Travel Tips for the Holidays With Littles

By Rachael Weiss~ Publisher Union County Macaroni Kid November 13, 2022

None of our family lives here, so for as long as my children have been alive, we have traveled for the holidays. Sure, occasionally, they'll come here - but usually, it's over the river and into the woods - to Grandmother's house we go! 

We started traveling with my oldest when he was 6 weeks old. We took the boys on an International trip when they were nearly 3 and 4. We've done a lot of travel - by plane, by car, and by train - in the 8.5 years we've been parents and we've tucked away some GREAT advice we've received along the way. 

As you and your family begin to make your plans or begin to coordinate the plans that exist already, here are some tips and tricks you might want to consider.


  • Take advantage of Amazon, Walmart, and Target (if available) and ship your diapers, wipes and other baby needs ahead of time. Bring only what you need + a few extra with you on the plane (you never know when you'll be stuck but you don't need a whole package of diapers!). This applies to the car and train as well! 
  • If you are traveling by plane with a stroller, make sure it's not over the weight limit! Every airport is different and while you may get through in one airport, the return may be very different. This happened to me and I had to remove a wheel of the stroller to get it to weigh while wearing my baby and holding a toddler. Not worth it.
  • If driving, plan stops around a playground with swings. Use the National MacaroniKID site finder and then drop in "playground" into the search bar - you'll probably find more than you need.
  • Most airports these days have nursing mothers' areas. Even if you are not nursing, when the baby is overstimulated, these pods are great for taking a break. 
  • If the baby is old enough to need to be busy, post-it notes are great. My boys used to stick and move them often. 
  • If you are going to a vacation rental or a home without baby gear - check out -  you can rent strollers, cribs, pack'n'plays and toys. This has been a lifesaver for us, even when driving because it's just less to pack
  • Always have a full change of clothing for anyone who may be holding the baby AND the baby.
  • Snacks - bring everything; you can pack a cooler and they will let you through even if you already have your carry-on. 


  • Lollipops are your friends - whether for the car or for the plane, they take a while to eat and the sucking will help with air pressure; I like the flat ones from a choking perspective, but you can choose whichever makes the most sense for your family
  • Carry a travel potty if you can - especially when driving. It's inevitable that within 5 minutes of pulling away from a rest stop, your child will have to go. If you have a 4-door car, you can open both the passenger and the rear passenger and give them some privacy on the side of the road or you can even put it on the floor of the car.
  • Post-it notes - for your newly trained kid, the automatic flushers may be startling and the ones at the airport are probably the worst. You can also use them on the plan as entertainment (see above). 
  • Ride on carry-on luggage - we never used this but wish we would have. Especially if you don't need a stroller where you are going! 
  • Don't be afraid of technology! We aren't huge tv and tech people when home, but when we travel, the kids have come to know that this is a special treat and it certainly helps with the excitement. Bring lots of chargers and make sure to download as much as you can. Even with the wifi sometimes you get kicked out!
  • Snacks are your friend. I like the little tackle boxes that you can carry loads of snacks in and let the kids pick what they want. You can fill some with junk and some with healthy, giving them control. The only issue with them is if your kid spills (like mine), so you may want to do smaller individual containers.
  • If your child is a good napper and can transfer well, traveling during a nap is a great way to do things! If not, I always traveled early in the morning, and the kiddos were tired by the time we arrived!


  • Give each kid their own suitcase to pack and "carry." This has saved me many hours and money on bag fees!
  • If flying, let them help pick seats to cut back on arguing.
  • Load up the iPads (or whatever device you bring) and make sure the headphones are charged!
  • Enjoy because you know it's way easier than it ever was before!

No matter where you are going, we wish you safe travels and lots of wonderful memory-making! Happy Holidays.