Time for takeoff

How to travel with kids (and stay sane)

Good morning, everyone! You asked, and we’re delivering. Today: the FamilyMade guide to traveling with toddlers. I know I said last week that this edition would be about potty training, but we’ll get to that very (very!) soon. Our team wanted you to get this holy grail of travel tips ASAP so you can put these theories into practice this Labor Day weekend. Happy trails! ✈️


Your No-Turbulence Guide to Traveling with Toddlers

Remember when your biggest travel worry was whether you’d have a piña colada or a strawberry daiquiri for your first poolside vacation drink? We can barely recall a trip that didn’t entail rented cribs and mid-plane meltdowns.

But the truth is? Shawn, Andrew, and every parent I polled agree that traveling with kids—seeing the world through their eyes—is better than any trip pre-babies. Even Ibiza 2014.

Pulling off the full-family vacation requires preparation, though. Consider these questions before hitting the road.

Question 1: Where should we go?

Picture taking your two-year-old on a 10-day hiking excursion through the Swiss Alps. Now picture taking your two-year-old to the beach three hours from home.

Some destinations just make more sense for traveling with young kids (save the Swiss Alps for your first empty-nester vacation). When choosing where, consider what might be fun for both you and your child.

And once you land on the right locale? Consider:

  • Accommodations. For some families (read: The East Fam), an Airbnb with extra bedrooms is non-negotiable. For others, hotels with room service are ideal.

  • Length of stay. If you’re facing a major time change, expect a haywire nap schedule for the first few days.

Question 2: What should we bring?

AKA the East family’s guide to packing for vacation. I asked Shawn and Andrew for their can’t-forget items:

  • “Snacks are key.” Aren’t they?

  • “Pack light and be prepared to pick up things as you go.” Instead of packing 100 diapers, pack enough to get through your travel day and head to the store once you’re settled in.

  • One duffel for each kid with “basically everything that goes in a crib,” Andrew said. Noise machine, blankets, etc.

Question 3: How should we get there?

No matter what your means of transportation, keep this in mind: “Allow your kid to play around and don’t have unrealistic expectations that they will be prim and proper like an adult,” Shawn said. “And if other people judge you for your kid being a kid? That’s on them.”

If you’re traveling by plane ✈️ : TikToker Claire Edwards shared her tips for air travel with kids and the comments section was the best parenting book I’ve read. Some standouts:

  • Nap-ready and hungry at takeoff works.

  • Bring an extra outfit and 2x the diapers you think you’ll need onboard. Promise.

  • Board last so you spend less time on the plane.

  • A bottle, pacifier, or food during takeoff and landing can help with pressure changes.

If you’re traveling by train 🚂 : A train? Must have a Thomas superfan.

If you’re traveling by automobile 🚗 : Shawn suggested a “mystery bag.” A few days before you leave, gather some of your kid’s favorite toys and stash them in a special bag that they won’t be able to open until you’re on the road. “They’ll have this excitement—what’s in this bag? I want to play with it,” Shawn said.

And take it from Shawn, Andrew, and potty-trainee Drew—bring a travel potty if you can.

Question 4: Am I ready?

I bet the answer is yes. Becoming a parent doesn’t mean giving up who you are, globetrotters included. “Traveling with kids is not easy, but it can still be enjoyable,” Shawn said.

Just set your expectations. Your toddler might not sleep well. Your plans will probably be derailed. You definitely won’t relive Ibiza 2014. But you will get to see your child experience something new, and that’s worth celebrating.

Bonus: Traveling with kids is “organized chaos,” according to our friends the Millers at What’s Up Beautiful People! Here’s how they travel with all seven kids…the good, the bad, the ugly.

What if there was Airbnb but for baby gear? Turns out there is, and Shawn and Andrew use it all the time. It’s called BabyQuip and it lets you rent all that bulky baby equipment that costs so much to check at the airport—strollers, play mats, cribs, and more—wherever you’re traveling.

Baby with a passport alert 🚨 For some traveling with kids inspo, tap through fashion creator Tezza Barton’s recent trip to Italy with her nine-month-old daughter Coco here, here, and here. Relatable? Only if your baby crawled for the first time on an influencer trip in Capri. Pinterest-worthy? Totally.

Hey Guinness? Shawn and Andrew attempted to break 13 (13!) world records. If you read that and thought “must be easy for an Olympic gymnast and NFL long snapper” I urge you to think again…you have my money-back guarantee that you will laugh.

The “newborn scrunch”—maybe you know it. My FYP has been inundated with videos of the moment your infant scrunches up their little legs when you lift them out of a bassinet or car seat. Watching these videos has cured all my problems. I think it even improved my credit score. Tag us if you’ve posted a newborn scrunch video!

That’s all for today! Thank you so much for reading. Enjoy your week and I’ll see you back here Friday for some Q&A.