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31 Parent-Approved Tips for Traveling with Kids

father traveling with daughter in airport

Travel-minded parents take note: It is possible to travel with little ones. Traveling with kids might look slightly different than an adults-only getaway, but bringing children along on your travels is totally doable. If you’re looking to take to the friendly skies this season with your crew, follow along. Our expert tips on traveling with babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children will make your journey a breeze.

10 Tips for Traveling with Babies

Babies can make great travel partners. Even though they won’t remember the experience, exposing them to new sights, sounds, and environments early on may help them develop positive life skills. Plus, they’re able to fly free on most airlines! To make traveling with a baby pain-free, consider these tips.

1. Babywear in the airport.

Just keep in mind that you might have to take the baby out of the carrier as you pass through airport security.

And no, holding your baby too much won’t spoil them. Check out the other myths we debunk here.

2. Invest in a good, lightweight travel stroller.

On average, umbrella strollers weigh approximately 12-16 lbs., so they’re easier to tote around than a traditional stroller. 

3. Bring a travel car seat.

If you’re wondering what car seat to bring on a plane, consider one that’s lightweight and simple to carry. Cosco and Doona car seats are popular options for plane travel.

4. Use puppy pads as changing liners.

For quick diaper changes, use puppy pads as a liner on public changing tables. That way, you can protect your baby from a germy surface and quickly clean up and dispose of messes.

5. Keep baby well-hydrated and fed.

Bring plenty of TSA-exempt items, like formula or water, so your baby doesn’t get sick from dehydration during a flight. 

mother feeding baby a bottle at airport

6. Feed baby during cabin pressure change.

Baby ears are affected by cabin pressure changes, too. Nurse or give your baby a bottle during takeoff and landing to prevent pressure in the ears. 

7. Pack favorite playthings.

If your baby has a favorite toy or stuffie that helps calm or entertain them, bring it along. It might save you a mid-air meltdown.

8. Keep plans loose.

By keeping an open mind and allowing for flexibility, you and baby will both be less stressed.

9. Pack more diapers than you think you’ll need.

Flights are often delayed or rescheduled, so stuff an extra two days’ worth of diapers in your carry-on.

10. Time your flights according to baby’s nap schedule.

The best way to make flying with a baby a dream is to do everything possible to ensure they nap during flight time. 

11 Travel Tips for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Toddlers and preschool-aged children love to run, jump, and play. And their newfound energy and independence can be put to good use during your travels, too. Get them ready for the big getaway by doing these things:

1. Prep your child for the trip.

Giving them a rough breakdown of your plans will ease their fears and inspire fun.

2. Check your airport’s website for play areas.

Some airports, like San Francisco International Airport and Miami International Airport, have play areas for kids to enjoy.

3. Download shows and games to a tablet.

You can keep your child entertained on a long flight by downloading their favorite movie, show, or game onto a tablet.

4. Bring all the snacks.

Snacks like pretzels, crackers, cheese, fruit, seed butters, cookies, and apple sauce are all travel-friendly.

5. Let them carry something.

Allow them to carry a backpack or small travel case filled with non-sentimental, non-essential items so your little helpers feel like big kids.

toddler rolling suitcase through airport

6. Potty right before the flight.

Take your child to the bathroom right before the flight to decrease the chance of an emergency potty break during takeoff.

7. Surprise them with new toys.

Go to the dollar store for cheap, no-mess toys. Sticker books, crayons, and invisible markers are all fun entertainment options during a flight or long car ride.

8. Lollipops for landing and takeoff.

Sucking on a lollipop will relieve the pressure in the ears—a sweet treat that does the trick.

9. Pack the reusable water bottle.

Instead of spending $10 for bottled water at the airport, fill their water bottle at a fountain after going through security.

10. Track your little.

Secure a tracking device on your child before you go to an outdoor festival, amusement park, or mall in case you get separated.

11. Bring a travel booster seat.

Compact and inflatable booster seats exist so you can always keep your child safe—even when traveling to faraway places. 

10 Tips for Traveling with School-aged Kids

Capable of expressing their emotions, likes, and dislikes, elementary-aged kids are mature enough to handle travel with ease—and excitement. Lean into their strengths and consider these tips for traveling with school-aged kids.

1. Check with their school.

Some schools only allow a certain amount of absences. Failure to abide by the rules may result in consequences.

2. Pack a first-aid kit.

Include a digital thermometer, band-aids, disinfectant spray, alcohol wipes, ibuprofen, wet wipes, and tweezers.

3. Involve them in the planning.

Spark wonder by getting their input on attractions they’d like to see or having them plan an afternoon of fun. 

4. Let the kids pack their own stuff.

Allow them to pack some things they want to bring, like clothes, shoes, and entertainment.

two children packing suitcase with mother

5. Train for your travel expeditions.

Whether you expect to hike up a mountain or take a long bike ride across town, practice the same type of physical activity before you go.

6. Expect the unexpected.

Illnesses, travel delays, and booking mistakes happen. Allow for setbacks and give yourself some grace. 

7. Let them be kids.

Infuse some play time with learning time so they get the most out of the experience. 

8. Bring the scooter.

The scooter is a savior for the I-don’t-want-to-walk kids. 

9. Offer your child a way to record their adventures.

A journal, camera, or cell phone will allow them to capture their own memories.

Want a photographic escape? Check out “Top Places to Visit for the Best Pictures.”

10. Consider inviting travel buddies.

Invite friends or family with children the same age as yours so they can entertain each other during downtime.

7 of the Happiest Cities to Visit in North America

Now that you’re packed with all the best tips for traveling with kids, it’s time to plan your next family vacay. Check out “7 of the Happiest Cities to Visit in North America” for travel inspiration.


What documents does a child need to fly within the U.S.?

The documents a child needs to fly within the U.S. will vary by airline. Check the airline’s website for their policies. Typically, people under the age of 18 don’t have to present an ID to travel domestically.

What is the hardest age to travel with a child?

12 to 18 months might be the hardest age to travel with a child. It’s difficult to plan around their nap schedule, can be stressful to calm a squirmy crawler or a newly-walking baby, and they often want to be carried when tired.

What is a good age to travel with kids?

Four to six years old is a good age to travel with kids. That’s because they’re more independent, understand directions from grown-ups, can express their needs, and have energy for travel.