’s at a relatives house or on a hotel floor, you’ll eventually want to put your little guy or gal down. We found that we were in hotels we were absolutely disgusted at the thought of putting him down on the floor where God knows what has happened. Obviously, we felt better about it when at friends or family’s houses. But still, you really don’t know what’s on anybody’s floor. So we made sure to pack a handful of throw blankets and muslin blankets for Riley to play on throughout our trip. This blush throw blanket is one we had in our master bedroom and I just threw in our suitcase when I was packing.

BLACK TRASH BAGS –

This tip was given to me by our sleep trainer and it’s such a great piece of advice! So thank you Kimberly for giving it to us! She recommended that when we travel with the kids to pack black garbage bags and tape them around the windows wherever we are staying. Not everyone has black out curtains and not every hotel has black out curtains. And both of our little ones sleep in complete darkness with white noise machines on. So when we travel we not only make sure to pack our white noise machines, but we also pack the garbage bags. Sometimes will be in a really nice hotel room and it looks absolutely comical because we will be taping these ugly black bags all over the windows. But it works! Especially when you’re switching times zones! When we travel east we try to keep the kids on their same sleeping schedule. Meaning that they go to bed around 6:30 PM Pacific time but when we travel to the East Coast we will put them to bed at 9:30 PM Eastern time to keep them on the same schedule. But that means they’re waking up three hours later as well. So instead of waking up at 6 AM when we’re on the West Coast, they wake up at 9 AM on the East Coast. Because it’s 6 AM our time. You guys get the point. Anyway, because of that, the sun is up for a few hours before we want them to get up. So the black garbage bags are absolutely essential and have absolutely saved us on our trips!

1. LIGHT BLUE TOP | 2. BLUSH SUITCASE | 3. BLUSH THROW BLANKET | 4. MIRROR | 5. WHITE LAMP | 6. BURLAP PILLOW

7. LOVE NECKLACE | 8. I DO I DO RING | 9. SWEATHEART RING

PATIENCE AND A POSITIVE VIBES –

No matter how much you prepare, things are going to go wrong. And I’ve found that when we go into trips with positive vibes and ready to laugh at all the chaos that will surely ensue, the trips always turns out better. Plus I totally believe that kids can read energy. And if  you have bad energy, they will too! BTW, the “love” necklace I am wearing is from my affordable jewelry line and it a constant reminded to me to always come from a place of love in everything I do. And it’s 25% off today!

Well that’s all I’ve got for now. I’ve written about this topic before on my blog HEREHERE and HERE so check out those posts too for my other tips! Good lucky with all your Holiday travel!

45 Thoughts

45 thoughts on “Traveling with a Toddler and an Infant

  1. Hi Ali,

    I feel bad that your kids are seem to be waking you up at all hours, but didnt Riley just have sleep training? Is it still working? I hope that it didnt mess things up with them being sick and that you can get back to a good sleeping schedule soon. Happy Holidays.

  2. We just got back from a Thanksgiving trip (via plane) with our 2.5 year old and 6 month old. All of your tricks are basically exactly what we did (minus the trash bags- that one is genius and makes me giggle to picture it!). We have a little backpack we got for our son from REI that we had him help pack with 5 books, a stuffed animal, and some small toys (he chose egg shakers and mini animals). Not only was it helpful on the flight, but it was great when we went out to eat or saw new family/friends because he always had something to show them and then play with while we were out. We also always pack our thermometer and Tylenol/Ibuprofin for both kids…. Also super helpful is to use a car seat bag for transporting the seats and stash diapers, pillows, etc in them! Extra storage there instead of an extra bag. Your kids are just precious and I bet our travel adventures were pretty similar. 😉

    1. You definitely know what it was like then! Ha! Yes, the trash bags really are such an awesome idea! So glad our sleep trainer told us about it!

  3. Hi Ali
    Great tips for travelers with little ones & the Dollar store has so many affordable treasures. I really like your new jewelry line! (Do you ship to Canada?)
    Happy Tuesday

  4. Redi blackout shades (they’re basically paper blinds) are a super cheap solution if you’re staying more than a night…they come with an easy adhesive strip at the top and clips so you don’t have to be in blackout mode the whole visit. We use them at my parents’ when we visit.

  5. Hi Ali! Great tips – we just took our 2 year old on her first flight and we packed a bag of surprises. It helped tremendously!! And we do the same thing while traveling with the black trash bags….sleep is so important!

    Also – can you share where you purchased your Merry Christmas wrapping paper? I love it!!

    1. We wouldn’t have survived the trip without the little toys and trash bags, life savers!!

      Hmmm, I got that paper last year and had some leftover! I think it was Walmart or Target! Sorry that I can’t give you a more definitive answer!

  6. Hi Ali!
    Do you travel with a stroller? Do you hate check it? What are yourvthoughts on stroller travel cases?
    Any stroller travel tips?
    Thanks!

    1. Hey! So just travelled with an infant, we got a stroller bag and checked it with our bags. Our baby loves her carrier and we just thought it would be easier to not be struggling with the stroller while getting on the plane. If we had more than one kid, would have kept the stroller and gate checked it. But I highly recommend a bag, airlines are notorious for miss handling items, and I have heard many will not cover any damages if it is not in a bag

  7. We are leaving for vacation with our 6 month old next week and I am so nervous about the flight! It’s only 4 hours .. but it’s at 6am! She’s a great sleeper .. 730-730 but I’m going to have to wake her up at 4am to go to the airport.. any tips ??

    1. Hi Rebecca
      I personally thought traveling with a non-walker was the easiest haha. We took so many trips before our middle child turned 1- idk if you nurse but I just put him in the breast and he did great!! We even did international travel and it was a breeze. It’s once they get mobile that it gets difficult in my opinion! Now we have a 3 yr old and a 16 month old and we never travel haha.

  8. Window clings are a great time waster for toddlers in the plane.

    I also travel blackout curtains that suction to the windows. Amazon sell them and they are amazing!! Between that and our Rohm travel noise machine our toddler sleeps so well (even though we have to tip toe around).

  9. All good tips and things we did with my three kiddos when traveling. We lived far from family and my kids were used to very long car rides, and plane trips from the time they were born. I’ll have to admit going on the plane with all three of them by myself was hectic and crazy, but doable. So my best tip is….DO travel with your kids! When you get them used to it from the time they are little, it gets easier and easier. I have two grandkids who have been to Europe, Iceland, and now live in the Japan for three years (military). I tell ya, those kids are seasoned! So, parents, get your kids used to it early and often as much as you can! Oh, and don’t be bothered by those who give you dirty looks if your child won’t stop crying no matter what you do. I just smile and say a prayer for those people….haha.

  10. Love the busy books idea! We have some for our daughter and they are great. I think we have trolls and inside out for sure, but our Barnes and noble had a TON of different ones. Ours likes a small cookie sheet with magnets too, I don’t know how practical for air travel that it but car travel it’s awesome. We’re planning our first trip with our four year old and I’m kind of dreading it.

  11. Great tips! I’m due with my 1st in March and we plan on traveling with him in October. I need to make sure I remember these!

  12. I’m a momma to 4 sweet young kids. (7,4,3, and 11 months) I feel like it takes us a week at least to plan out our kids suprise bags and everything else. We love to travel with them. I hate to be away from them. 🙂 You had some very relatable tips!! Never thought of the the black plastic bags though!! We will have to try that out sometime.

  13. We are headed to Hawaii in January with our girls, 2.5 and newborn now. Nervous and excited! We will definitely have the iPad loaded with movies and shows! It’s totally worth the moment of sanity. I know you know the feeling! And I have the organic suckers and fruit snacks. Should at least get us through an hour of the 7 hour flight! Pray for us😂
    We survived a trip to Ireland when my daughter was 15 mo, so surely I can do this!🤞🏼
    Thanks for everything, Ali! I look forward to your posts every day.❤️
    Happy Holidays!

    1. Ok I need your tips on the trip to Ireland with a 15 month old! We are flying next month to St John USVI from Oregon with our 15 month old and taking a red eye for the first flight. I am petrified!

  14. Thia is a realy random comment but I’ve been wsiting to find the right eirds for a really long time.

    Dear ali my luv. And I truly believe that i can call you that because…your blog is called aliluvs, i luv you for inspiring me with everything i luv and that through this year you just made me luv myself as a mom,wife, professional and gave me a luv for everything i beliieved in. Im from South Africa so it’s such a far stretch but you inspired me every morning. Once upon a time it took me 45 minutes to get out of bed…i had to set my alarm at 5am and since i found your blog it got me out of bed staight away. Im qualified as a teacher, doula, trauma counsellor and educational psychologist but through my psychology internship this year i just lost my way. I founded myself not having time for anything this year. Every day i help other kids except my own. You have inspired me to scale down next year to have time to make time for my own kids, invest in my own marriage and make time for me. I have watched your wedding video over and over again and made my husband watch it to😉and what an inspiration. After 10 years of studying full time with two kids aged 7 and 2 and having lost myself and 4 miscarriages along the way…your blog and experiences have brought me back to my core. I remember watching your season of the bachelorette and man oh man i never knew how that girl in front of a 100 bushes of roses would change my life. You bring calmness, mommy life, tranquility and family into a perfect balance. I will never get the time to meet you but just know you have made my day…every single day. Charne

  15. Dear ali my luv. And I truly believe that i can call you that because…your blog is called aliluvs, i luv you for inspiring me with everything i luv and that through this year you just made me luv myself as a mom,wife, professional and gave me a luv for everything i beliieved in. Im from South Africa so it’s such a far stretch but you inspired me every morning. Once upon a time it took me 45 minutes to get out of bed…i had to set my alarm at 5am and since i found your blog it got me out of bed staight away. Im qualified as a teacher, doula, trauma counsellor and educational psychologist but through my psychology internship this year i just lost my way. I founded myself not having time for anything this year. Every day i help other kids except my own. You have inspired me to scale down next year to have time to make time for my own kids, invest in my own marriage and make time for me. I have watched your wedding video over and over again and made my husband watch it to😉and what an inspiration. After 10 years of studying full time with two kids aged 7 and 2 and having lost myself and 4 babies along the way…your blog and experiences have brought be back to my core. I remember watching your season of the bachelorette and man oh man i never knew how that girl in front of a 100 bushes of roses would change my life. You bring calmness, mommy life, tranquility and family into a perfect balance. I will never get the time to meet you but just know you have made my day…every single day. Charne

  16. My tip is RELAX. If you are anxious around your kids about travelling, they will usually react similarly. Sometimes there’s really nothing you can do but go with the flow, even if disaster is ensuing (ie: a massive diaper blowout on a plane…this has happened to me more than once with both of my kids! Something about the change in air pressure?!)
    I often find myself just taking a deep breath, putting on a smile and trying to find the humour in it all. (Yes, I’m Canadian – you can tell by how I spelled humour 😉 )
    There are MANY challenging moments when travelling with young children and babies, but just go into it all with positivity and you will be surprised with the outcome!

  17. Sorry for all the spelling errors in the first paragraph. South African autocorrect🙈 This a really random comment but I’ve been waiting to find the right words for a realy long time. CHARNE

  18. Great tips, thanks for sharing! We are traveling to FL from the Midwest this weekend with kids the same age as yours – I’ll def be using some of these ideas!!

  19. Hi Ali!

    I have a two year old daughter as well and will be travelling from Toronto to France in April and wondered if you travel with your car seat for Molly? I’m assuming she’s big enough now to sit in her own seat on the plane without a car seat, but I’m so new to this and terrified about the whole idea of such a long flight being her first flight, that I have no idea what I’ll need. I’m assuming when we land, you can order a car with a car seat, is that a thing? I’m also a control freak and having her in a car seat that I don’t know the history of freaks me out!

    Thank you!
    Leanne

  20. So many great tips, thank you Ali! I love your blog. I have a question that is totally unrelated to this post but related to one of your insta stories…what is the name of the baby walker that Riley uses? I’d love to get one for my son who is around the same age 🙂

  21. Any tips for changing diapers when poops happen on the plane? We are flying with a lap infant in December! 4 months old. She did great in our Tula last time we flew except for when we were landing and she refused to nurse or suck a bottle. Hoping her ears don’t pop again this time! Is it worth it to buy the movies on cross country flights?

    1. Just took our 5 month old to Australia and he had a mighty poop on the way back. What helped was using the covering that they use for cloth diapers over the outside of the disposable. It contained the mess! Then I just used the changing table in the bathroom and was able to change him like normal. Bring ziplock bags for any soiled items!

  22. Clorox wipes are a must! Wipe down the tray table, seat belt, arm rests etc… many studies have shown they are FILLED with nasty stuff!

  23. Love the garbage bag trick! I bought yards of blackout fabric from the fabric store, and take that with me when we travel. It works so well! Also, I never travel without electrical tape, because I hate blinking lights in hotel rooms (any room) haha! Electrical tape does the trick!

  24. Ali, luv ur idea on bringing black garbage bags…I’ll certainly do that next time. Thank goodness I brought blackouts from home as my parents home in Laos do not have them..but for sure garbage bags is the cheap alternative.
    I travelled ALONE with 2.5 yrs old & 6 months old for a 24 hours trip… wasn’t easy but survived. I learned from previous experiences is to travel less – so got myself a Mountain Buggy which is a 2in1 carryon luggage/stroller. Had that with backpack plus baby carrier and made trip smoother. Will be doing another 24 hours trip back home, but atleast will have hubs tagging along this time around. Now kids are older, may be a tougher go around…xfingers it will go smoothly 😁
    Snacks and lots of activities/toys are musts on a trip!

  25. Oh my gosh the black trash bags are GENIUS!!!! We just got back from a trip to the mountains and were taping brown paper bags to the windows! Taking another trip this weekend and those will definitely be making the trip with us. Thanks for the tip!

  26. Thank you for this blog post! We’ll be traveling with a two year old and a seven month old, so I’ll definitely be referring back to this post! The black trash bags are such a great idea! And the bag of tricks- anything to keep a toddler still for hours on an airplane and then a long car ride. Do you have any tips on keeping them from getting sick while traveling? I’m so nervous about traveling over the holidays because of all the germs. The sick season already seems so bad and with the kids touching everything and hands constantly going to their mouths…eek. Trying to be proactive!

  27. Hi Ali- have you ever had to travel west instead of east? We are traveling with a 15 month from the east coast to first CA then Hawaii. At home she goes to sleep at 7:30pm and wakes at 8am. That would be putting her to bed at 4:30 and her waking at 5am on when we were in CA and even worse times in Hawaii. Any tips for that?

  28. Check out SlumberPod.com. I have one of these for my toddler, and I don’t have to tape up garbage bags anymore when we travel. It’s a total darkness tent that fits over a pack n play or toddler bed. Has ventilation and a spot for the monitor. My daughter loves it. She says it’s her house and gets so excited!

  29. We are flying over the holidays with our 2 year old and 3 month old. eeek! Thanks for all the tips, especially love the little toy ideas to give out when they start to get restless! Do you use anything special for Riley to sleep in once you got to your destination? We are renting a house for a week and they don’t offer a crib or anything so struggling with what to bring/use.

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