So I am not an expert on this subject. I would never try to say I am, but I just spent the last three weeks traveling around the UK and Ireland with a three year old and I feel as if I have wisdom to share. Before we left, I searched and goggled trying to find some REAL travel tips for traveling with a three year old and EVERYTHING said the same things.  Be flexible, bring toys, blah blah blah, all things that were no brainers, so I vowed when my vacation started to come to a close I would write up my Top 5 Tips for Traveling with Toddlers.
1. AirBNB: I hate sharing a room with my son. It essentially means we go to bed at 8 or are stuck in the hallway every night of vacation, which sucks. My husband had tried a lot of things, whether it was attempting to book one bedroom hotel rooms (which ALWAYS ended up being more like creative studio apartments) or balconies etc.  This trip I said FORGET IT! I looked at hotel prices on all the stops of our trip and found AirBnB places of equivalent value.

This meant for the entire trip we were staying in 2 bedrooms flats, cottages and in one case a cute little caravan with kitchens, dining rooms, wifi, tvs, refrigerators, and most importantly, 2 bedrooms. This opened up so much for us.  For instance, coffee and breakfast without having to get dressed, the ability to not be on top of each other and LAUNDRY LAUNDRY LAUNDRY. And to be a little TMI, gave my husband and I ample alone time.  There are down sides like no maid service and odd and surprising places, but each place on our trip allowed up to see a new part of town and a new set of people.

2. Travel Toys.  Ok I know that is the generic write up I referred to, but I am about to get down to specifics. I will actually do a whole separate on the EXACT toys I purchased, but this is a place to spend some cash. All the blogs I read said "how to do travel toys cheap." I say screw that! Spend for sanity's sake! The key here is REUSABLE, REDOABLE, and where possible, things your kid can do on his/her own.
3. Pack Light! The thing I did the best this trip was lay down a mandate on everyone including myself that we would pack LIGHT. We were all allowed 5 shirts and three (ish) pairs of pants. Before everyone stares at me with open mouths, this really applies only if you are changing locations a lot. We did London, driving trip around Scotland and Ireland. We were literally in a new city every two days, but since our luggage wasn't OVERWHELMING, it allowed us to focus on other things. We had a lot more flexibility than any trip before. And in case you were curious, with all the laundry we did (detergent pods are the best invention ever), no one in my family ever felt like they were "out of clothes." At one point, however, I did start wearing my husbands clothes at night.

4. TRAVEL COOLER! I track Woot, like obsessively, and a couple months back this travel cooler popped up.  The cooler folds ups to be a nice flat piece, but is a GREAT cooler.  We checked it, brought it on trains etc. What is so special about a collapsible cooler? It means on road trips you can travel with whatever your family needs.  

In my family that is Almond Milk, Apple Juice, Orange Juice, an assortment of fruit (including strawberries wherever we could buy them), cereal (can'r survive without "Blue cereal"/ Frosted Flakes), and WINE!. After our initial leg of the trip, I put all my kids food, my travel food in the cooler.  It was nice not to have a carry on bag full of food.

5. Collapsible Containers and Water Bottles: This one goes with the Cooler and AirBnB.  Before we left I purchased some collapsible containers and water bottles. The containers ended up being SUPER awesome on the trip.  When my toddler refused to finish the spaghetti, lunch for tomorrow.  When we purchased a giant container of strawberries, I had somewhere to throw them all in. And as toddlers ALWAYS do, when my son tried one of every type of cracker we bought, we had safe containers to throw them in.  By the end of the trip instead of sifting through and assortment of travel food he just asked for the "green bowl."  Easy!

The water bottles were great when I wanted a container of juice always accessible. My son drinks juice CONSTANTLY, and it was nice to have something that was cheaper than CONSTANTLY buying juice boxes. I just went into the cooler and grabbed our big thing of juice and refilled each day.

Bonus: Try not to make drastic changes that will make life harder.  One mistake I made on this trip was taking pity on my three year old that we were in a new place night after night. To alleviate his fears, I crawled into bed with him, something we had always been SUPER against. And It is 8:30 pm on our last night of vacation and sadly I am listening to him SCREAM because I won't crawl into bed with him. If your kid isn't allowed candy, don't start giving him candy. If he can't have juice after 6 (a rule in my house) don't make a vacation exception. Makes things SOOO much harder when you get back to normal.  

So those are my Dubinsky Style tips...exact toys to come..


  1. I love this! Thank you so much! Awesome tips.

  2. These are great and different from the usual no-brainers! Agreed about the separate room and bedtime exceptions!


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