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Embarking on a solo journey with a toddler can be an exhilarating experience. Questions like, “Will my baby behave?” or “How will I manage all the luggage with just two hands?” might pop up. I recently undertook a solo trip to Genoa, Italy, with my daughter, Lotte. It was our first “girls only” city trip, and it was fantastic!

Preparing for a Solo Trip with a Toddler: What’s the Strategy?

Preparation largely depends on your child’s travel experience. Lotte, for instance, is quite the globetrotter. The only significant change this time was the absence of her father and brother. So, not much preparation was needed in that regard. However, whether your child is a seasoned traveller or a first-timer, it’s crucial to walk them through the upcoming journey. For example, I told Lotte, “We will have a transfer. It’s very important you walk by yourself, as mum has to carry all suitcases and doesn’t have any hands free to carry you as well.” If your toddler is a first-time traveller or flyer, there are numerous children’s books available that can help prepare them for the trip.

Mastering Luggage Management

The key to successful travel, especially when alone with a toddler, is to travel light. Remember, you’ll be carrying everything yourself. If you’re planning a weekend trip, try to limit your luggage to hand-carry items only. For longer trips, while you can check-in your suitcases, don’t forget that there will be times when you’ll have to handle all your luggage by yourself. So, ensure you can manage it. Juggling two suitcases and a stroller might be challenging.

Pro tip: If you carry your toddler in a child carrier, you can manage a shoulder bag and two trolley suitcases all by yourself.

Essential Items for Solo Travel with a Toddler

Beyond the usual necessities, there are a few items I highly recommend for solo travel with a toddler:

  • Stroller: Only bring one if it’s useful at your destination. Many Asian cities, for example, aren’t very stroller-friendly. However, a stroller is perfect for airports, with their long walks and waits. It also provides a convenient spot for a nap at your destination. If you bring a stroller, a backpack is a more ideal companion than a trolley.
  • Kids Carrier for Toddlers: This is my favorite! It’s perfect for “stroller unfriendly destinations” or if you simply prefer carrying your toddler. They come in various shapes and sizes. For a toddler, I highly recommend the Deuter Kid Comfort and Tula Toddler. The former is ideal for long hikes, while the latter is more suitable for short strolls. The biggest benefit of a kids carrier when travelling alone is that it leaves both your hands free, for example, to carry your suitcases.

Trunki Kids Suitcase: A Travel Essential

Our children absolutely adore their Trunki suitcases. These suitcases, specifically designed for kids, come in the most adorable designs. They feature wheels and a pull cord, allowing kids to either use them as a walker or take a seat and be pulled along. When you’re managing your own trolley in one hand, you can easily pull the Trunki with your child on it in the other.

Entertainment for Kids on Flights

If you’re aiming for a relaxing flight, providing entertainment for your kids is essential. For long-haul flights, I pack a backpack with small presents for every hour, ranging from a rice cracker to stickers. I wrap them all to add an element of surprise, as my kids love unwrapping gifts. And yes, we always bring the iPad loaded with a variety of apps for educational entertainment. The iPad, with its capacity for hundreds of games and films, takes up minimal space. Don’t forget to pack a headphone as well. Your fellow passengers will certainly appreciate it.

Essential Travel Tips for Parents

Traveling with children can be a rewarding yet challenging experience. Here are some tips to make your journey smoother and more enjoyable.

1. Always Carry Snacks

A hungry child can quickly become grumpy. To avoid this, always carry snacks like apples, carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, and a little cookie. It’s also handy to have water with you. I recommend carrying an empty Dopper bottle and filling it up after the security check.

2. Pack Peanut Butter and Vitamin Pills

If you have picky eaters, consider packing a jar of peanut butter and vitamin pills. The peanut butter can fill empty stomachs, and the vitamin pills can help ensure your children are getting their necessary nutrients.

3. Don’t Forget Your Tripod and Bluetooth Remote Control

To capture all the beautiful moments of your trip, consider bringing a tripod and a bluetooth remote control. These gadgets allow you to take photos from a distance and at any moment, without needing to ask a passerby for help.

Mastering Solo Travel with a Toddler

Traveling solo with a toddler can be a rewarding experience, but it’s essential to maintain a relaxed attitude. Children are highly sensitive and can easily pick up on your stress levels. To ensure a smooth journey, avoid packing your itinerary from dawn till dusk. Instead, maintain a travel pace that your toddler can comfortably keep up with. Incorporate activities that they enjoy alongside your own interests. For instance, you could schedule “grown-up” activities in the morning and reserve the afternoon for “kid-friendly” fun.

If your child is a bit older, involve them in the planning process by asking what they would like to see and do. This inclusion can make them more excited about the trip. Traveling alone with your child can be a beautiful experience, offering ample time to bond and create lasting memories. If you have the opportunity to take your child on a one-on-one trip, don’t hesitate – you won’t regret it!

Note: This article “Mastering Solo Travel with a Toddler” contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.


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