Traveling for the holidays can be stressful, especially when you have a toddler on your hip while you’re frantically packing the car. Here are several tips on how to prepare for your holiday travel with your toddler and make it a better experience.

Travel early
Did you know that early morning flights are least likely to be delayed? If you’re traveling with a toddler, this is your best bet for a smooth airport experience. Traveling by car? Once everything is packed and ready to go, carefully transport your sleeping child to the car seat to extend those quiet hours!

Bring a comfort item
Is your child’s comfort item a pacifier? If that’s the case bring about 5! A cuddly blanket or a favorite stuffed animal can go a long way when it comes to making your child feel safe and comfortable.

Plan for anything and everything
Meltdowns are inevitable, but preparing for flight delays, traffic halts and climate changes can make a difference for you and your toddler. One of the best things you can do before a trip is to prepare! Keep an eye on your flight status before you head to the airport, charge all phones and tablets, research the weather and pack healthy snacks (low-sugar options are the way to go) to dish out throughout the journey. You’ll feel so much better when it’s go-time!

Entertainment will be your best friend
Keep your toddler busy and happy by packing different forms of entertainment. Books, small packable toys (don’t forget a bath toy) and activities will be crucial. Did you know that they now make coloring books where the markers don’t bleed off the pages? Are you limited on space? Download toddler friendly apps and your child’s favorite TV shows and movies to your phone or tablet.

Don’t forget the medicine
Avoid illness the best way possible! If you’re unsure, check with your child’s pediatrician on which medicines to have handy in case your toddler gets ill while you’re away. Be prepared for any of the common child ailments such as the sudden cold, upset tummy, diarrhea, ear infections and fevers.

Take time to clean
Kids are touchy, point blank! Airplane armrests and tray tables are loaded with germs that can infect your child. Protect you and your little one by keeping the antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer handy and wipe down what you can. Also, make sure your child’s hands are clean before eating.

Childproof your new housing arrangements
Take a minute to childproof the area you’ll be staying in whether it’s a guest bedroom or hotel room. Double check that all of the furniture is secure, remove any choking hazards from reach and make sure windows are locked and secure. If you have the time and remember cleaning products, clean the bathtub!