Get tips from the trenches with this information-packed blog from the authors of The Rookie Mom’s Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know, Heather Flett and Whitney Moss.

8 Tips for Traveling with a Toddler (and Staying Sane)

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My little baby has recently turned one and started walking. So we never have a dull moment. He’s exercising his body and his rights to never be contained. I swear that this is the kid who will learn to push a chair over to the kitchen counter to reach the knives. I just know it.

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So, how do we travel? Stay sane on airplanes? Make ourselves pleasant house guests? Very strategically.

We want to pack light, keep our expectations in check (as well as those of our hosts!), and bring toys that will do double duty. Our family of five will be staying with my brother and expectant sister-in-law (Sorry to them in advance!) so we’ll all try to be on our best behavior.

Here are eight “Been there, done that” travel tips for holidays with a young toddler.

1. Borrow everything! Can you borrow a portable crib and a basket of toys at your destination? Do that. Do not carry heavy bulky items unless you have to. Many cities offer rental services for baby necessities. Totally worth it, in my opinion.

2. Ship what you can’t borrow. We can mail a few things in advance of our trip rather than lugging them. I feel cheap writing this out loud (ha!) but we might send some of Sawyer’s old toys and then leave them for the new baby.

3. Bring the favorites. I will be sure to pack our white noise machine, loveys, blankets, and any other bedtime necessities. I like to bring an unwashed crib sheet from home to make sure everything smells familiar.

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4. Travel in PJs. Your kid, not you. The best travel outfit for the plane are pajamas because they’re comfy and easy to pack as a backup outfit.

5. Keep him amused on the plane. We will probably read books and explore toys and snacks on the plane. I will bring him a few new trinkets to discover. Too bad he’s too young to play with my iPhone. I love these tips from deliciousbaby for keeping a toddler entertained on an airplane.

6. Make a quick pit stop. We pick up items like organic milk and diapers after arrival en route to our final destination.

7. Speed-babyproof. There will be stairs, fire places, poisons, and many little breakables awaiting our visit; my job is to protect Sawyer from anything that could kill him. We will secure/move what we can and then tag-team to make sure he’s always being watched closely. These babyproof tips work for a hotel room.

8. Set up a fun zone. I am strongly considering creating a toddler ball pit as a fun baby jail while we’re there so he doesn’t realize we’re trying to keep him out of the way.

There is an old family story (legend?) about my father at this age. Rumor has it that he figured out how to open the two-way door for the milkman. He climbed up into the small tunnel (picture an opening the size of a cat door but at your own convenient reach), pushed the glass bottles out into the snow, and lowered himself wearing only a diaper into the December chill. He proceeded to toddle around the neighborhood — while my grandma was completely unaware — until the neighbors returned him a short time later. Too bad my dad couldn’t be contained in a mini ball pit, huh?

About Heather

Heather Gibbs Flett co-founded to inspire moms to have more fun after her own challenges with rookie motherhood. Together with her BFF Whitney Moss, she also wrote "The Rookie Moms Handbook" and created a local site for parents in the Bay Area (

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