Personal Blog

Tips for Traveling with a Toddler

For the last eight days we have been traveling northern Michigan with our toddler. These are my tips and what I've learned through the process.

*Disclosure – The links below are affiliate links, meaning, we will earn commission if you click through and make a purchase. 


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A couple of months ago my husband and I were at a brewery and I did something I’m trying my hardest not to do. I MOM shamed. I didn’t mean to and I didn’t even realize I was doing it until later. 

This Mom and Dad were trying to enjoy a late lunch and beer with their kid, but the said kid had different plans. He was running around tables and was very hard to control. The parents gave him a toy and the kid went under the table to play with it. He was laying on the ground of a brewery. I said to myself ‘wow – I can’t believe that Mom is allowing that’. I didn’t place that blame on the Dad or even them together. I blamed the Mom.

Cue the other nights dinner at a bar/grill on the water (Dockside!). Our child was running around tables and, according to the drunk men next to us, Ben was being ‘fathered’ (being given a talkin’ to by my husband). We weren’t embarrassed, but we were frustrated. We gave Ben a toy and he proceeded to go under the table to play with it. I was the mom that I shamed just months ago. Ironic, right?

This leads me into what I’ve learned about traveling with a FULL BLOWN TODDLER (2.5 years old). 

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My family. So thankful to have spent this time with them.

What we did: we took a road trip (four hours) to stay eight nights in northern Michigan. It was myself, my husband, our 2.5 year old and our dog.

1. The best plans are no plans.

I went into this trip not planning a single thing and I am so grateful for that. If I had, we would be going out of our minds because we wouldn’t make any of them.

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Boat Sleeping makes the BEST naps

You cannot predict when a toddler decides to throw down. By having no plans it allowed us to just go with the flow and decide on the spot what Ben seemed to be up for.

We made sure there was continuity in our everyday. Each morning we would go to the Muffin Tin and get a muffin, walk to the park and walk to the lighthouse. This way he knew what each morning brought. Our afternoons (after nap) were the times where we did something different.

2. Pack your patience and when those run out, tag in your partner.

This has been working really well for us. Ben is at an age of utter defiance and total independence. He pushes every button. When one parent has reached their limit the other one steps in.

All we needed to do is look at each other and we knew. It was our turn.

3. Pack a crazy amount of stuff to do wherever you are staying.

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Fishing was his FAVORITE

Ben needed consistency in his everyday. We brought his favorite toys and every morning he got to play with them just like at home. It made vacation feel a little bit more normal for him.

Ben is huge into Super Wings and all things transportation. We were lucky enough to get him a bunch of those little guys before the trip and Water Wows.

4. Throw away all self-consciousness.

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This moment made me cry ❤

I have a VERY hard time with my body. I’m a pretty confident person, but I absolutely hate wearing a bathing suit.

We’ve been to the beach almost every single day and I surprisingly had no issues when I got there. The water was beautiful and my son wanted me in with him. I threw my issues out the window. I thought, ‘who cares?’ Of course, no one did.

Other Quick Tips:

  • Eat outside at restaurants whenever possible.
  • Enjoy small/simple moments.
  • Turn off your phone.
  • SO much sunscreen! We LOVED Coppertone Babies/Toddlers 50 SPF. Adam and I got AWFUL swimmers itch and Ben didn’t because of this. Can’t recommend enough!
  • Buy stock in the Melissa and Doug Water Wow! Ben LOVED this and it kept him entertained for a solid hour at a time.
  • Be close to an urgent care or hospital. You never know when you may need it (we did!)
  • Bring tissues cause you will tear up (in a good way). I can’t even count how many times I did. It was so wonderful.

When it comes down to it, traveling with a toddler can be very tough. You need to take that for what it is and lower your expectations of them and yourself. They’re only little once, right? Make it count. I know we made the last eight days count for us.

Your MF’er (Momfamer),

Lisa

One comment

  1. Great, well written post. I really like the note about knowing where the closest urgent care and ER is located. Crazy health scares can come up when you’re traveling…especially with a toddler.

    Liked by 1 person

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