Travelling With Toddlers – A Survival Guide! | Cairns Tours

Travelling With Toddlers – A Survival Guide!

By James Dixon | 24th June 2015

So many parents put off their dreams of travelling to places like Far North Queensland due to the belief that holidays + toddlers = disaster! With a bit of planning, a lot of flexibility and a sensible level of expectations though, a trip with your rugrat in tow can be an extremely enjoyable and memorable event.


Here are a few great tips to help you make your journey a success:

Pick Family-Friendly Accommodation

Research your accommodation choices beforehand to ensure you’ll be staying in a location that is both calm and quiet, as well as suitable for little ones. You definitely don’t want to arrive at your destination after a day of travelling to find out you’re booked in next to a room full of loud schoolies! You also don’t want to walk into your hotel room to find a dangerous balcony, sharp coffee table corners and other things that could be dangerous for the young and adventurous.


Keep it simple

This rule refers to your destination activities, as well as your travel arrangements. Regardless of where you’re coming from, try to make travel arrangements as quick and direct as possible, avoiding transfers (unless you plan to stop overnight between legs of your journey) and busy, noisy airports, train stations or bus stops. Make sure you bring everything you’ll need to make your toddler’s journey a comfortable one – don’t assume that you’ll be able to buy what you need en route.

When you reach Cairns, ensure you allow your little one to have plenty of rest before embarking upon your planned activities, as well as plenty of rest between activities. Young minds thrive on stimulation, but keep in mind that too many changes in activity could be difficult for them to adapt to, resulting in an unhappy, unsettled and possibly screaming toddler. Try to plan the most stimulating activities for the time of day that your toddler is most alert and the more relaxing activities for times when they are relaxed. Simple, calm activities will always be a winner for your tot.

Plan Shorter Tours

If you are joining tours, book in the half-day options, rather than full-day ones. This will ensure you can be back at your accommodation before your little one is too worn out. Depending upon your toddler, you can probably fit in more than one tour in a day; however, he or she will definitely need that quiet/rest time between activities.

Study Your Itinerary

Make sure that your day’s activities don’t clash with your toddlers meal times, rest times and other routines and ensure that any tour allows plenty of time for toilet breaks, nappy changes, settling down your crying child etc. Ensure that your bundle of joy won’t be required to spend long stretches of time in their pram/stroller or in a car seat, as this could lead to boredom meltdowns. Also, don’t forget to plan around the weather. Summers in Cairns can get very hot, so you don’t want to be on a tour of the beach or similar in the middle of the day without any shade!

Pack a Comprehensive Toddler Bag

You will definitely need to carry a water bottle or two for your toddler, regardless of what activity you are doing, but also pack some healthy snacks, baby wipes, nappies, pre-prepared formula or expressed milk, toys, books, a spare hat and clothing, sun cream, insect repellent, medications and anything else you think you’ll need along the way. As with travelling, don’t ever assume you can buy the things you’ll need during your tour or activity.


A great tip for toddlers who respond well to rewards is to wrap a few little inexpensive ‘surprise gifts’ that you can give them when they’ve been behaving well, or even to diffuse a meltdown before it happens.

Safety First

During travel and while you’re at your destination, a higher level of safety is recommended. If you are provided with a child seat during a tour, check that it is properly installed and meets safety requirements. Double check that your toddler is fastened in correctly – don’t rely on someone else to do it for you.

Dress your toddler in bright, recognisable clothing in case you accidentally lose track of him or her in a crowd and also place a card with your mobile phone number in your toddlers pocket in case you become separated. This is always a terrible thing to think about, but it is well worth the effort if the worst should occur.

Let Your Toddler Lead

This is an easy choice to make if you are visiting a location on a self-led itinerary. Sure, you may not always get to see what you came for, but there’s absolutely nothing more fulfilling than watching your child’s face full of wonder and joy as he or she does something that captivates them. While embarking on a tour may not leave you with the freedom to let your toddler lead the way, try to allow them to have as much control as possible. If – for example – you want to see the crocodile feeding at Hartley’s, but your toddler would rather feed the koalas, then think of it as an opportunity to bond with your little darling, rather than seeing it as a missed opportunity. You might not remember a crocodile feeding in years to come, but you’ll always remember the many smiles you put on your toddler’s face.

Be flexible and you’ll find your level of enjoyment will increase alongside your toddler’s level of enjoyment.