Traveling with Littles

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Being in a military family means having to learn to get good at traveling a lot. Whether it’s moving or going to visit family, it seems we’re always on the move. I’m a new mom with a three-month-old, and we recently took a quick flight to visit family. Thankfully, our daughter did great on the flight! Here are some things I did, or saw other traveling parents do, to help their littles travel well. 

Traveling with Littles Tips:traveling with littles

  • Give yourself plenty of time. Whether you’re driving or flying, be sure to plan extra time. Everything takes more time with kids, and the last thing you need is to be worried about catching your flight or making it to your destination on a tight schedule.
  • Try to plan around your kids’ schedules. I chose flight times during my daughter Lizzie’s regular nap schedule in the hopes she would sleep on the plane. Thankfully that worked great, and she slept almost the entire flight there and back. Lizzie generally has a “witching hour” in the evenings, so I avoided flights during those times.
  • Bring some fresh entertainment! Lizzie was only an infant; the only joy needed was a bottle. Other traveling parents purchase new toys to surprise their kids with new toys. For example, you could bring coloring pages, books, dolls, or trucks.
  • Try and stay calm. Kids mirror your energy, so you can try to remain calm and confident. This will help reassure your kids and show that traveling may be new. Remember – you got this!
  • Bring goody bags for the travelers around you. I saw a Mom do this once and thought it was genius! She packed little goody bags to give to the people sitting near her on the flight. She included some candy, gum, and, best of all – ear plugs. All with a little note that said something like, “This is our first time flying today! We’ll do our best to be quiet, but sometimes that’s hard for us. We appreciate your patience!” then signed the kids’ names and ages. This may help break the ice and remind others around you that although you may do everything you can to help your little ones behave, this is a new adventure and may be scary for them!
  • The last tip is from our HR Generalist Caitlin, who just traveled from Japan back to the states with two little ones! She said, “One of the most important things to carry with you when you travel with children is ‘grace.’ Grace to remember that one day your child may appear to be emotionally fine, and the next day they can’t handle another minute in their car seat. From toddlers to young children and teens, and parents too, we all need grace when we travel. Allow time for that unplanned meltdown, even if it’s standing in a long crowded line going through customs. We may think standing is a nice break from the long plane ride we disembarked from moments ago, but to our children, it’s another place where they are rushed to hurry up and wait. These little minds have BIG emotions, and those emotions might make a public debut on your trip. I encourage you to set aside any embarrassment of your child not behaving as you hope or expect and allow them to express their emotions through a quick meltdown or run around in place. At the same time, you wait in line for a sweet treat that speaks their love language, whether it’s food, a new special toy, or an extra long cuddle. Whether traveling to visit friends and family or in the middle of an international move, remember to give grace to your sweet, resilient children and yourself too.” Great advice!

And finally…

The first time traveling may be scary, but with anything, you can learn as you go! You got this! What tips and tricks have you learned traveling with littles?

annie burton


Annie Burton is the Director of Coaching for Tiny Troops Soccer. She began as a coach at our Fort Campbell location before transitioning into her current position. Annie has a passion for youth soccer and coaching, and uses it to help train our coaches, both new and experienced.