5 In travel

Hacks for Traveling with Toddlers

Spring break is just around the corner, and we will be flying to Florida, as per usual with our crew.  I have done a few travel related blog posts on here before, but thought I would share all hacks for traveling with toddlers (or kid travel hacks) in one place. 

This post contains affiliate links

Many of these hacks will be amazing for flying or driving, and I can’t claim I’m the 100% originator on some of them – I am sure I have picked up tips and tricks along the way, but I will give you all my best tricks for making travel with toddlers and kids so much less stressful!

As an added bonus – I added a huge round up of favorite travel items from Amazon to this post at the bottom, so grab them on Prime and get to traveling! 

Hack 1 – Suitcases for Kids

This isn’t as much of a hack as it is a huge tip – instead of buying true luggage for toddlers, buy them the rolling backpacks from Pottery Barn Kids.  You can get them for a steal if you watch for sales, and they will make your life so much easier.

Pottery Barn rolling backpack with stuffed animal

The backpacks fit under the seat in front of you, so you don’t have to stress about overhead space if you don’t want to, and due to the shape they also fit under our stroller if needed.  

The backpack straps are a LIFE SAVER because if you have a tight layover, or are in a rush/have tired kids an adult can throw on the backpack if needed.  And the reason I also recommend the PBK version is the outside straps.  

My kids are always allowed to bring a stuffed animal and it can be strapped to the outside – like in the picture!


Hack 2 – Snack Bins for Car Travel

Okay this hack is for car rides only.   But I purchased several of these a few years ago and they are amazing when we are taking road trips with the kids for all of their snacks.  

We have a 3 row SUV, so the older kids are in the very back, and it is hard for me to pass back snacks or open things for them.  

Sterilite container with snacks for car travel

Basically I fill each little container with one snack for their car ride.  I remind them when we leave that THAT IS IT.  They are looking at their snacks for the whole car ride, so eat them all in 10 min or let them last 5 hours, you pick! 

Plastic container with compartments for snacks

They do really well with it, and it is easily closed up and set to the side or on the floor when they are done for the time being.


Hack 3 – Bag of Essentials

This hack is a huge game changer, especially when flying, but works great for car rides too.  We honestly don’t have the kids take too much when we travel.  They love to watch their iPads, so if its 4 hours and under we don’t take too many small things for entertainment.  

Toddler Travel bag

I purchased these travel toiletry bags on Amazon and they go in their backpack with all of their essentials for the trip.  I load them up with some crayons and paper, some snacks and suckers, and their iPads and headphones.  

Toddler Travel bag

Those are always the items they are digging for in their bags, and they fall to the bottom, so this keeps them in one spot.  Essentially once they are in their seat and buckled in grab the toiletry bag out and they will hopefully need nothing more from their backpacks the entire flight. 

Toddler Travel bag for iPad

** this easily holds my kids iPad minis with this case on them, as well as these headphones.  Check the measurements for other tablets!


Hack 4 – Cups and Containers

This is another hack when it comes to flying more so than driving.  We always bring our kids an empty Hydroflask for the flight and fill it in the airport for water.  (be aware – with any cup leave the sippy spout up.

 We have sprayed full planes with camelbacks before because of the pressure building in them!!!)

Toddler Travel bag

I also bring an empty Replay Recycled Cup (this style or this style) and some of these Snack stackers.  Sometime the snack stackers are full of snacks, but they are also great to have for small bowls incase the kids need them for snacks handed out on the plane or purchased in the airport.

Travel bag for toddlers

When my kids are younger and need more snacks to keep them quiet I do the snack stackers stacked 3 high filled with snacks in addition to what is in the toiletry bag from hack #3.

 I know that sounds excessive, but I am a firm believer that you’re not trying to win any mom of the year awards when you’re flying…you’re just surviving and doing your best to keep your kids happy and quiet!

Hack 5 – Okay not a Hack but a few tips

This one isn’t a hack, but it is tips on tips on tips.  

BUY THESE. Keep them in your glove box, and if you have a three row vehicle keep some in the third row.  Nothing is worse than hearing a kid say they are going to throw up.  This has saved our car and sanity way too many times. 

They aren’t a glamorous buy, but I have had so many people tell me how thankful they are they got them!  I also throw one in my diaper bag when we travel by plane!

If you are traveling with a carseat, spend the extra few dollars for this bag to hold your carseats.  It has backpack straps and will change your life.  I was a little sad we went a good 6 years of travel with kids before we knew about that!

Moms – pair your stuff down to a tiny travel wallet so you don’t have as much to carry, and if you have a baby or lap child, using hack #3 for your own stuff/stuff you will need to get out mid flight for baby is super helpful in your own bag too!

Last – have an external charger with you!! This one is great!

Favorite Hack 6 – Buy on Prime

Below is a bunch of my favorite items from Amazon prime that I use for travel.  Click on the image to shop the item, or in the description below!

  1. Snack cups
  2. Pacifier holder – this one is big enough to hold 2 or 3 and I like how it attaches to the diaper bag but can also easily be taken off. 
  3. Diaper clutch – this is a huge mom hack for me.  nothing is worse than needing to change a diaper and having to juggle all the things with a baby in an airplane bathroom!
  4. Spoons for baby food pouches
  5. Favorite kids iPad cases
  6. This case for a Nintendo switch is amazing if your kids have one
  7. Wet and dry bag – we have a 2 year old and a baby…we have also had a kid throw up on the plane before so extra clothes and a place to put wet ones is needed.
  8. Favorite water bottle – fill it before you get on the plane and their water will stay cold, or ask to have it filled on flight 
  9. Poop bags – you do not want to have poopy diapers or clothes on a trip with nowhere to put them
  10. These tops for pouches make them so you can reclothes them and if they throw them it doesn’t all come flinging out! They are amazing
  11. Snack cups that are collapsable
  12. Cups with straws so they can get a drink on the flight and not spill it
  13. The bags from above
  14. Straw for your Swell bottle
  15. Headphones for kids – these are my favorites by far – they fold down and the cords are durable
  16. packing cubes that can be condensed 
  17. Small charging cords!!
  18. teether that you can dip in ice water
  19. Charger
  20. Scooter Suitcase

Shop This Post


Other Travel Posts for Mom’s of Littles

Hopefully these hacks are really helpful for your next trip with your littles!  Traveling with young kids doesn’t have to be as stressful as it seems.  

More tips and tricks in this post

Road Trip Must Haves

Mom Travel Favorites

Remember it’s not the time to do without technology or candy….make it a fun, exciting day for everyone, and enjoy your trip!!

Pin the Photo below to find these Hacks for Traveling with Toddlers Later


Hacks for Traveling with Toddlers


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    January 26, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    Thanks for the tips! 2 questions:
    1) what age do you recommend for the roller pottery barn kids bag? I have a 2.75 year old and I’m trying to decide if he’s old enough to pull it or if I should get him a smaller bag to start.
    2) I think you said to leave the spout open on the hydro flasks. Does this keep them from spraying on an airplane vs the camelbacks?
    Thanks again!

    • Reply
      January 26, 2020 at 2:17 pm

      You’re so welcome!

      1. We got the bags for the kids I believe at ages 3 and 5, HOWEVER – pending the kiddo I would maybe wait until 4 or so to actually have them use it unless you need it for space. It also depends on if you have a layover, because kids rushing and rolling a bag doesn’t always do well.
      2. yes – I honestly DONT KNOW if the hydroflask will do that but after not one but TWO spraying of stranger situations with the camelbacks I am scared for life and leave them open to be safe haha!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    These are such great tips.

  • Reply
    January 30, 2020 at 7:06 am

    This was so helpful. This will make thing so much easier when we travel.

  • Reply
    January 30, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    Such a great help. Thanks for sharing

  • Leave a Reply