Tips for Solo Travel with a Toddler

Don’t let the thought of travelling alone with your little one put you off. With a few tweaks to your ideal itinerary and some extra time planning, travel with a toddler can be an amazingly rewarding experience.Travel is a wonderful thing. Whether you’re exploring the world or a local town, travel can open your eyes to new ways of thinking, amazing experiences and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Travelling with young children can make small trips seem like big adventures (or big adventures seem like mammoth expeditions!) but the advantages of taking those trips far outweighs the negatives.

I never thought I’d be road tripping through Europe with a toddler, let alone on my own with him. From that experience I learnt never to pass up an opportunity to travel with my child.

travel europe with a toddler

Don’t let the thought of travelling alone with your little one put you off. With a few tweaks to your ideal itinerary and some extra time planning, travel with a toddler can be an amazingly rewarding experience.

When my son was 18months old we headed over to Europe for a fantastic 6-week holiday. We travelled as a family of three for most of the trip but for a week it was just my little boy and me. I knew in advance this would be the case so spent plenty of time before the trip researching locations, accommodation choices, tips and travel tricks.

I thoroughly enjoyed that week. On the one hand, it was like I was travelling solo in that I had complete control of where I went and had to rely on my own capabilities. On the other hand, I never got lonely. My little person was always with me (often strapped to my body), he was great as a conversation starter and he helped me find joy in the most simple of things.


When it comes to travelling with a toddler (solo or otherwise), I have a few tips to make the adventure memorable for all the right reasons:

  • Don’t worry too much before hand
  • Choose child-friendly locations and accommodation
  • Slow down and allow for rest times
  • Research and prepare thoroughly
  • Avoid queues where ever possible
  • Make it obvious you have a toddler at airports
  • Don’t forget to pack toys
  • Baby wearing is awesome
  • Pack light

travel solo with toddler

  • Worry is a misuse of you imagination

While I spent a lot of time researching and preparing for our holiday, I also spent a fair amount of time worrying about what could go wrong. And you know what?… Nothing did! Don’t let fear, doubt, anxiety or worry stop you from travelling alone with your child. (You can read more about my pre-travel anxiety here)


  • Choose child-friendly options

I’m not a thrill seeker so was happy to have a relaxed time while it was just the two of us. I did my research and stayed at places where children were welcome and provided for. I deliberately booked self contained, modest units with kitchenettes so we had space to play and spend time indoors without the fear of breaking something or falling off a balcony. We also stayed a few nights at a bed and breakfast on a working farm, that was a great experience for a child.


  • Slow down and soak things in a little more

If we were all together as a family we would probably have gone for long day trips, booked restaurants at particular times…we would have been on the go. Instead, when travelling solo with my toddler, I spent afternoons walking through the forest, milking cows or splashing in the lake. I also allowed for plenty of chances to have a rest or nap. Making the effort to slow down and look at the world in wonder, through the eyes of a child made the quiet activities even more special.

slow down solo travel with kids

  • Preparation is key

That old saying if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail repeated in my mind while planning the holiday and I’m so glad it did. I wrote lists, pinned articles, read reviews and packed all the right things. I felt prepared and I was! I had all the ‘things’ organised and it served us well because we didn’t need to worry about where to find something, what number to call, what to wear etc. It was all taken care of in advance meaning fewer things could go wrong.


  • Skip the crowds

I’m not a fan of crowds (my son likes them even less), so my advice would be to avoid them if at all possible. Booking tickets ahead of time and visiting tourist destinations early in the morning or late in the afternoon might be a better bet than lining up and risking being stuck in a queue with a cranky toddler.


  • Airport Queue Jumping

In every airport we visited in Europe we were invited to cut to the front of the queue. For a family not used to VIP treatment this was quite a thrill! At one stage we were at the back of a long line and our little one started to squirm, we knew it would be a very uncomfortable wait for everyone around us, so I sat him on my shoulders and in less than a minute there was an airport employee ushering us to the front of the line. This privilege is reserved for parents with young children.


  • Pack some favourite toys and new activities

It’s super important to keep your child amused on flights and long drives, but it also pays to think about what they’ll need when you reach your destination. I spent plenty of time pre-holiday researching appropriate toys to take with us. I wanted to make sure everything I chose would hold my child’s interest, were age appropriate, versatile, lightweight and compact so they don’t take up too much room in our travel bag. If you’re stuck for ideas on which toys to take, I have a few suggestions here.

Flying Sprout puppet busy bag

  • Baby wearing is a life saver

Little legs can’t be relied on to do much walking and pushing a pram around all day is hard work. Having a baby carrier meant I could have my hands free, my toddler could nap whenever he liked and we both felt safe and secure. (Read more about the advantages of baby wearing here)

Baby wearing travelling solo

  • Don’t pack more than you need (besides nappies. Always pack extra nappies!)

Think long and hard before leaving home about what is absolutely necessary while travelling. Especially if you’re travelling solo, remember that you’ll be responsible lugging it all around while also looking after you child (see previous point about baby wearing 😉 )


Travelling with a toddler was easier and more fun than I expected. While I prefer travelling as a whole family, I’ll never again shy away from travelling alone with a little one, and hope you wont either.


If you have any great family travel experiences or tips I’d love you to share them below!


Busy Bag Review by Finding Myself Young

Finding Myself Young is a fantastic website and blog written by a lovely lady named Toni.

I was very lucky to have Toni contact me, saying she’d like to feature Flying Sprout’s Busy Bags on her weekly Mummy Must Have review. I was even more lucky to have her write such wonderful things about my products!

You can find the blog post here. While you’re there I encourage you to read through her other reviews and discover some amazing must have items for your little one to enjoy.

You can also follow Toni on Instagram, @finding_myself_young.

happy little kids

The Advantages of Babywearing While Travelling

When faced with the choice whether to use a pram or babycarrier while travelling or on holiday, the benefits of a wearing your baby make it a clear winner.

The advantages of baby wearing while travelling are many, too many to list. I have found baby carriers to be one of my most valuable possessions as a parent, particularly a travelling parent! While I love using a pram for everyday walks around my local area, I have never taken one on a holiday. I’ve always chosen a baby carrier rather than a pram, here’s why…

baby wearing Infographics

  • Using a pram to get around can be hard. I find it challenging to manoeuvre through crowds of people, tricky to load in and out of the car and near impossible when faced with a flight of stairs. All of these scenarios are almost guaranteed when travelling. Wearing your baby in a carrier, wrap or sling makes crowds insignificant, getting into a car easy and allows you to run up the stairs if you really want to!
  • Travel can be overwhelming for adults and is especially so for children. With all the new sights and sounds little ones can easily get emotional and clingy. Being in a baby carrier where they feel physically safe and secure is hugely reassuring for them and can eliminate a potentially stressful meltdown for you.
  • The safety and security your child feels when being worn also helps them to sleep comfortably and we all know how important that is, ESPECIALLY while travelling!!
  • Moving through crowds, airport checkpoints and sightseeing in new cities is made much easier without a pram. Having both your hands free to fill out forms, feed yourself on the go and hold luggage is made possible by wearing your baby.
  • Finding yourself in crowded places with a young child can bring up issues of safety. Keeping your little one close means less chance of getting separated from them…. and you cant get much closer than having them attached!
  • Packing light can be a challenge, especially when you have a young child! Baby carriers are light and most fold up very small; small enough to place in a nappy bag or carry on. Prams, on the other hand, can be very heavy, awkward to fold and are too large to pack away, meaning you need to take an extra piece of luggage everywhere you go.
  • Family travel often sees us accompanied by a mountain of luggage, usually too much for one person to wheel around, baby wearing frees up your hands so you can wheel along a suitcase or trolley without also having to chase after your child.

There are many different baby carriers in the market. They vary in price, comfort and ease of use.

For newborns I can’t go past a stretchy wrap, like those by Moby or Hug a Bub. You can take your baby in and out of the carrier without having to unwrap it each time.
Moby brand stretchy wrap

For babies who are a few months old all the way up to 20kg toddlers, my saving grace is a Tula. Tula’s are easy to use, weigh nearly nothing, fold down very small, are ergonomically designed (very important!), super comfortable and look great! They aren’t cheap but are worth their cost ten times over in the piece of mind and convenience they offer.

Tula baby carriers can be worn on your front or back
Tula baby carriers can be worn on your front or back.

Next time you are travelling, do yourself a favour, leave the pram at home and take a baby carrier instead.

Travelling with a Toddler – Unnecessary Stress and Worry

Travel can be an exciting adventure. It can also be a stressful struggle. In many cases, the difference between these two experiences is simply our mindset.

Travel can be an exciting adventure. It can also be a stressful struggle. In many cases, the difference between these two experiences is simply our mindset.

Travelling with a toddlerWhile we certainly cannot control everything, and children have their own way of creating chaos, we can control ourselves. The way we plan for and approach our travels can help ensure things run as smoothly as possible, with the minimum amount of stress.

I am very fortunate to have travelled a lot with a toddler so I know the stress that can come before setting off on a big journey. I also know the anxiety that comes from imagining the worst-case scenario and the relief when you realise all the worry was unfounded.

When my little one was 18 months old my family went on a European adventure. We flew from Australia (2 flights, 23 hours in the air) to France and road-tripped through six countries. In that time I spent 5 days travelling alone with my son, driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road through non-English speaking countries and …. I had a blast!

I look back and think of all the time I spent worrying about what could potentially go wrong and seriously regret all the unnecessary stress I caused myself.

I worried about:

  • My child crying throughout the flights and disturbing everyone
  • None of us sleeping on the aeroplane
  • Not being able to communicate with locals
  • Not finding places to park or being able to read road signs
  • Having an accident in the hire car

None of those things, which I’d spent so much energy worrying about, actually eventuated. Not one!

  • My little one was wonderfully behaved and we all slept in the flights.
  • There are many English speakers in Europe plus loads of translation apps you can use to communicate.
  • The GPS worked wonderfully, so reading road signs was a non-issue and finding car parks was easy.
  • We handed the hire car back without so much as a scratch.

I've got 99 problems and 86 of them are completely made up scenarios in my head that I'm stressing about for absolutely no logical reason.

They say ‘live with no regrets’ but I’ll tell you what, I seriously regret the time I worried about all the things that would never even happen!

The only benefit that came from worrying about what could go wrong, was an increased motivation to through plan our trip; good places to stay, activities to keep a toddler amused, apps that make travel easier etc. Good planning meant everything that could go right did!

It was an amazing learning experience and I am so proud of what we achieved. We made memories that will last us a lifetime, I discovered abilities I didn’t know I had but most notably, I learnt that worry is a serious misuse of my imagination and there is no need to worry about what may or may not happen in the future because, that only takes away from the present.

Worry is a misuse of your imagination

Disclaimer: The worst we experienced was 2 days of seriously grumpy teething in 35 degree heat without air conditioning. But hey, plenty of cuddles, gelato and taking things a little slower was all we needed to get through that!