From Paramedic To Parenthood: Essential Tips For Traveling With Toddlers

October 20, 2023

Bio: Katie McCann, founder of “From Bump To Bubble,” combines her BSc in Psychology and breastfeeding counselor certification to provide parents with science-backed insights and practical parenting tips. As a mother of two, she offers real-world parenting advice on her blog, serving as a valuable resource for both moms and dads. With over a decade of experience as a former HCPC paramedic, Katie also shares essential knowledge on emergency care, empowering parents to confidently handle health challenges. Whether you seek breastfeeding guidance, parenting tips, or mompreneurship insights, Katie’s expertise establishes her as a trusted voice in the parenting community.

Traveling with toddlers can be a challenging yet incredibly rewarding experience. As a former paramedic (with over a decade of experience) turned parent, I have learned that choosing the right mode of travel, financial planning, and smart packing can make all the difference.

In this guide, we will explore general family travel tips for traveling with young children that will help you enjoy the journey to the fullest. From selecting the ideal transportation method to ensuring a smooth move to a new home, we’ve got you covered.

Choosing The Right Mode Of Travel

Traveling with a toddler can be a challenging experience. As a parent on the go, your choice of transportation plays a significant role in making your trip smooth and enjoyable. So let us dive into some tips on choosing the right mode of travel for you and your little one.

  • First things first, consider if you will need a car seat for your toddler. It is essential to think about not only the safety aspects but also the convenience factor. A toddler car seat is an excellent solution to keep your child comfortable and secure throughout the journey. A travel car seat is often lighter and easier to maneuver than a bulky car seat. Be sure not to skip important safety standards checks though.
  • When flying, it is worth considering purchasing your toddler their own seat, as opposed to having them sit on your lap. This way, you can use a carry-on suitcase to save space and store essentials during your flight. Some say this is a safer way to travel, plus, it gives you your own seat, and your toddler a little extra room to relax.
  • Speaking of space, let us talk about bulky car seats. Nobody wants to lug around heavy equipment while traveling. A lighter, hands-free option could be a lifesaver during a long trip. A seat belt extender can be used to secure a toddler car seat, making it convenient, safe and accessible for those quick pit stops.
  • Dealing with low-cost airlines and getting a boarding pass for your toddler can be tricky at times. Be sure to check the specific airline’s policy and requirements for traveling with a young child. A well-prepared parent is a happy parent, after all.
  • As adventurous as it may sound, consider the option of traveling with an RV. This mode of transport offers flexibility in terms of sleeping arrangements and space for toddler essentials. Plus, who would not appreciate a little extra space to roam around and stretch their legs during a long drive?

Financial Tips For Family Travel

Traveling with toddlers can be an adventure, but it does not have to break the bank.

First, take advantage of loyalty programs offered by airlines, hotels, and credit card companies. By accumulating points or miles, you can redeem them for flights, accommodations, and other perks, making your family trip more affordable. Remember to sign up for these programs before you travel so that you’re ready to start earning as soon as your journey begins.

Next, consider the benefits of using credit cards when traveling. Some cards offer rewards like cashback, frequent flier miles, or hotel points, which can help offset the costs of your trip. Plus, most credit cards come with extra perks like travel insurance, lounge access, or waived foreign transaction fees. Just make sure to pay off your balance every month to avoid interest charges.

When you are booking flights and accommodations, be flexible with your travel dates. Prices can vary dramatically depending on the time of year, day of the week, or time of day. Experiment with different combinations to find the best deals. And do not forget to search for family-friendly discounts or promotions offered by airlines, hotels, and attractions.

Lastly, integrate some free or low-cost activities into your itinerary. Exploring local parks, beaches, or museums can be a fun and affordable way to create family memories. You might be surprised at the adventures you will find when you wander off the beaten path.

By following these tips, you will be well on your way to a budget-friendly family trip filled with laughter, adventure, and unforgettable memories!

Packing And Snacking For Success

You know, traveling with toddlers can be an adventure of its own! Think about how to make the experience enjoyable for both you and your little ones. Making sure your kids have comfortable things to help them fall asleep like a cozy blanket, a fluffy pillow, warm blanket, or their favorite stuffed animal should do the trick!

Do not forget to invest in a good travel stroller. This will be a lifesaver when you have to hurry through airports or unfamiliar streets. Also, always remember to carry the essential items your kids might need mid-flight, such as a change of clothes, some fun art supplies, or a pack of Pull-Ups for emergencies.

Pro-tip: Use plastic bags to keep wet or dirty clothes separate from the dry ones in your carry-on, and carry some trash bags for sudden spills.

For nursing mothers, managing milk supply while traveling can be a challenge, but modern technology offers solutions that make this task easier. If you are looking for the perfect tool to keep up with your pumping routine while on the move, consider investing in a wearable breast pump. They are discreet, hands-free, and incredibly convenient, allowing you to pump even while you are handling other tasks. It is a game-changer for moms on the go, ensuring your baby’s nutritional needs are met no matter where your adventures take you.

Now let us talk snacks. You never know when hunger will strike, and airplane snacks may not be toddler-friendly. So, it is wise to bring an assortment of easy-to-pack treats that will keep their little bellies happy and occupied during the trip.

Here is a quick essential list to remember:

  • Snacks: Keep it nutritious and mess-free.
  • Travel backpack: Make it entertaining with age-appropriate new toys and activities.
  • Emergency aid kit: Stock up on wipes, small band-aids, and other basics.

Before you take off, check in online to save time at the airport and get better seating options for you and your toddler. If your little one happens to be potty trained, be sure to make those frequent trips to the restroom, both at the airport and on the plane. Better safe than sorry!

Family-Friendly Destinations

Traveling with young kids can be a bit challenging, but do not fret! As a parent and professional in the emergency medical field, I have some practical insights to help you make the most of it. There are quite a few family-oriented vacation spots out there that cater to the needs of kids of all ages, including toddlers.

  • Many all-inclusive resorts offer designated kids’ clubs tailored for each child’s age (often kids ages 3-12), with activities designed to keep your toddler entertained, happy, and safe. You will not have to worry about them zipping off to a theme park on their own – the kids clubs resort staff will ensure they’re taken care of.
  • Speaking of theme parks, they happen to be another excellent choice for children younger than 5 years old. Many parks feature zones specifically designed for young kids, so there is bound to be a rollercoaster or two that your toddlers can safely enjoy. Just remember to check the height restrictions and other rules to make sure they are within the appropriate age group.
  • Now, if you are feeling bold and adventurous, consider venturing off to destinations where kids can be close to nature, like Switzerland. Breathe in the crisp mountain air and let your toddlers have a blast exploring the great outdoors. Trust me, when they’re all tuckered out after a day of adventure, you’ll have an easier time putting them to bed.

The key element to picking an awesome vacation destination with toddlers is ensuring activities cater to their interests and energy levels. Whether you head to an all-inclusive resort, an exciting theme park, or a picturesque countryside haven, choosing a destination with plenty of options for young children will not only be a memory-maker but also a sanity-saver for you.

First Aid Travel Tips For Families

So, you are planning a trip with your little ones, and suddenly, the thought of a scraped knee or a fever hits you! Here are some first aid travel tips to help you prepare for those unexpected bumps and bruises while on the road with your kids.

Start with the basics: Pack a well-stocked travel first aid kit, including band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and pain-relief medication for both adults and children. And if you have a fussy little one, it is wise to bring kid-friendly medicine dosages, as recommended by Trips With Tykes.

Keep it accessible: Stuff happens, so ensure your kit is easy to reach. Better yet, have a mini-kit on hand for smaller trips, excursions or airplane travel (check with the flight attendant if you are not sure what you are allowed to bring in carry on). This way, you will always be prepared for whatever minor injuries your child encounters without needing to dig through piles of luggage.

Sun protection is critical: Slather your kiddos with sunscreen to prevent sunburns, and do not forget wide-brimmed hats to shield those delicate little faces from the rays. Trust me, a sunburnt toddler is not the travel buddy you want.

Stay hydrated, always: Kids run around like ecstatic tornadoes, so keep water handy on your trips. Hydration is important when it comes to staying healthy and energized. Packing a reusable water bottle not only keeps your child quenched but also saves the environment. Win-win!

Mini first aid course: In case of emergencies, your kiddos will feel more secure if mom or dad knows what to do. The CDC suggests that adults should consider taking a basic first aid course before embarking on a family trip. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to ensuring your kids’ safety.

So there you have it! Prep well and stay alert, because let us face it, the little daredevils are always sure to give you a run for your money.

Traveling With Infants And Toddlers

Traveling with toddlers and younger kids can be an adventure filled with lifelong memories, but it can also be a challenge. As a paramedic and a mother, I have a few tips to make your next trip more enjoyable.

1. Age

Consider the kids’ age groups when booking your flight. Overnight flights might seem like a great idea, but nap time can be a game-changer. Make sure you align your flight times with your little ones’ sleeping schedule to avoid turning the airplane into a sleepless nightmare for you and your fellow passengers.

2. Bedding

An inflatable bed might come in handy for long haul flights, especially if you have snagged an extra seat. It is a win-win!

3. The View

While picking the perfect seats, think about the airplane window. Toddlers tend to be fascinated by the sights outside, so giving them a window seat can keep them entertained. However, make sure you are well-prepared to handle any sudden wails of excitement or fear as they spot a cloud shaped like a dragon gobbling up another airplane.

4. Multiples

Traveling with two kids? No problem. Just bear in mind each child’s age and needs, and adjust accordingly. You can create a balance between independence and supervision by seating one parent and the kids close to each other but not necessarily side by side.

5. Kids Ages

Always check the minimum age requirements for activities, tours, and transportation services at your destination. The last thing you want is to find out that your little one is too young to join in on that awesome camel ride.

Ensuring A Smooth Flight

Traveling with toddlers can feel like navigating airport security with a ticking time bomb. But don’t worry, I have some top tips to help you enjoy the journey. Many familys moving home need to navigate the plane travel so here are some top tips to make the experience more bearable!

Expect Ups And Downs

First things first, let go of the illusion that your entire flight will be peaceful. Accept the reality that kids can be unpredictable, and you are well on your way to a more relaxed trip. Laughter is a great way to handle it – after all, you will surely need a sense of humor during long-haul flights.

Baby Carriers

Invest in baby or toddler carriers so you can comfortably navigate baggage claim and walk through metal detectors without holding your wriggling toddler. Flight attendants will be more than willing to help you out. Whenever possible, try bringing another family member along. Sharing the load makes a huge difference, especially on a long flight.

Global Entry

Speaking of help, why not sign up for Global Entry? This fantastic program can save your whole family from meltdowns in the expedited airport security line. Trust me; it is worth every penny. Your stress levels (and fellow passengers) will thank you.

Toys And Snacks

During the flight, engage with your toddler as much as possible. A small bag filled with age-appropriate toys and snacks to keep them entertained is a game-changer. Upon landing at your destination, opt for a hotel room with separate sleeping areas. This allows both you and your child to have some space for unwinding after a long day of adventure.

Breast Milk On The Go

If you are a nursing mother, ensuring your baby has a sufficient milk supply during the journey is crucial. The good news is you can take breast milk with you, even if it is frozen. It is essential to know how long breast milk can stay frozen in a cooler during travels.

This article, How Long Will Breast Milk Stay Frozen in a Cooler, provides valuable information on the topic, ensuring you are well-prepared. Plan ahead, and you can maintain your breastfeeding routine even in transit. It is just another way to ensure a smoother trip for both you and your baby.

With a bit of preparation and a light-hearted approach, your trip can be enjoyable for the whole family. Embrace the chaos as you embark on memorable journeys with your little ones.


As we wrap up this journey from paramedic to parenthood, remember that traveling with toddlers is an adventure like no other. It is a blend of laughter, unpredictability, and lifelong memories. By choosing the right mode of travel, managing your finances wisely, packing strategically, and selecting family-friendly destinations, you can create unforgettable experiences for both you and your little ones.

And when it comes to safety and first aid, a well-prepared parent is a confident parent.

So, buckle up, keep that sense of humor handy, and embark on these exciting journeys with your infants and toddlers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the secret to survival on a plane with a tiny tyrant?

As a paramedic and mother, I can say that distraction is your best friend. Bring along their favorite toys, snacks, and activities, but also introduce some new ones to keep them engaged. Do not forget headphones for kids’ entertainment. Remember, a well-fed and entertained toddler is less likely to start a revolution at 30,000 feet.

Are there any magical travel beds that turn toddlers into sleeping angels?

While I cannot promise you a magical travel bed, I can recommend investing in a comfortable, portable one. Many options are available, from inflatable beds to foldable cots. Choose something that suits your toddler’s age and size. Creating a familiar sleep environment by bringing their favorite blanket or stuffed animal can also help them drift off to dreamland more easily.

What items are a must for my toddler travel toolkit?

A well-stocked travel toolkit can make all the difference. Include essential items such as wet wipes, diapers, extra clothes, medications, and travel-sized toiletries. Do not forget comfort items like their favorite blanket or stuffed toy. A travel with toddler checklist can be helpful. Remember to also pack snacks and drinks to avoid hangry meltdowns.

Any tips on making flying with a lap-sitting tot less like a wrestling match?

Flying with a lap-sitting toddler can be challenging. To make it less of a wrestling match, try these techniques:

  1. Choose your battles. Let them wiggle and fidget within reason. It is okay if they do not sit perfectly still the entire flight.
  2. Bring a lightweight baby carrier for when they need a change of position or a quick walk down the aisle.
  3. Practice good hygiene! Keep your hands and the surrounding area clean to minimize risk of illness.
  4. Timing is crucial. Consider booking flights during their naptime or bedtime, and remember, a sleeping toddler is a peaceful one.

Follow these tips, and you are more likely to enjoy a smoother overnight flight along with your little one. Happy travels!

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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