Motherly Collective

Traveling with kids can feel like an experiment in chaos theory. From tantrums to lost toys, delayed flights to diaper blowouts, you never know what unexpected variables will be thrown into the mix. It’s enough to make any parent consider taking a staycation for the next decade. But in today’s world, where families are often separated by a plane ride, staying home for the holidays is sometimes not an option. 

Is it worth it? I’m here to tell you that, yes, yes it is. As a mother who’s traveled quite a bit with my babies, and co-founded Bébé Voyage, the premier community of parents traveling with small children, I acknowledge that it doesn’t come without its challenges.

So, if you’re one of those moms who has opted out of travel, trust me, when I say, I get it. Traveling with kids, especially when they are little, is not for the faint of heart. 

But if you can or want to or must travel, I promise you, you will come out on the other side with a fresh perspective on motherhood. A perspective that, in my opinion, will tighten your bond with your children, force you to slow down, take a breath, discover a destination as a local and discover the power of community and the goodness in strangers. In short, you will become a more adaptable mother and person.

Reframe how you view travel with kids

There is only so much planning you can do while traveling with kids, especially when they are little. Flight delays, toddler tantrums, jet lag, all of these factors and more can affect your carefully planned trip. When packing that suitcase with every single possible gadget, snack, toy and book, you think you will need even the most confident of moms can feel like they are going into battle. And, sure enough, despite your overpacking, you’ve certainly forgotten something. 

The struggle is real. 

But here’s what I learned on the many trips I took with my children. 

Just let go. 

At the end of the day, there’s so much you can’t control. Whether the flight takes off on time or whether your toddler will choose to spend the entire flight screaming. 

If you start to think of traveling with your kids as an adventure, maybe you’ll start to feel some excitement, a chance to break out of the routine. With time, you’ll notice that the more you accept that external variables will throw your careful planning off, the more you will become an adaptable and resilient mom.

Juliets kids looking at tour eiffel Motherly

Take it slow

I recently took my own advice on a visit to Paris. Naturally, the first day we were exhausted. Aside from a potential walk to the closest playground, I planned nothing. That day was about relaxing and napping. The next day, we leisurely walked over to the Eiffel Tower and climbed it. That was our one grand plan for our short stint in Paris, and it was enough. My kids were thrilled, and, frankly, so was I. Had we tried to fit in more, we would have all been overwhelmed and exhausted.

Forget the days of jam-packed itineraries and non-stop sightseeing. That’s exhausting. Your kids will suffer, and so will you. Choose one memorable activity, like a guided tour or monument visit, and one small activity, like a visit to a local park, per day. 

Here’s another tip that I tried out. I made sure to plan absolutely nothing before 11am. Why suffer through trying to get my children (and myself) completely adjusted to the time zone? Seriously, not having to force ourselves to get up super early and just ease into our day was a game-changer. 

the three of us Juliet and kids Motherly

Open yourself up to new people and experiences 

Traveling with little ones gives you a unique opportunity to explore new places and experiences through their curious eyes. When you’re not bee-lining from one activity to the next, you never know what hidden gems you might discover. 

You might spot a charming playground or a family-friendly restaurant with a delightful outdoor play area. Take the detour. Your kids will have a blast playing outside, maybe even making new friends, while you can relax and enjoy that glass of wine you’ve been craving. Take a cue from your kids and dive into local culture by chatting with other moms at the park. You might be surprised by the insider tips and hidden gems you’ll learn about. Who knows, you might just learn about the best family-friendly pizza joint in town, or hear about a free concert in the park that’s perfect for the whole family. 

Making new parent friends along the way can be eye-opening. You might discover that in other places parenting is a bit different (and sometimes better!). This is your chance to let go of parenting expectations, learn how other cultures do it and just be yourself with your kids. 

kids looking at view Motherly

Accept help

Once I started traveling with both my babies, I made a surprising discovery—more often than not, there are good people in this world willing to help a struggling mom. I’ve been in precarious situations juggling a baby and a toddler while carrying luggage, and kind strangers have come to my rescue.

For those moms who feel the pressure to do it all, traveling with little ones has taught me to not be afraid to accept help. People understand and have probably been in your shoes at some point.

And it’s not just IRL help. In this digital age, we have the opportunity to connect with parents all over the world to ask for tips and insider knowledge. Parents want to help other parents. As a co-founder of Bébé Voyage, I’ve witnessed firsthand how our global community of parents comes together, over and over again, to offer support and advice for traveling with kids. 

One member once posted at 2 AM in Paris, begging for tips to help his jetlagged daughter fall asleep. Within minutes, members flooded his post with helpful comments and encouragement. 

I know as well as any parent that traveling with young kids is daunting. But it can also be an enriching experience that teaches us so much about ourselves and our children. As we step out of our comfort zones and embrace new cultures and experiences, we cultivate our adaptability as parents, learn from others and deepen the bond we share with our little ones. So take that leap and embark on a family adventure. 

Check out some of Motherly’s favorite products for traveling with kids to make your adventures easy and fun!

SlumberPod 3.0 Portable Privacy Pod


3.0 Portable Privacy Pod


Filed under: “How did we ever live without it,” the SlumberPod might be one of the best baby travel gear products of all time. Designed to work with playards, mini cribs, toddler cots and even kid-sized inflatable mattresses, this black-out sleep pod creates a dark and cozy sleep space anywhere, any time of day. The tent-like construction assembles just like you’d expect with two poles and clips and simply sits over top of their sleep space. It’s got plenty of ventilation including a fan pocket so even hot sleepers stay comfy throughout their slumber. And if you end up using it at home too, well you wouldn’t be the first parent to do so!


Amazon Basics Portable Blackout Curtains

Amazon Basics

Portable Blackout Curtains


Alternatively, for sleepy time away from home, these portable blackout curtains come in clutch. They’re designed with suction cups to easily affix to the window and feature velcro edges that allow you to customize the dimensions. There are several colors and patterns to choose from which each come packed in a convenient travel bag.

Baby quip

Or travel light and rent your gear instead!

Why lug 800 pounds of gear you may or may not use? One of the slickest tricks to save you the struggle is to rent the things you need instead! Strollers, car seats, even cribs and toys can be delivered directly to your destination via the pros at BabyQuip. (They’ll even meet you at the airport!) Not only do they deliver it–they set up everything for you, and pick it up when you’re done—all at your convenience. All rental gear is clean, safe and insured so you can rest easy and just enjoy your vacay!

This story is a part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase the stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single story of motherhood, and that every mother's journey is unique. By amplifying each mother's experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you're interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please click here.