Happy family packing things in the back of the car.

Tips for traveling with a toddler

Traveling with little ones can be stressful. Help make toddler travel easier, safer and more relaxing with these ideas.

Traveling with a toddler can make life interesting. From Car Seat to Driver’s Seat™, State Farm® has been committed to the safety of its customers for over 100 years. Use these ideas to travel safely and stress-free.

Traveling with a toddler on a plane

  • Plan ahead. Planning will constitute many of our biggest tips for flying with a toddler. Familiarize yourself with what items you can bring and the security protocols for traveling with children. Being aware of the resources available to you can be a huge advantage when preparing to get from point A to point B.
  • Communicate. If your children are old enough to understand, explain the relevant security procedures for your trip before you head to the airport. This is also a great time to review rules and basic reminders, preparing them for the experience of traversing an airport. These safety tips for first-time flyers can help you prepare and keep your family and luggage safe.
  • Pack with them. Help children pack their bags to see that they don't bring prohibited items by mistake. If you have questions about what you can pack, call your airline or review this TSA list.
  • Reduce ear pressure. Help your toddlers relieve ear pain or pressure by encouraging them to drink liquids through a sippy cup or straw.
  • If possible, try to get early-morning flights. Early mornings are often considered the preferred time to fly as they are less likely to be delayed, reducing your family’s risk of getting stuck at the airport.
  • Understand safety procedures. Even if you've flown before, tune in during the pre-flight safety speech and clear up any lingering questions you might have with a flight attendant.
  • Prepare safe seating. Children who weigh more than 40 pounds can safely use the airplane's seat belt. If your child weighs less than that, bring the proper airplane child safety seat for your child's size.
  • Pack entertainment. Carry on a variety of toys and snacks to accommodate short attention spans. Some parents recommend giving toys out on a schedule. Try wrapping them up as gifts to make the experience even more exciting.
  • Pack enough, not everything. When traveling by plane, space is at a premium, especially for luggage. When planning your packing needs for yourself and your toddler, prioritizing your essentials can help save you from baggage fees or having to leave items behind.
  • Try to avoid aisle seats for toddlers. Due to a toddler’s energy level and possible tendency to wander, seating them in the middle or by the window can be helpful. Avoid the hassle by simply seating your toddler in the middle or window seat when possible.

Traveling with a toddler or young child by train

  • Stick together. It's easy to lose your balance on a train, especially for unsteady walkers. Stay with toddlers if they need to move around the train car.
  • Sanitize surfaces. Encourage children to wash their hands whenever possible, and use sanitizer often.
  • Communicate seating information. If you and your child are traveling between multiple train cars during your journey, remember to communicate which car you will be seated in and instruct them to find a crew member and provide your seating information should you become separated. This can help expedite the process of returning them.

Road trips with a toddler

  • Use a proper car seat. Exact height and weight measurements will determine the correct size of safety seat for your toddler. Infants should be in rear-facing car seats, but children age 2 and older can typically use front-facing seats. Whether your child should move to another seat, however, depends on their height and weight, not age.
  • Come prepared. Especially on long drives, young children may become bored easily. If both adults are in the front, have the front passenger distribute soft toys and snacks to help keep toddlers calm and content.
  • Learn road trip games! A time-honored staple of road trips, starting the trip with a few road trip games for kids in your back pocket can be a great opportunity for some family fun and bonding time when boredom on the road starts to set in.

General tips for traveling with kids

  • Consider a compact travel stroller. Being able to break out a stroller at a moment’s notice can be a big help. Investing in a travel stroller designed to be easily transported can make doing that much easier.
  • Wherever you go, have snacks. The true travel necessity, plan ahead to have snacks on hand. When travel can bring so many stress factors on its own, there’s no need to add a hungry (or, soon enough, cranky!) toddler to the list. Stock up on snacks and don’t forget to keep an eye on your supply!
  • Set expectations. Having conversations with your kids before and along your journey about what to expect during your trip can aid in preparing them for travel. This approach can help reduce stress and anxiety for children who might find the variety of new places, experiences and stimuli potentially overwhelming.
  • Whether you're traveling by air, train, or automobile, preparedness and safety are key when it comes to a great trip that the whole family will remember.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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