Travel with toddler – lots of tips from the experts

More and more parents travel with toddlers on both short trips in their own country and longer trips abroad. Travel with toddlers is an exciting experience, as you rediscover the world through the eyes of a child! But it’s a good idea to be well prepared. We give you expert tips for toddler-friendly travelling.

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – Curious toddler pointing out through a plane window; toddler-friendly travel.
Photo: Johnér

The days when we were ‘just’ parents are long gone: we want to have adventures and still enjoy our active lifestyles once our children are born.

“This is an international trend and these days parents automatically assume their kids will be joining them in more and more situations,” says Maria Lexhagen, a lecturer and researcher in tourism studies and the director of the tourism research centre, ETOUR, at Mid Sweden University.

We don’t want our lives to radically change one we’ve had kids – we want our kids to join in and enjoy that life.

All-inclusive, kids clubs and special family queues at airports.

“Parents of toddlers are also a strong and demanding target group. Travel operators are trying to meet their demands,” says Maria Lexhagen, citing examples such as all-inclusive alternatives, the kids clubs at various destinations and the fact that more and more airports are offering special family queues.

Toddler-friendly travelling

Travel with a toddler may feel exciting and daunting in equal measures. Is it really OK to travel with a brand new little person? Of course it is, says child and parent psychologist Catarina Furmark.

A parent’s emotional composure before the trip is just as much a factor as the change of surroundings. It’s also especially important for you as a parent to be aware of the signals sent by your toddler – and you – while you’re travelling.

“If your toddler can stay close to you, remain in physical contact and feel they can rely on you to remain calm, your toddler will also stay calm,” says Catarina Furmark.

Is it really OK to travel with a brand new little person?

From a medical standpoint, it’s not always ideal to travel long distances because infants are especially susceptible to infection and may not be fully vaccinated. But you can check with your child’s doctor.

Travel with toddler – Sleep routine tips

When a toddler will be sleeping away from home, they like smells that remind them of home. A blankey or other comfort object that smells familiar is usually reassuring.

Routines give a toddler a sense of security. They give the toddler a feeling of control over the world around them. So it’s a good idea to try to keep bedtime routines on a trip as similar to your routines at home as possible. This isn’t always easy.

But if your toddler is sleeping in a travel cot, it can be reassuring if it smells of home. Take unwashed bedding from your toddler’s bed at home on your trip.

Stick to your familiar bedtime rituals as far as possible. Like adults, toddlers sleep better in a room with subdued lighting that’s not too warm.

A new way of travelling!

Give your toddler plenty of closeness and reassurance and be responsive to their needs, and the rest will fall into place. To successfully travel with a toddler, you must have realistic expectations of what they can mange and the amount of time they will need.

Trips you take with your toddler are likely to be very different to the trips you took before you became parents. But we promise you this – it’s an exciting experience to rediscover the world through the eyes of your child!


Text: Anna-Maria Stawreberg