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9 Tips For Travelling With Children Under 5


As any parent with young children knows, even a short trip in your local area requires careful planning. If you are going on holiday however, it can feel overwhelming when you are travelling with children, especially if they are under the age of 5. The key is in the planning, and in making sure that you are prepared ahead of your trip. Once you have mastered a few basic planning, packing, and travel tips however, you will be well on your way to enjoying your holiday with full peace of mind.

Travelling with Kids under 5

Here are 9 tips for travelling with children under 5...

Try to stay local

When you are travelling with young children a long-haul flight to the other side of the world is not necessarily the best choice. If you are travelling to see relatives then this may be unavoidable, but if you have the opportunity to choose where you are going, aim for short trips with a low flying time and limited connections when you arrive in your destination. This will be much easier on your children and on you as a parent.

Nurse when taking off and landing

If you are flying with young children the changes in air pressure during takeoff and landing can cause their ears to become sore. The best advice to combat this is to have your children suck on something like a bottle. If you are nursing try to feed on both take-off and landing and if children are bottle fed then you can give them a bottle or use a pacifier. For slightly older children you can offer them a soluble sweet such as a vitamin, although take care not to give young children hard boiled candy as this can be dangerous.

Pack a thoughtful carry-on

Think about everything you will need for the journey well ahead of time. This includes packing some light snacks for your children like biscuits or their favorite treats. Also think about toys and books to keep them occupied as well as a change of clothes in case of spills. Anything you need for your children on a daily basis like their favorite toy or pacifier needs to go in the carry-on as well, so make a list a few days before you fly and keep adding to it to make sure you don’t forget any essential items.


Traveling with children under 5 years old


Bring diapers

If your children are at an age when they are potty training or just out of diapers then it is a good idea to switch back to diapers for your journey. It will be stressful for your children to continue potty training while flying and can lead to accidents if they can’t go to the toilet quickly on a plane or a bus. It will not harm your child’s development to use diapers for a journey and will create peace of mind for everyone.

Bring a stroller and a carrier

When you are travelling it is a good idea to bring both a stroller and a carrier. This means that for short trips you can carry your young ones in a carrier and for longer trips you can use a stroller if they need to sleep. Don’t make the mistake of bringing one or the other as this will mean that you are limited in your options. Even if you rarely use a carrier at home you may find it essential when it comes to carrying your child on and off a plane when your stroller isn’t available.

Pack things from home

If you are staying away from home for an extended period of time then make sure to bring things with you to make your children feel more comfortable. These include items such as a night light that they have in their room that you can easily set up in a hotel as well as toys that they are used to having around and books. Make sure to also bring their favorite soothers such as blankets or even photographs that will remind them of home.

Don’t plan too many activities

When we are on holiday we usually want to pack in as much as possible. This is normal but it will make young children tired and fussy. As such keep your schedule light and flexible. Try to aim for one main activity per day such as visiting an aquarium and take it from there. If your children still have plenty of energy then by all means keep going, but make sure to also leave plenty of time for naps and rest periods during the day.

Check the website before you visit

It is amazing how many places have last minutes changes to a venue. An attraction such as a theme park may suddenly be closed for maintenance, or a venue may be out of bounds due to a private party. This means that you will have spent time getting to the venue only for children to be disappointed and part of the day may be wasted. This can all be easily avoided if you check the website or even call the venue the day before you plan to visit to make sure that you won’t have any problems visiting. It pays to plan ahead!

Avoid public transport

Travelling on public transport with children is difficult even at the best of times. If you are in a country where taxis are relatively cheap, such as Southeast Asia, make the most of them to get around. Having to take a long and complicated bus journey in a country you are not familiar with can be stressful and it will be tiring for young children. If you do have to take public transport then try to map out the easiest route. An example of this may be choosing a slightly longer journey which will be worth it if you don’t have to change lines several times.


Many parents put off travelling with young children out of fear that it may be too difficult and disruptive. There is nothing to worry about however, and travelling with youngsters can be one of the best things you will ever do. The key however is making sure that you have planned ahead as this will help you to make the most out of your holiday and can create memories that last a lifetime. 

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Aisyah Llewellyn
Aisyah Llewellyn is based in Sumatra in beautiful Indonesia. She writes widely about Southeast Asia and specializes in travel and food writing.
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