Travelling abroad with a toddler: tips and destination ideas for a great holiday

Many parents can often be nervous to travel with their toddlers, especially when planning their very first holiday abroad with the toddler. As toddlers are still very young, travelling can be concerning especially when travelling somewhere that requires a lot of hours on a plane, in a car or on a train. Toddlers often have a limited attention span, unlimited energy as well a need to nap often. All of these things mixed together raise concerns towards planning activities and booking tours. Travelling with a toddler can however be simple and stress free with the help of a few tips! Certain destinations cater very well towards family holidays and young children, therefore the important thing is to plan accordingly and figure out the best place to travel and the best activities suited for toddlers.

If you’re travelling somewhere abroad by plane, a few essential tips are to buy a seat on the plane for the toddler and to consider flying times. While many parents have their toddlers sit with them on the same airplane seat, having a separate seat especially for longer flights can provide a more tolerable experience for both child and parent, as everyone has more personal space. If you have the option to select your flight time, try to select a time that will not interfere with the child’s usual sleep schedule, for example flying in the morning after a good night’s sleep usually ensures a less cranky flight. Booking a night flight similarly ensures that the toddler will be sleepy enough to fall asleep on the plane. Toys and games are also essential for flights, car or train rides as they provide great distractions. A great tip for planning the holiday itself is to keep your days flexible. Yes it is important to plan an itinerary in order to ensure you see everything you wish but toddlers are so unpredictable that an afternoon stroll sightseeing might be interrupted by a sudden need to nap. Plan a few activities for each day but don’t jam pack too many in one day. If you’re bringing around a stroller, let your toddler nap in it when possible and continue exploring the city while they do so.

While it may sound surprising, there are a great number of destinations abroad suited for travelling with toddlers. Italy for example, its southernmost island Sicily offers something for every type of family. Not only is the food amazing, but between visiting ancient ruins, cobblestoned streets, gelato shops, artisanal stores and the countryside, families with toddlers can enjoy a relaxing and cultured holiday. Sicily is a great family friendly destination also because it offers many locally owned accommodations for a comfortable stay: websites like can help you sort through the many villas available for rent in Sicily and pick the perfect one.
Similarly, Spain offers a wonderful selection of mountains and coastal villages to the north, as well as picture-perfect towns and smaller cities like Granada to the south. Spain’s sunny coastal regions like Costa Brava and Costa del Sol are perfect destinations for family-friendly holidays under the sun! For families looking for outdoor adventures, Switzerland is a wonderful option. Switzerland is perfect for both summer and winter holidays as many resorts offer fun family-friendly activities like mountain biking trails, ski lessons as well as swimming lessons in the refreshing mountain lakes. Switzerland is extremely easy to get around and therefore ideal for families who do not wish to drive everywhere. Lastly, Portugal is not only one of the most affordable countries in Western Europe, but families often choose to visit the country for its great selection of picturesque castles and relaxing beaches.

While it can be intimidating to travel with a toddler a good family-friendly destination and a bit of planning ahead can ensure a fun and worry free family holiday!


*Collaborative post with Emily J*

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