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Traveling With A Toddler

Peter Hoang & Nerissa Goco : Traveling With A Toddler

Most parents are overwhelmed with the idea of traveling with a toddler. I know I have! The first time we traveled with Luna, I was overwhelmed not knowing what to pack and what I was comfortable leaving behind. If I could, I would pack her whole bedroom!

We’ve traveled a few times with Luna since she was born. The first time was when she was 10.5 months old as we took her on a 6 hour airplane ride to Mexico. We did the same trip the year after when she was 1 year old. Then last year at the age of 2, we took her on a 12 hour plane ride to the Philippines. To my surprise, all 3 trips turned out a lot easier than I thought.

Most people always wonder what to pack on a long airplane ride. I wondered that myself and wasn’t quite sure what I needed to bring. But here’s a list of what has worked for us that I thought I would share with you.

What to pack in your hand carry:

Wet wipes. You can never have enough of these. I like to wipe the seat handles, tables, windows & walls (if you have the window seat) and anything I know Luna would touch. People stare at me as I do this but imagine all the germs that stay on the plane!

Hand sanitizer. When you’re traveling with a baby or a toddler, you’re allowed to bring liquids. Just squeeze a bit on your wet wipes and start cleaning away. Get rid of those germs!

Clothes. If it’s a long overnight flight, I like to bring pajamas for Luna to change into when it’s time to sleep (so she knows it’s bedtime), extra socks, leggings, shirts & undies (or nappies). I usually like to bring a few of each and be prepared in case our luggage gets lost. At least she’ll have some clothes that will last for a couple days.

Stuffy & blankets. If it’s an overnight flight and your toddler sleeps with a stuffy, bring it along with a few thin blankets.

Lollipop. Great for take off and landing to help with ear pressure.

Snacks + drinks. I like to bring new snacks that Luna has never had and some extra special ones (chocolates etc) for tantrum emergencies. A small container of water and some juice. I particularly like those organic fruit juice mixed with vegetables. Happy tot is one of the brands out there but they come in a variety of different brands. These are great as they are easy to drink and pack.

iPad + headphones. Upload new games your toddler has never played before.

Activities/Toys. I like bringing an activity colouring book that includes stickers. But to be honest, I actually don’t bring a lot of toys especially small ones as they become a headache. You end up running after them as they roll down the isle and you’re constantly picking up crayons while your toddler continues to drop them on the floor as he/she colours.

Medicine. I like to be self sufficient and be prepared in case illness suddenly happens while on the plane. I bring kids advil, diarrhea medicine, thermometer and band aid. Put them in ziplock bags.

Hope the list above helps. We also have a fantastic Maclaren Techno XT stroller that we love and always take with us when traveling. I love how the seat reclines all the way flat like a bed and the hood extends all the way down. Luna would comfortably nap in it for hours while we would be out and about. I don’t like the idea of having to cut the day short running back to the hotel for nap time. So this is great as nap can happen anywhere.

Here’s the US Department of Homeland Security’s website with info of what you can bring when traveling with children.

Happy Travels!

PS: You might also be interested in reading an older post called Dining Out With A Toddler.


  1. ariana says:

    >>HeLLO Nerissa<<
    It has been a long time! I hope this finds you all well! I still love stopping by this spot of yours from time to time. It is always such a treat. My blog has been on pause for so long (I had another little one in August which has kept me very busy!)
    Anyway, I had a travel question for you…We have a wedding to go to on the other side of the country (in Portland, OR.) this summer and although it is not set in stone that we will all be going I find myself quite anxious about the idea of traveling with an 11 month old and a five year old on a six hour plane ride. Ugh! My older son will be fine and happy but I am mostly wondering about the time change (3 hours) and how your family goes about dealing with that with sweet Luna? It just seems like it will be so confusing and overwhelming!
    Okay, is that the longest comment ever? Sorry about that!
    Be well!
    a r i a n a

    • Nerissa says:

      Hello Ariana – Firstly, Big congratulations to you and your family! What a special time this is for all of you. Amazing. Your older son must be a proud big brother!

      As for your travel question, I’ve noticed kids adapt so well. I had that same concern with Luna when we went to the Philippines as it’s a 16 hour difference! But when traveling, kids adapt with the time change much easier as everyone is busy and excited. 3 hours isn’t much of a difference. Perhaps it will just be an earlier bed time for the first couple days but you will mostly be out and about doing fun stuff that they wouldn’t be ready for bed until the night is over. By that time, they would be overly exhausted and would hopefully sleep all night. Luna adapted with the time change in the Philippines within a day. I was surprised as I expected the worse. The hard part was when we came back – It took her 1 full week to get re-adjusted again to the time change.

      I say don’t worry about it so much. Go and have a fabulous time! There may be some re-adjusting back to the daily routine when you come home but the ‘adjusting’ part is temporary. The little inconveniences when traveling with kids will be forgotten as you and the kids will always remember the fun part of it! Portland is such a great city and you guys will have a fabulous time! xx

      PS: We went to Portland with Luna last year and I have a whole section of it on the blog:

  2. ariana says:

    Thanks! Such good advice! Sometimes I spend too much time worrying about all of the logistics and it can all feel a bit daunting! I did read about your visit to Portland and it sounded so nice. Now I just need to be brave! Be well and thanks again! Ariana

  3. lyndsay says:

    great post… bravo for the trip to the philippines! luna sounds like a major trooper. we’ve been on 3 plane rides with our little guy (now 7 months) so far, the longest being 4 hours to california – i nursed him as much as possible and pretty much jammed a bottle in him too anytime he was getting fussy – this is a great checklist for future travel! (especially the wipes – i need to amp up my germ killing)..

  4. I’m there with you on the wipes – last thing you want to do is get to your destination and then have a sick child for your entire stay.

  5. Greetings! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout
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