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The Reality of Traveling with a Toddler

Updated: Aug 10

I’ve always heard that traveling with a toddler is so much more difficult than traveling with a baby because they are on the move and they don’t want to sit still… and everyone who said this was completely correct.

We traveled with Adalynn when she was three months, six months, nine months, and 12 months, but 15 months was by far the hardest.

Adalynn is so much more independent; she constantly wants to run around, she wants to explore her surroundings, and most of all, she’s no longer napping on the go and definitely not doing any contact naps.

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I did everything I could to prepare for our flight in terms of getting new toys, books, and snacks, and getting it all super organized, so we had easy access to everything. The day before, I packed a carry-on bag so that all of the food would be fresh and we would have everything that we needed. I also used a Lululemon fanny pack so that I have easy access to the things that I needed while traveling in the airport (like a wallet, Force of Nature sanitizer, phone, and chapstick).

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I also made sure to pack our bags way ahead of time so I didn’t have to worry about this right before our flight; less stress for me means less stress for Addy!

Our travel day started super early, and I had to wake Addy up at 7 AM. Luckily, she was super happy on the way to the airport. We opted to drive and park in the extended parking to save some money as opposed to paying for an Uber ride, which was gonna be pretty pricey both ways. Since we drove, this took about 40 minutes to get to the airport, had to get onto a bus that took us to a train that took us to the airport, and that alone was such a time-consuming experience, but Adalynn was a total joy through it all.

When we got into the airport, my husband and I took turns letting Adalynn straight up run through the terminals. She was so happy running from side to side and stopping to wave at everybody who passed by. Our flight was smack dab in the middle of Adalynn's naps, so we were super happy about it and knew that we would have no problem getting her to sleep because she was exhausted.

And then there were delays.

We had two separate delays and ended up taking off about an hour and a half after we were supposed to… Which pushed Adalynn's nap back; honestly, I think she was just too overtired to take a nap at this point. But that didn’t stop me from trying with every little bit of my being. (I think I tried too hard) As soon as we boarded the plane, I got her breast-feeding pillow ready and started breast-feeding her. I could tell she was so tired she was gonna fall asleep, but as soon as her little eyes were closed, she popped them back open and resisted her nap as much as she could. Because she was so close to falling asleep, I kept trying, which only frustrated her more and more. Yes, there were tears; it was the only time she’d ever cried on an airplane!!! 🤦🏼‍♀️ Eventually, I realized it was silly to keep pushing it, and she would fall asleep when she wanted to.

Changing my mindset created the biggest change, and the rest of the flight was a breeze (even with an overtired baby). We brought out the snacks, she waved at strangers, and read some books- and before we knew it, we were there.

We did try putting on a Spotify book reading for Addy to listen to, but Adalynn was less than interested and honestly didn’t touch any of the toys we brought this time around. Snacks were the big winner!

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When we landed at the Florida airport, it was time to get a rental car which meant even more time waiting in lines and being stuck inside. We tried to keep Addy moving as much as possible (and avoided an early evening nap since we were scared she wouldn’t sleep at night), but jokes on us because while she did last till bedtime, she woke up a few short hours later and partied all night long.

The next day we were on more of a normal routine; despite the lack of sleep our first night, she napped like normal, and then the second night, she slept the whole night through with no wake-ups.

I think I say this every single time I fly with Adalynn, but the fewer expectations you have on how the day is going to go, the better it will go. Schedules go out the window, but at the end of it, you know you’re going to get to your destination safely, and your baby is with you, so they are going to be happy.

I hope sharing my experience with you will allow you an easier travel journey.

Here is a recap of all the travel things we love and more!

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Always, Jess


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