Home Holiday Travel Tips for a Happy Thanksgiving Vacation with Babies and Toddlers

Tips for a Happy Thanksgiving Vacation with Babies and Toddlers

by Shelly Rivoli

Thanksgiving cookie trayEven without young children in tow, Thanksgiving can be the craziest, most expensive time of the year to travel in the U.S. But when you add a baby or young child to the mix, and possibly myriad members of your extended family in the adventurous terrain of someone else’s home … it’s all the more important to plan ahead for a happy Thanksgiving vacation.

Here are some tips that can help make all the difference between a long weekend you’ll always lament–and one for which you’ll always give thanks.

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1. Bring easy childproofing-on-the-go solutions.

colorful door finger guards

Easy-to-use, damage-free, door finger guards for childproofing during travel (and at home).

Especially ones that won’t fluster grandparents or permanently alter Aunt Hilda’s sitting room. Consider my favorite toddler-proof doorknob covers that keep kids from sightseeing alone.

Or finger guards that keep cousins from slamming the doors you want to keep open closed (on precious small fingers). These gadgets take up little space in your bag and offer big help on vacations.  See more child safety recommendations for travel here.


2. Have “the talk” about pills on the premises.

And also vitamins, ointments, medicated creams and other prescriptions  that are often left in easy-to-remember places in homes without young children.

If you’ve ever seen a glorified PEZ dispenser labeled Monday through Sunday with colorful, easy-lift tabs, you know what I’m talking about. However, this one often catches even the most thoughtful hosts off guard. See more tips to help on this topic in my post here.


3. Read up on staying safe–and sane–when staying with extended family.

Travels with Baby guidebook coverContemplating all that you might need to prepare for when staying in someone else’s home with your baby and toddler can be overwhelming. But this section of the Travels with Baby ultimate guidebook lays it all out so you can quickly contemplate potential issues where you’ll be staying–and their solutions. (Trust me. I’ve been there.)


4. Get invited–and happily welcomed–to the grown ups’ table.

baby travel splat mat set

Splat mat set with non-slip waterproof mat and matching wipe-clean, waterproof long sleeve bib.

Thanksgiving is the holiday that’s all about gathering around the table with loved ones and a lovely feast. It’s well worth it to make sure you–and your gracious hosts–will be able to sit comfortably and enjoy the meal as much as possible.

Instead of juggling your baby or toddler on your lap, bring a purpose-built travel high chair to keep your tot at a conversational level yet out of reach of the gravy boat.

portable dining high chair

Portable dining high chair with removable and washable seat.

This portable high chair has a 5-point harness, removable/washable seat fabric, and adjustable tray with anti-roll-off rim.

And if that’s not enough, Aunt Bertha will surely sing your praises when you pair it with a matching waterproof splat mat (shown with matching waterproof bib above) to protect her dining room rug.


5. Bring thoughtful host and hostess gifts to break the ice (and keep everyone smiling).

If you’re still a little nervous about the reception of your “talk on pills” or how your Door Mouse Finger Guard might be received by any members of your extended clan, you will no doubt win them over with some humorous–and practical hostess/host gifts.

These favorites never go out of style for those in the presence of toddlers: ear plugs, flameless candles, and a splat mat that thoughtfully matches your gracious hosts’ dining room decor.

Wishing you all a healthy and HAPPY THANKSGIVING out there! And as always…

Safe journeys,

Shelly Rivoli,

Author of the award-winning Travels with Baby and Take-Along Travels with Baby 

Curious about this content? See my editorial content disclosure.

You might also like:

Flying American Airlines with a baby or toddler

Five things to know before flying with a car seat

Seven easy ways to get your car seat through the airport

The best travel strollers compared

Recommended travel childproofing and safety products

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