Simple Travel Tips for Parents

This post includes travel tips for parents. We went on a road trip this past weekend. The scenario was a five hour ride to a ski resort in the mountains with a 2.5 and a 1 year old. We stayed in a 400 square foot “junior suite” (basically a studio with a small kitchen). The below is just a taste of my musings on a survival guide not only for the car trip but during the stay as well. This list is only the beginning. There are many more tips to add but the below list is a good start. Lifting toddlers out of their familiar environment is challenging to say the least. They are certainly resilient but not without a little painful adjustment, mainly for us parents.

Tips for Traveling with Kids

A photo from one of our pitstops in BC.

Simple Travel Tips for Parents

  1. Bring Something Familiar – A blanket, a sheet, a stuffed animal, a book, a toy. Whatever it is, it’ll help ease your little one.
  2. Don’t Stress Out – Just remember that all bets are off when it comes to sleeping and eating, the source of typical parental worries and concerns. I know you’re probably rolling your eyes at this point but I mean it. Take it to heart. The more you relax, the better time you’ll have as a family. So, don’t crazily plan your vacation around naps. Sure, work them in but don’t stress about it. If you’re hiking, let your child sleep in a carrier. If you have a stroller, let your child sleep in a stroller. Read: Take the path of least resistance!
  3. Portable Entertainment is KeyTravel felt story sets are easy to pack and if you pick a story with lots of fun characters, your child will find all sorts of new adventures to have with these characters. We chose Giraffes Can’t Dance.  I packed an old wallet with old membership cards, an old check book, a small post it note pad, a mirror and other goodies. You’ll be surprised at how much entertainment this wallet will provide your child. Small container of crayons and small notebook are perfect for travel. I also added stickers for good measure. As we traveled, we stopped for coffee, obviously, so I grabbed a cup and cover for my children’s enjoyment. A stirrer adds a lot of fine motor skill development too.  A laminate lacing page is easy to pack too.  Lastly, masking tape is pretty key, especially if you have little boys who like vehicles of all kinds. You can create roads, tracks, letters, numbers and shapes for endless entertainment for your child all over your rental, your hotel room or your random relatives home.
  4. Splat Mat – I threw in our splat mat very last minute this last trip and it saved us. We ate meals – had “picnics” – on the floor and played with play dough on the mat. In other words, we contained the mess.
  5. Do your Research – I always know the local library, swimming pool, kid friendly food spots, etc at our destination.
  6. Find  a Place to Stop & Move Your Bodies – Know where a park is along your route. Pack a picnicYou’ll be amazed at what fresh air and running around exploring will do for children & adults!
These travel tidbits are just a few that I have to offer. We travel often and have many more tips bursting in our repertoire.

Thanks for visiting!



Founder, Publisher, Writer & Editor at Carrots Are Orange, Inc.
Marnie began Carrots Are Orange in 2010 after the birth of her first son. Carrots Are Orange is a Montessori inspired learning and living blog for parents and educators. She hails from Maine, a wonderfully down to earth place to grow up. Marnie moved to the west coast in 1999, currently living east of Seattle with her husband and three young boys. She is pursuing Montessori certification. Her work has been featured on Apartment Therapy, PBS Kids, BabyCenter, the Melissa & Doug blog, and


  1. April says

    Thank you so much for these tips and keep them coming. We are going to be traveling with a 23 month old in June for up to 10 hours away from home. We have never gone anywhere much over an hour away so this should be interesting. I love number 2 and I’m already trying to mentally prep for that one. LOL I love all your activity ideas and I know my son will too.

    • says

      Thanks Lauren! Oh, I am getting many wonderful ideas from my readers. I can’t wait to round them up and share the ideas! Thanks for visiting! -Marnie

  2. says

    Great list! The splat mat idea is fabulous. I usually use a blanket, but the mat would so much easier to clean while on a trip.

    Not stressing out over schedule changes is important. On one of our vacations, our son refused to sleep in his pack n play. He had to sleep with us at night, and he fell asleep in the car during the day for “nap” time. Not ideal, but we made it work.
    Trisha recently posted…Toddler Travel TipsMy Profile

    • says

      Holly, Love it! I once gave my child an empty kleenex box (out of desperation!) and it brought so much joy! Simple things. I am in the process of collecting all these sweet ideas and posting a follow up…TY.

  3. says

    I’ve never even heard of a splat mat! What a cool idea!
    Every time we travel long distance, my husband always laughs at me because I pack so much stuff! When our daughter was 3 months we took a 15 hour drive to a wedding. The car was loaded with stuff, even my exercise ball…Don’t laugh! Seriously, our daughter was colic, and bouncing on that exercise ball was the only thing that could get her to stop crying.
    Tasha recently posted…Types of Backpack Child Carriers – From Basic to DeluxeMy Profile

  4. says

    Wow! These are all great tips and I just love tip # 2. “Don’t Stress out.” Well, to be honest I’m the kind of person who easily gets stress out when things don’t turn out as planned but thanks for the advice I read in this post because it taught me how to overcome stress easily. I hope to follow all these great tips soon as we travel in Florida next month and bring my 2 adorable kids. Thanks for sharing this!

  5. says

    Having a 3 year old, we are about to travel this Christmas so your blog comes in handy with some ideas to think about. How times have changed, when i traveled as a little kid or we had was the game (I spy with my little eye) to keep us amused.
    Keep up the good work.

  6. says

    Great tips Marnie! I love traveling with my kids. Traveling with the whole family is really fun. Kids are not fully ready for the long drive during traveling, thus sometime it becomes complicated for me handle my little ones during journey, but it’s still fun & I feel great joy when I see the happiness in my kids faces after reaching to their favorite destination.

    Thanks for these simple travel tips. As a parent, I believe I could make my kids travel experience comfortable by following these tips.

  7. says

    Great tips. I also enjoy Traveling. Thank you so much for your gr8 work. I think this article will be usefull for person who is planning for trips.

  8. says

    Some good tips here. some of them we found out the hard way. I would definitely suggest bringing as much of their own gear as possible – including bowls, cups spoons etc. We found this really helped at mealtimes, especially eating out and where the food is a little unfamiliar.
    Portable entertainment is a must.
    Not stressing (yeah right !) is something I’ve never achieved but would definitely love to try !
    We found that its best to tell them in advance and “talk-up” the trip. If you can, show them pictures of where they’re going and what they might see.
    Good post and good site. thanks !
    Savvy P recently posted…Ireland’s Ancient EastMy Profile

  9. says

    Swimming pool is always key, especially after long car rides. We always search for hotels that have an indoor heated pool. Or if we are staying at an Airbnb or VRBO make sure it has a pool. The kids often remember the pool more than they do the rest of the trip.

  10. says

    this is a great eye opener . I am a new parent and have not traveled much but i am glad to know that a have this resourceful article to remind me on what dos and donts i have to make thanks for this …

  11. says

    really very nice and useful tips you suggest.Its not so easy to travel with childs..parents have to tack care about so many essential things.

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