10 BEST Tips for Holiday Travel with a Baby or Toddler

Author: Celine Brewer

Last Updated:

The holiday season is here! Who has time for Black Friday Shopping? You’ve been busy planning your trip to introduce your new baby to your family.

Whether you’ll be flying with your baby for the first time or trying to figure out how to survive a flight with a busy toddler, these travel tips will help you make the most out of this time of year.

Visiting family is wonderful, but it can also be stressful. If you are staying with family, you no longer have your own space. You might be worried about your baby waking up family members throughout the night. And what about all the stuff you need to bring?

couple walking through airport with a baby

Trips to visit family will certainly be different than taking your own little family on a baby friendly holiday. Your time isn’t just your own, your family will want to spend time with your little one and your evenings might go later than you had hoped. How will you get through this?

Here are our best tips for holiday travel with a baby or toddler.

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Best Tips for Holiday Travel with a Baby or Toddler

In our essential tips for travel with babies or toddlers during the holidays, we cover everything from the best time of day to fly with a baby to baby proofing at your destination. You want to enjoy the holidays and here’s the tips you need to make that happen.

1. Avoid travel on the busiest days

We know, it might not be that easy with your work schedule, but if at all possible don’t fly on the day before Thanksgiving or Christmas. This is when they airports will be at their busiest.

image of busy airport

2. Plan your flights for the best time of day

If possible, choose flights where you think your baby or toddler will be at their best. An early flight is a great option since babies and toddlers are usually their happiest in the mornings.

If you think your baby or toddler will sleep during the flight, then plan your flight around nap time or overnight. Here are all our tips to get your toddler to sleep on a flight.

baby sleep on airplane

Flying with a baby or toddler can be stressful, but with a little preparation you’ll make it through! We have all the best airplane travel toys for toddlers and babies here PLUS even more ideas for keeping toddlers entertained on a flight here.

We also DO NOT recommend creating goodie bags for other passengers. We recommend spending your energy on your baby or toddler instead of fellow passengers! You can read all our reasons in the post.

3. Pack lightly when traveling with a baby

You are going to have enough to worry about already. You don’t want the stress of carrying too much stuff on top of that. If you are wondering if you should travel with a car seat, first read our 5 things to think about before traveling with car seats.

If you are traveling within the US and staying with family, consider getting some of your baby gear through Amazon and delivered before you arrive. You can easily have diapers delivered so you don’t have to pack all your diapers for your trip. You can also save some space by packing these travel size baby products.

If you plan to visit frequently, purchasing a pack n’ play and leaving it there will be super convenient. This is also a great way to have a place for your baby to play (or you can pack one of these travel play mats).

Another great alternative is renting baby equipment so you don’t have to haul it yourself.

If you do end up forgetting something, check out these travel hacks for traveling with babies and toddlers from parents who had to get resourceful!

Don’t miss our posts on Flying with a Pack n’ Play and Flying with a Stroller.

4. Travel by car instead of plane

Can you avoid the airport all together? If you add up the time to get to the airport early, clearing security, the time for your flight plus waiting for luggage, you might be able to drive there in the same amount of time. You’ll be amazed how much extra time you’ll need even with a very short flight.

Plus you won’t have to worry about baggage allowances for your baby travel gear. Here are our best tips for a road trip with a baby and also tips for a road trip with a toddler.

For keeping toddlers entertained in the car, we recommend one of these toddler travel car seat trays.

image of toddler in car seat

Now that you are at your destination with your baby, here are even more baby travel tips for the holidays:

5. Prepare for the weather and plan to get outside

A house full of people can get overwhelming for a baby or toddler. Plan to get outside and get everyone some fresh air. If the winter weather has you concerned, be prepared with our recommended winter travel gear for babies and toddlers.

Here are the best outdoor activities to do with a baby or toddler in the winter.

Winter activities with a baby

6. Try to stick to your baby’s schedule and give your toddler those much needed naps

To keep your baby or toddler in good spirits during all those visits, make sure you are getting your baby or toddler to sleep on your holiday. Sleeping in a new place isn’t always easy, but if you keep a similar bedtime routine, your little one should do just fine.

You’ll want to make sure you baby or toddler has a dark and quiet spot to sleep. We recommend a SlumberPod, especially if you will be sharing a room.

Use BABYCANTRAVEL$20 to get $10 off the SlumberPod when you buy direct from SlumberPod!

Still not sure if you need one for traveling with a baby? Read my full review of the SlumberPod here.

image of baby sleeping

If the house is just too loud and a white noise machine doesn’t help drown out the sounds, then plan for a nap on the go while you get out for a walk. We also have these 10 must have baby travel items to help your baby sleep on vacation.

If you need a travel bed for your baby or toddler, here are our recommended portable travel cribs and toddler travel beds.

7. Do a quick survey of your surroundings and baby proof as necessary

Your baby or toddler is bound to find all sorts of new and interesting things while visiting a new house, keep it safe with these baby proofing tips. You can get a baby proofing kit delivered before your arrival.

We also recommend designating who will be watching your baby or toddler at all times, so there’s no confusion or “I thought you were watching”. This is especially important when there’s a lot of people around and dangers like a pool.

8. Give your baby or toddler a seat at the table

Your baby or toddler isn’t going to be happy about missing out on any of the action. Bring along one of these portable high chairs for travel so your baby can be right there during the big meals, while still allowing you to enjoy your dinner.

The Inglesina Fast Table Chair is an excellent option for big family dinners. Your baby will have the perfect seat and enjoy being right in the middle of the action.

Don’t miss all our tips on traveling with a baby eating solid foods.

9. Stick to simple toys

Your baby or toddler will have enough to keep them entertained so don’t worry about packing too many toys. Keep it simple like a play mat for your baby to play on or some stacking cups for your toddler.

image of baby playing with toys

10. Capture those moments

This is the time to be ready with your camera! You’ll want to capture all the special moments that happen while your baby or toddler gets to spend time with your family. Your smart phone will do a great job, especially for video.

If you want to go one step further with your family pictures, consider a lightweight mirrorless camera that won’t add to much bulk to what you are already bringing!

image of baby at christmas

What else should you bring for baby or toddler travel?

Here’s a baby travel packing list to help you stay organized.

We list our favorite must-haves for travel with a baby and toddler travel essentials here.

image of baby at christmas with text overlay - Best tips for holiday travel with babies & toddlers

This post was written & edited by:

info@babycantravel.com | Website | + posts

Celine Brewer is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's helped millions of new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade. In addition to writing on her baby travel blog, she has shared her expertise on traveling with a baby or toddler by contributing to articles about traveling with a baby with the Washington Post, USA Today, the Lonely Planet magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.

Celine also writes about family travel on the site FamilyCanTravel.com, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site TravelBanffCanada.com.

Read more about Celine Brewer.

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