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Favorite Travel Tips for Toddlers

As a mom of 3, I am ALWAYS looking for ways to entertain my kids in public, whether traveling on a plane, in a car or simply out at a restaurant. While we are home, they find ways to play together or go outside, but when we go on the airplane or are confined to the car for a road trip, providing entertainment is necessary. You can visit my Amazon Storefront directly if you'd like, or see my rather large list of recommendations below.

This will be a long one (I will create a shorter one in the future) but if you ask yourself "how am I going to keep my kids entertained" this post is for you. This gives you an assortment of my favorite travel tips for toddlers as well as some reasoning behind why I chose to include it on the list.

I have some requirements when it comes to finding items that we bring on our trips, and while I break them sometimes for certain products, with three kids I need things as simple as possible:

  1. Minimal pieces

  2. Easy to pack

  3. Easy to clean

  4. It's ok if we forget it or lose it

  5. Relatively quiet

  6. No batteries or charging is required

We try to avoid screen time AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. Not because we don't use screens, but because we want them to be the last resort if possible. If we bust them out too soon, they won't have any interest in the other toys so it's the thing we bust out at the end of whatever we are doing. Like the 6-hour flight to Hawaii (for example) because they're about to lose their shit or at the end of dinner at the restaurant because they are starting to get a little antsy.

This post includes affiliate links on which I may earn a small commission for shopping, at no extra cost to you. Please consider shopping my links if it's something you'd like to try for yourself!

Travel Tips for Toddlers

Here are my favorite items we have used over and over again with our twin 4.5-year-old girls and 3-year-old boy and items we think would be great to have in the future:


(ages 3 to 6+ years)

Toddler looking through kids camera at the camera
  • Kids Cameras: Most kids' cameras have little arcade games on them, so you will have to decide if that's something you want them to have access to on a trip. I treat these a little like tablets where I bust them out when I know the other things won't keep them interested because I know this is the thing they will play with the whole time, but I would prefer them not to be mindlessly playing on their games. I love these little simple cameras (with the cutest sleek style and colors) that my kids got for Christmas a couple of years ago, my son has this camera with the monster cover, and this past year I thought my girls were old enough for a kids instant print camera and boy was I so wrong lol. I know a lot of people who like these Kidamento options as well!

  • Sorting Game: I don't typically love items that have multiple pieces, but I do love that this Wooden Color + Shape Sorting Box has a carrying case that seems to be easy to pack and provides learning and engaging opportunities.

  • Magnetic Dress-Up: This goes slightly against my "minimal pieces" requirement, but since it's not a puzzle, it's ok if a piece or two goes missing. Here are a few magnetic dress-up toys we have our eyes on for our next trip. I love that these all come in tins so they have a carrying case included:

Toddlers staying busy with hot wheels cars on airplane tray table
  • Car tape: Ok so we are big fans of painter's tape (classic blue of course but also multi-colored), using it for ALL THE ACTIVITIES, but then I found this paper road tape, which isn't super sticky (can be a bad thing depending on where you are trying to stick it, you may just want painter's tape) but I also LOVE that it's not sticky because I don't feel bad sticking it to anything and EVERYTHING. We bought Hot Wheels from the Dollar Tree and had a blast playing with this tape on the plane. We also put it on our 100-year-old wood floors, restaurant tables, walls, and more without sticky residue.

  • Tablets: Our last resort as I have mentioned a couple of times now, is the tablet. We use the Amazon Fire Tablet (we have the smaller Fire 7, which is definitely more budget-friendly with lower storage space, but this one may be a better option although more expensive). I would prefer an iPad for several reasons, but one would be more control over what they can download, simple cohesion with all of our other Apple products and they're easy to use. The Fire Tablets are fine but I found them to be a little clunky.

  • Headphones: my little guy is wearing these Cozy Headphones in the photo with his camera, but I don't know how well they actually work. We have purchased other headphones and I am still on the hunt for ones that are a little louder. These headphones look cute and comfy with pretty decent reviews.

PRO-TIP: I purchased these toiletry bags a while back for each kid and I put little activities inside for them to play with at my powerlifting meet a couple of years ago, it was a lonnnnngggg day for 3-year-olds, and this KIND OF helped. This would be a great idea for older kids (probably 6+) because they might be a little better at only taking out one activity at a time. I change up what's inside each time we take them somewhere and each kid has their own color with their initial on the outside with these cute adhesive letters. I try to keep these in the car (specifically the van) to bring out at restaurants.


  • Snacklebox: I have seen this idea a few different places with different carrying case ideas, but I bought a BPA-free plastic container for each of my kids and put their names on it in vinyl with my Cricut, however, I REALLY like this box that I found (I do not own it) but I like it!

  • Snack Carrier (w/lid): I like the idea of these removable containers for a snack box!

  • Snack Spinner: This snack spinner looks like it's a hit with a lot of families with small children, and while I don't personally own it, I think I would like this as an adult. Here is an option with a sandwich side-piece add-on thingy. This might be going in my kid's stockings this year.

  • Bento Boxes: As someone who prefers my food not to touch in containers, I am a bento box fan girly. Am I creating monsters? Maybe. I don't make a big deal about the food not touching, so maybe they'll be fine lol. I have a different brand (the Dearest Grey) but these boxes with the utensils are quite intriguing to me!

  • Matching Snack Game: These snack boxes could be pretty cool but my kids don't really care to play the game, they just find the snack and eat it lol so I don't know how useful they would be to your kids but this is another fun idea!

Toddler snack box idea: the Snackle Box with a variety of snacks
  • Water bottles: We love to bring our own water bottles on trips and we try to stick with leak-proof, stainless steel options as often as possible. I just found these Character S|M Bottles that I am going to get for their stockings, another non-character S|M option, and this straw with handle option that I gave to the kids last Christmas that they love (but I don't think I would bring these on the airplane) and we love the ZAK brand as well (here are character options I think would be great for travel & straw options which we use at home because the straw it exposed outside the bottle)

Car Seat + Stroller Ideas

  • Car Seat Travel Bag: If you plan on checking your car seats instead of using them on the flight, this travel bag has four wheels and seems more sturdy than one that has only two wheels (especially if you have multiple).

  • Slim Travel Car Seat: This car seat is our go-to at home with three kids on a bench seat in our Toyota Tacoma. They are also made locally in Seattle, where we are from, and I love that! They're easy to travel with (they fold up and have a carrying strap) but I do suggest getting the travel bag if you have more than one kid with a car seat.

  • UppaBaby Vista Stroller: WE LOVE THIS STROLLER. When we got pregnant with twins I knew I didn't want a double wide stroller, I wanted them stacked like this stroller is capable of (you need adapters in order to make it a double) but what we love about traveling with the kids, is this stroller still fits our almost 5-year-old twins with plenty of storage underneath and you can take your stroller all the way to the gate (you have to break it down at security most of the time, but it's worth it) then you gate check it. I would make sure to grab a travel bag for gate check purposes!

  • Small Umbrella Stroller: This stroller comes in around $50 and looks like it's one hell of a deal with over 19k reviews, which you may want to read before making the purchase! We don't have this one, we have this one, which we also really love and it did its job. It's not an insanely sturdy stroller but it's also not super flimsy! I love that we are able to carry this stroller on and store it in the overhead container or use it when we need something small for a road trip.

  • Zoe Stroller:s I want to get this triple stroller so badly because our kids are just old enough to walk but also could still ride in a stroller (we usually use a wagon) but in some places (ahem, Disney) wagons are not allowed. I may end up just renting it on BabyQuip for our next big trip! Use my friend @MadeForMotherhood_'s Zoe Stroller link for $15 off your Zoe Stroller purchase! They have a great selection of strollers, including a super lightweight travel stroller.

A Mom holding her toddler using a toddler sling for supporting the weight of the toddler
  • Toddler Carrying Sling: My kids are pretty heavy now, 40lbs+ each, but they can still be held so I decided to bring a toddler sling with me to places like Disneyland or Hawaii for when they inevitably wanted to be held but I needed a little assistance. I LOVE this concept and will bring this on every trip where we bring a stroller.

  • Stroller Fan: It's so important to keep kids cool while traveling, being extra careful not to cover their stroller without proper airflow. We put at least one of these fans on each kid in their stroller if not two! I would recommend rechargeable fans over fans that take batteries, just make sure to fully charge each night of your trip.

  • Portable Sound Machine: We love to have a sound machine in the stroller for stroller naps (for example: at Disneyland) and Hatch has put out this adorable portable sound machine that I have on my wishlist (we currently use one of our phones). This can be used on the go, has a 15-hour battery life, and works while recharging at night if you don't want to bring double the sound machines on your trip! This bundle is an excellent deal and may also be useful if you want two sound machines!

Packing + Luggage Ideas

Packing cubes: are the only things you need for your kids. Pick a color for each kid if you want, or use one solid color for everyone, but this is so helpful when it comes to packing and staying organized. We have a cube with clothes that we bring on the plane as well as a cube with necessities like wipes and diapers, hand sanitizer etc, and in our checked luggage we have daytime clothes in a cube for the girls, another cube for our son, pajamas in another, underwear in a smaller cube, an extra cube for dirty clothes and of course, cubes for our own luggage.

There are so many cubes out there, like these with handles (I love the color options too), these if you like to see inside your cubes, these ones with inside pockets and color code capabilities, and these ones with fun colors and patterns, but you want them to have some kind of compression so you can make the cube as small as possible and save room on luggage space!

Ok, moving on to luggage.

Here's the thing about getting kids their own can get it and know that you'll end up carrying it on top of the other bags you already have, or you can skip it knowing all their stuff is secure in your own carry-on or checked luggage (we typically check a big suitcase with all our kids' stuff with ours, and carry-on a bag with activities, snacks, changes of clothes and diapers/wipes). However, just for fun, let's look at kids luggage.

  • Trunki Ride-On Luggage: I have had my eyes on "ride-on" luggage for the kids for a while but they are finally at the age where it might be appropriate for them (our 3-year-old might be a liiiiiittle young but who knows). It also may cause complete and total chaos so since I don't actually own these yet, please don't come at me if it's more hassle than it's worth.

  • JetKids Ride-On Suitcase + In-Flight Bed: Um, WHAT? This is so cool, I want this for me. This luggage is almost $250 though sooooooo do with that what you will, I will not be buying these for my kids unless it's a gift (and whoever is buying this for my kids must REALLLLLY love them for real because I don't know in what world I would buy this. Maybe when I am a grandparent). Check to make sure they're approved by your airline though.

  • Younglingz Lil Flyer Luggage: despite the ridiculous name (which I lowkey love) this luggage is up my son's alley because much to his mother's chagrin, he is obsessed with motorcycles and this might be the closest he will ever get to being on one.

  • Scooter Suitcase: Seriously, this search has taken up my entire lunch break which also happens to be the only 2 hours I have to work on my small business during the day but now here I am, in the depths of kid's ride-on luggage. But please consider this suitcase for kids 4+ because I need to see this in the wild. Also, with a $220+ price tag, it feels a little outlandish and completely unnecessary but here we are.

  • Character Scooter Suitcase: These are about $150 and are cool if you're into characters (didn't we all say "no character things" and here we are obsessed with characters).

  • Cheapest Scooter Suitcase: There are three options (a bee, ladybug, and robot) and they have light-up wheels. This might be the winner for under $100!

Final Toddler Travel Tips

Here are a couple of extra things to keep in mind when traveling with toddlers:

  • They love surprises. Keep their travel toys a secret until the day of the trip and take them out one by one as needed. Too many things at once (like this list I gave you) will lead to overwhelm. New toys are fun, so things they have never seen, or haven't seen in a while or often, will keep the intrigue. The Dollar Tree or Target Dollar Spot are great places to get affordable items for travel. It's also nice because they may not have an attachment to this item and it's ok if it gets lost etc.

  • Don't forget the snacks. I cannot emphasize this enough. Find a way to bring their favorite snacks and also some surprise ones and treats as well. be mindful that snacking while driving can be a choking hazard and try to have an adult near the children if feeding while driving. We have had a choking scare while driving and it's not fun to pull over across 5 lanes of traffic going 70+ mph to launch yourself in the backseat and unbuckle your kid as fast as possible.

  • Lollipops. If you are traveling anywhere with a change in pressure like an airplane takeoff and landing or changes in elevation on a road trip, lollipops or something to suck on like a bottle, pacifier, ring pop or straw can help with ear pressure. Again, keep choking hazards in mind!

  • Activities. Things like wrapping each toy (literally not even new ones, just old ones will do) or bringing pipe cleaners, large beads, paper scraps, pom poms, puffy reusable stickers, etc. can also keep them busy.

  • Books. My kids LOVE books. The Poke-a-Dot books are a hit, and they have other "poke-a-dot" activities which can be found here. We love books with flaps, silly stories, and more.

  • Safety & Tracking. If you want to purchase a tracking device for your kiddo, luggage, stroller etc., something to keep in mind is an Apple AirTag or something similar. As far as putting one on your kiddos, make it someplace hard for a kidnapper (or even the child itself) to take off. Like this waterproof safety pin AirTag case or this fabric mount that can be put on the inside of clothes, luggage, backpacks, purses, etc (keep in mind, this is great for finding the item itself, not for finding the kid because it can easily be removed). These shoe inserts may also be a good idea!

When we aren't using the activities or when we are home, we keep them in a collapsible bin by our front door (and some in the trunk of our car) so we always have them ready to pack up as we are headed somewhere.

WOWWWWWW. Ok, so that was a lot. You can see, I am hellbent on providing things that will keep the kids busy and it's important to me to keep the peace, but I hope this was helpful for your next travel!

I should also add, we don't own all of this stuff (so I can't speak to the quality and effectiveness of everything) and I will probably add more things to this post as I travel more with my kids, but I hope you found this useful! Share some of your favorite and must-have items in the comments below, I am always looking for ways to make traveling easier with kids!



We're the Gordons!

Just a two people in love who also happen to have big traps and great personalities. Oh, and we are parents and want to share our journey with you!

Not great at blogging, but when I do it, it's worth it!

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