Motherhood

A Seven-Year-Old’s Guide to Surviving Holiday Travel

A Seven-Year-Old's Guide to Surviving Holiday Travel

Are you traveling with any little ones this holiday? Seven-year-old Toby loves nothing more than planning trips (just like his mama!), so while he splashed around in the bath this weekend, I asked for his thoughts on flying on planes, choosing rental cars and visiting relatives. Here are the 10 tips he said he’d give his fellow kids this holiday season…

THE PLANE

Drinks on the plane: Maybe you could order a fizzy apple. That’s fizzy water mixed with apple juice. I like the beautiful red straws that come with the drinks. The flight attendants give you snacks, too. If they have peanuts, pretzels or cookies, ask for all of them. They let you.

On choosing a seat: I like the middle seat. I don’t like the window seat because I feel like I’m going to fall off the plane. If someone is sitting next to you, say, ‘Hello, how are you doing today?’ Once, we sat next to a guy who was bald. A long time ago, we met a guy with long hair. Maybe in 2012. He was really nice. His name was Jake. He was like, Hi, my name’s Jake. It’s nice to talk to people.

What to do during the flight: Maybe you can watch a show. They might have Doc McStuffins. Maybe you can put your tray table down and use it to color. Take a walk down the aisle; it’s relaxing.

On tired siblings: If your brother is crying at the end, you can carry his luggage. You can do that to help. But don’t go close to him in case he hits you. Take a step back.

DRIVING TO YOUR DESTINATION

On choosing a rental car: Avis has fancy cars. Avis and Hertz I would recommend as the best. They have faster cars. I’m a really good rental car picker. I like getting a Nissan Sentra or a Nissan Altima or a Kia Rio or any Chrysler. Make sure it has four doors, not two doors. You can also try Turo, which is when you rent even better cars from people. It’s not too expensive and you can even get a Ferrari! I have never done that but I would always want to. When I grow up I will do that.

On playing music: If you’re playing music in the car, play Shake Your Booty or Wake Me Up Before You Go Go or all the songs from Trolls. Basically every song from a show or movie. One time Anton wanted to play Penny Lane so many times. He was like, ‘Penny Lane, Penny Lane, Penny Lane.‘ Daddy played it a bunch of times but then wanted to stop.

THE RELATIVES

Greeting everyone: When you see your aunts and uncles and grandma, you say, ‘Hiiiiii! I’m so excited to see you!’ They kiss and hug you. If you don’t want to kiss and hug them, you don’t have to. It’s nice to see what rental cars they got, too.

PACKING LIST

What to pack: Pack pajamas, underwear, pants, shirts, a toothbrush and a bathing suit if you’re going somewhere with a pool or maybe a beach. Pack your favorite toys, and it would be nice to sleep with a stuffed animal. I’m going to bring Elephanty and Max. You squeeze them into your suitcase. I always pack a jean jacket because they are really cool and snazzy. Snazzy means fancy. I know that word from Fuller House.

PRESENTS

Writing a wish list: You can write down your list on a piece of construction paper. This year, my wish list has a Playmobil house, a Playmobil playground, a Playmobil school bus, a Playmobil plane, a Playmobil Porsche, a Playmobil Porsche dealer and caramels. Caramel tastes like chocolate. If you get a present you don’t really like, still say thank you. Ask your parents to pack a screwdriver and batteries for your trip. Presents sometimes need those things to work. If you don’t have them, you might get upset.

Waking up early: If you wake up in the night, and you really want to open your presents, you would get in trouble. You have to wait until your parents wake up. But they will wake up early that day because you really want them to. You do special things on trips. You will have fun.

A Seven-Year-Old's Guide to Surviving Holiday Travel

Thank you so much, Toby! Where will you be spending the holidays this year? What advice would you add for family travel?

P.S. 10 tips for traveling with a baby, and how to entertain a toddler on a plane.

(Photos of the boys with an Away kid’s suitcase.)

  1. Kate S. says...

    Hahah OMG I could have kept reading this fooooreveeerrrrr. Great tips, Toby!

  2. Olivia says...

    Joanna, a long time reader, but I have never commented. I travel A LOT and these are great tips for anyone, including 33 year old me! Taking a walk down the aisle is indeed relaxing, and i also always try to pack my snazzy denim jacket :-) Toby is an absolute dream. You must be so proud to be raising such a gentle, wise and sincere young man xxx

  3. Rachel says...

    This slays me! What a kid. He should write a book – “Toby’s Guide to Living Your Best Life”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      awwwww :)

  4. Jay says...

    “Take a walk down the aisle; it’s relaxing”

    I hope Toby writes when he is older. He’s a real sweetheart.

  5. Toby is always so classy! A fizzy apple sounds great right now.

  6. Lissa says...

    This is absolutely precious. What a sweetheart.

  7. Anne says...

    This is just about the sweetest thing I’ve ever read. What a dapper little gent!

    Also, can Tobey come help me buy my next car? :P I love how interested he is in cars!

    I’ve never heard of Playmobil (i don’t have kids). Gotta research now.

  8. Bless your cotton socks Toby! and hope you and Anton have “the best” Holidays :)

    now where did I put my snazzy jacket?!

  9. Sandra says...

    I think Toby just won the internet today ?

    • micaela says...

      Yes, I think this is my favorite Cup of Jo post ever.

  10. Ceridwen says...

    This made me smile so much. Thank Toby for his outstanding and thoughtful advice. Wonderful!

  11. So so adorable!!!!! I enjoyed reading it so much!!!!

  12. Lissy says...

    Be still my heart! I second the other commenters who suggested that Toby get a recurring guest blog spot. What a charming, kind-hearted kid!

  13. ErinK says...

    This is just adorable!

  14. leah says...

    Love this. Thank you so much for sharing your precious family with us!

  15. Lucy says...

    The best post ever. I am smiling ear to ear!

  16. Emily K says...

    Tell Toby that I always pack my jean jacket too! I’m happy to hear that it’s snazzy!! :)

  17. K says...

    Enough of Toby and Anton said no one ever! This post is the greatest.

  18. Stacey says...

    Ok, this is one of the cutest things I’ve ever read on the internet.

  19. bridget says...

    lonnnnnng-time reader and (shockingly, considering i read posts every day!), first-time commenter. this made my heart swell and brought tears to my eyes. time is just so fleeting. toby was just born! and now here he is, giving sage travel advice to thousands of people on the internet who have watched him grow up, in a sense. makes me want to hug my babes a little tighter when they wake up from their naps. <3

    • t says...

      This brought tears to my eyes too. These boys are so sweet.

  20. patrisha z says...

    oh my, this is so sweet. i love hearing toby’s advice. he sounds v caring and gentle.

  21. Danielle says...

    This is the best and so so funny. I love that Toby learned ‘snazzy’ from Fuller House!! Jeans are definitely snazzy, Tobes!

    Also I cannot believe it’s not a sponsored post from a rental car company!

  22. Susan says...

    Oh my goodness what smart, sweet, and funny advice!

  23. Andrea says...

    “But don’t go close to him in case he hits you. Take a step back.” ba ha ha ha. Story of my life with my 5 and 7 year old sons ;) Great advice Toby for travelling and for life in general with a brother!!!

    • Meagan says...

      Oh my goodness, I died laughing when I read “ Take a step back.”

  24. Cynthia says...

    Such a cute interview! Bring a screwdriver and extra batteries is great advice. I carry a screwdriver in my rolling briefcase, and it has come in handy so many times.

  25. Shannon says...

    “They let you.” About the snacks just killed me. Felt like hushed recess talk.

    I learned on accident once that if you specify that you want a “can” of ginger ale instead of just requesting ginger ale that you get the WHOLE DANG CAN. I’m sure everyone else on the planet knows that already but it makes me so happy.

  26. Jennifer says...

    I’m breaking my many-years-long-loyal-reader-silence to officially post my first comment on this lovely article! What a wonderful kid; so smart and friendly. I just love this insightful post- thank you Toby! Of all the posts that have brought me to tears, laughter, week-long contemplation and multiple jcrew/brooklinen/amazon purchases, this has got to be my favorite. Great advice Toby!

  27. My mom and I were cracking up! I read it to her out loud. Such wonderful and intelligent advice. We loved the wish list and rental car advice the most!

  28. Katie says...

    This is amazing!! Thank you for sharing. Great idea to get his perspective!

  29. Neely says...

    What a sweetheart! I’ll be sure to use Toby’s recommendations when traveling with my 7-year-old boy this holiday. (He already knows about getting kicked if he doesn’t give his cranky little brother space.)

  30. Callie says...

    Toby is so awesome!! Loved this interview with him :) the “beautiful red straws” on the plane – how precious is he?!

  31. Annie Green says...

    Take a walk down the aisle….it’s relaxing…
    So louche.

  32. Lisa says...

    Some great suggestions here! I particularly like the fizzy apple, and to stay away from your brother in case he hits you. Good work Toby!

  33. This made me laugh out loud. Adorable!

  34. ariella says...

    Made my day! He is amazing. I can’t wait to read this to my 6 yr old son and 2.5 yr old daughter tonight to psych them up for our cross-country holiday flight. I have them solo this year, so we are grateful for all of your and Toby’s travel advice. I’m curious how much, if any, ipad time you allow. It seems like once I pull out the big guns, there’s no turning it off. But as a single mom, I need all the help I can get!

    • Rae says...

      I used to feel sheepish about the amount of screen time I allowed on trips but then I was reminded about my childhood experience of trips from my mother. I hated them. HATED them. I would get motion sick so no reading or coloring, I would pick fights with my brother, and irritate my parents with a constant refrain of “how much longer?”. My daughter loves trips because she gets to watch shows and dvds that she only sees when we travel. Win for her, win for the adults traveling with her!

    • M says...

      I’m a single mom too, and I’d say as much ipad time during travel as your kids can handle – it’s a one-off and we should do anything that makes our lives easier. That said, my 3.5 yo can’t handle very much of it. I limit screen time at home to 1 hr on weekends and between none and 30 mins on weekdays, and I noticed that he gets tired and cranky if we go over the 1 hr. Best wishes for your travels. We are superheroes, and often very tired ones. Sending much love.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      great advice, M!

      on flights, i usually try to wait as long as possible before letting the boys have screens, since then they love it and stay entertained (great!) but can get cranky/fussy/overstimulated (making it harder for everyone in the end). i’ll sometimes tell them that they can watch a movie or show after the drinks cart comes around, which is about 45-60 minutes after we’ve taken off. after that, all bets are off ;)

      good luck!!!!!

    • Amy P says...

      My husband has been away for the last six months, so I’ve been using the screens a lot more lately too! I find my kids respond waaaay better to a timer that I’ve set than to me actually saying, “okay, the x minutes are up now.” Last year Guided Access on Apple products started allowing you to set a timer, so I set it for a certain number of minutes. When there’s half a minute left, a voice says, “there are 29 seconds left”. When it reaches the time, it plays a sound and freezes the screen.

      I know that doesn’t work for everything on iPads (for example, you might want to let them do a round of something on a game and not get cut off, so a timer isn’t a good option), but it’s definitely helped cut down on arguing about screen time in our house! Oh – and if you want more timers in your life (who doesn’t haha) try a visual timer! They have a circle that slowly disappears, so it’s easy for young kids to recognize how much time is actually left. I use it for daily quiet time, brushing teeth, how much time there is before we leave for school….so helpful. I have an app on my phone plus have the Time Timer from Amazon for their bedroom wall. The Time Timer can play a sound or no sound at the end, your choice.

  35. gina solon says...

    I love this post.
    “Avis has fancy cars. Avis and Hertz I would recommend as the best.”
    I loled. Thanks Toby!

  36. Beth says...

    I always love when you include the voices of the boys! They are so different (but equally adorable) and I love to hear their personalities through what they say. My two boys, 7 and 5 are also different and say the funniest things that can also at times be so insightful. I think my favorite Toby suggestion is the jean jacket and the following definition of the word snazzy and it’s origin in his world. I caught my 5 year old talking today about a pitch black car he got for his birthday, but he kept calling it peach black. I thought it was so funny that I didn’t correct him. And tell Toby that we needed a screw driver to get it out of the package so that is a brilliant packing suggestion, especially during the holidays. Happy travels!

  37. Kristi says...

    This is my favorite interview that you’ve ever posted:) And I love your other ones so much, but this is a whole ‘nother level.

  38. Kelly says...

    this is awesome! I am so excited to see he is all in on Playmobil – i so loved them as a kid, but don’t have a sense whether kids these days love them too, so i have avoided buying as gifts. this is giving me confidence!

  39. Kaitlin says...

    So very sweet and such good tips!

    Where, may I ask, is the wonderful shelving unit from? It looks like such a good storage system for people who have more things than they do places to put them. I’m not the sort of people who use bookcases for knick-knacks.

  40. Ashley says...

    This is my favorite travel advice ever. ❤️

  41. You make me so excited for my boys to grow up. He’s wonderful!

  42. Emily says...

    This is wonderful. Makes me want to interview my 7 year old for the same theme. I know who I’m going to call when my girls are done with their 62,000 Playmobil sets!! ;-0) So happy to see he loves because we looooooooove them in our house, too.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha we don’t have any yet (clearly;) but he played with some at a friend’s house and fell in love!

  43. Johanna says...

    This is pretty adorable. Also, the batteries and screwdriver! Good thinking.

  44. I just love him!!!

  45. Toby wins the internet! Thank you so much for sharing this. This was especially nice to read today with all the heartache going on in the world.

  46. Em says...

    This is the sweetest list, and I especially love the bit about the red straws. What a great reminder to appreciate the little things in life :) Thank you, Toby!

  47. Laura says...

    This is SO GREAT. Toby, you just made my day! Please do more posts from Toby and Anton’s perspective. Or Alex! Or your Mom! Its fun to hear from different angles, and very on brand with your blog. Happy holidays to your wonderful family!! <3

  48. Laura says...

    This is by far the best thing on the internet right now!

  49. That Toby, so sweet!

  50. This was so delightful and put a smile on my face. How wonderful to see a slice of the world through Toby’s eyes.

  51. Joanna and Toby this is so fantastic! Your posts about the boys are my absolute favorite!! I also laughed out loud when I read your comment on Anton’s advice ?. Such great advice, Toby seems like such an awesome kid!

  52. Loved this post and reading all the comments. Toby is so wise!! I must bookmark this post for our future kids to learn more about traveling! :)

  53. Amanda says...

    Toby has such an old soul. I loved this. I love how simple life is to kids. Playmobil and renting a Nissan Sentra… its that’s easy! Love love love. Xx

  54. Jillian says...

    In a world that can be dark and scary and days that can be full of stress, it gives me such immense joy (literally, I was just unconsciously beaming at my desk reading this to the point that someone asked ‘whatcha doing over there?’) that there are snazzy jean jackets, beautiful red straws, and most of all, Tobys in the world.

    • jillian says...

      This other Jillian said it perfectly.

    • gina solon says...

      amen

    • Toni says...

      Yes to all of this!

    • Agreed! Any time I’m stressed I’m going back to this.

  55. Lau says...

    A lot of wisdom Toby!!!

  56. Tali says...

    These are legit amazing!!

  57. Megan says...

    LOVE this!!!

  58. Jackie says...

    Omg my heart Is so full. What a bright young little dude. And such good advice. And well written.

    I don’t have kids myself but I am sorta still a kid ;) so I will happily take all this advice as a 25 year old

    Cheers to Toby!

  59. This is SO funny, and also very insightful!!! ;)

  60. “Ask your parents to pack a screwdriver and batteries for your trip. Presents sometimes need those things to work. ” – Pro Tip of the year, Toby!!

  61. Megan says...

    Thank you, Toby, for the tips! This is a wonderful post and has me grinning ear to ear. I wonder if Toby likes to look for out-of-state license plates while riding in the rental car?? Thanks, Joanna, for sharing (and especially for the link about hugging and kissing relatives).

  62. I love the tip about not getting too close to your brother. My second has definitely learned to stay away from his older sister when she’s having a tantrum. We’re hosting a friend Christmas party/my two-year old’s birthday on the 16th, my husband’s family on Christmas Eve, and my family on Christmas Day. It’s our last winter in Chicago so we want to enjoy it in our home, but man, a beach vacation is sounding really good right about now.

  63. Alison says...

    I have now (wisely) added the screwdriver and batteries to my trip packing list. We almost gave the Playmobil (a hit in our family too!) without the requisite tools. What a rookie mistake that would have been. Thank you, Toby for thwarting this disaster in the making!

  64. Bonnie says...

    Wow! Great advice!

  65. Elizabeth says...

    This made my heart melt… we traveled a lot with my parents and packing and getting ready for it was half the fun! My mom always picked out a few books where the character was at the destination and used that as a conversation starter. From there we’d create a wishlist of things to do and experience and we’d be ready for new customs, manners, and languages because we had been prepared by the books. My seven-year-old self would say to pack the books we read and prepare for travel by reading!

  66. Oh my gosh. This is hilarious. “I like the beautiful red straws that come with the drinks. The flight attendants give you snacks, too. If they have peanuts, pretzels or cookies, ask for all of them. They let you.” I love his appreciation of the simple things. And he taught me that you can get ALL the snacks! You’ll also have to tell him that you can ask for the full can of apple juice – they’ll let you have it. :) I also really like the tip about carrying your brother’s luggage but not getting too close to him. And he sure knows a lot about rental cars!! Too funny. This seriously made my day and made me laugh so much. You have the sweetest, funniest kids!

  67. Cindy says...

    What a great post! Toby is wise beyond his years ;)

  68. Kim J says...

    Best Post Ever! “But don’t get to close to him…..” wise advice for anyone with a sibling.

  69. liz says...

    Was the flight attendant named Cookie (who was handing out cookies) forgotten?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha he actually did mention that during our talk! :)

  70. This made my day! Would love to see even more advice columns from Toby. :-)

  71. liz says...

    toby is right, only help with luggage at the end, not the beginning. I helped with luggage at the beginning and ended up carrying a yellow cart through the Paris airport for hours. and I would have had to pay for extra carry on luggage but I was crying by that time so the flight attendants were afraid to upset me and just quietly hid it somewhere during the flight. Lesson learned: only help with luggage at the end.

  72. Laura says...

    This is gold. Thank you for sharing Toby’s advice (and your family) with your readers. Happy Holidays!

  73. Jessie says...

    Being around family for an extended period of time takes a toll on me (I can get quite snippy towards the end of a visit!). I make sure to build in alone time for myself (walks around the neighborhood or a quick trip to a local bakery or coffee shop), my husband & I (walks, coffee run, or lunch date). I also encourage guests to explore our town (we live right next to a historic district with lots of great shops & restaurants). Everyone needs those little breaks to keep the sanity!

  74. Lisa says...

    Oh my goodness he is so cute (and also, gave very solid advice!).

  75. Bhahaha, this is adorable! I love his thoughtfulness for Anton (and realism…stay back or he’ll hit you). What a clever idea to share this thoughts, Joanna! Also Playmobil for the win!

  76. China says...

    “But don’t go close to him in case he hits you. Take a step back.” – advice every older sibling of a toddler could use! Toby, you are wise beyond your years. Joanna, thanks for sharing these little tidbits of your children with us – you put a lot of joy into the world.

  77. Anna says...

    Toby is the best!

    Anna

  78. He is so darling. “It’s nice to see what rental cars they got, too.” What a love!

  79. Love this post — Toby needs his own blog!

  80. Great advice Toby! He is adorable and so thoughtful. His excellent manners shine through in every answer!

  81. Marie says...

    This is the just best post ever. More Toby interviews, please!!!!

  82. Jesse says...

    This is my favorite post ever.

  83. Sasha says...

    Aww jeez, that was fun! !

    Way to go Toby :) I’m going to try that *relaxing* walk down the aisle next airplane trip.

    • Sasha says...

      Also, can we have more from Toby please? And I’m sure Anton has brilliant insights too.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha i asked anton but he told me his best advice was to “pack poop.” (then he laughed hysterically.)

  84. Steph says...

    I love this:)

  85. Michelle says...

    What great suggestions!

  86. Hannah says...

    Toby’s wonderful advice reminds me of a terrific children’s book, The Airport Book by Lisa Brown. I think he and Anton would enjoy it!

  87. Ashley says...

    SWOON <3 xoxoxo :) <3

  88. Sadie says...

    He knows more car brands than I do…

  89. zoe says...

    Toby, you’re incredible.

  90. “If your brother is crying at the end, you can carry his luggage. You can do that to help. But don’t go close to him in case he hits you. Take a step back.” — I feel like this applies to many situations in life. He is very wise, that Toby.

  91. Christina says...

    Top photo = models! The writing in this piece is superb. Be still, my heart! Toby, you are a very smart, funny, and kind gentleman.

  92. This might be my favorite post yet. Still laughing. Thank you Toby!

  93. Lashley says...

    Toby! Thanks for sharing.

    “Take a walk down the aisle; it’s relaxing,” sounds like it could have been lifted from another of your blog posts! Aside from his sweet literary voice, there are so many little clues buried in there about your family culture and values. Love it!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a sweet comment. thank you, lashley. :)

  94. brianna says...

    This is everything right now. I’m going to get a fizzy apple next time I fly. I don’t have a snazzy denim jacket, but it sounds like a wise investment.

  95. Lily says...

    Love the Turo tip!

  96. Katie says...

    There are so many gems in here! I love the “once I sat next to a bald guy….”

  97. Jill says...

    Wait my kids also love the Kias from Avis?! ?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahahah those cars are very cool!

  98. Alicia says...

    That’s adorable, and my son (also 7) would have him know that the rule of keeping your distance applies to cranky little sisters as well.

  99. Steph says...

    “If they have peanuts, pretzels or cookies, ask for all of them. They let you.”

    This is the best travel advice I’ve ever encountered.

  100. Blythe says...

    Do I smell a new COJ series – Toby Travels?

  101. Justine A Clark says...

    Thank you Toby; those are great tips!

  102. Carrie says...

    Please do a Toby/Anton segment every Monday! These little voices are such a bright start to the week!!

    • Sasha says...

      Best idea! Yes please.

    • Sarah says...

      YES, please!! for serious. Not only are they funny and wise, but also they remind me to pay attention to the small-but-not-so-small good things, and they also reflect, implicitly, really good parenting that I take notes from. Please consider this? I’ll send you many beautiful red straws as a thank you…

  103. Julia says...

    Oh sweet Anton, I feel you! I also want to hit people by the end of a flight… . (So sorry, Toby!)

    Thanks, Joanna, you have such a great son!

  104. Heather says...

    Oh my goodness, there is so much wisdom in this post!!! I love the recommendation to color or take a walk down the aisle because it’s relaxing. And to help your brother by taking his bag, but take a step back from him! Yes! We all need our space, especially when we’re upset!

  105. Summer says...

    That was so incredibly cute! Good advise for sure.

  106. mary says...

    This is seriously the most adorable and put such a smile on my face!!

  107. Laura C. says...

    Why am I feeling that Toby is wiser than me???
    Thank you Joanna, this is a great post. Every time you feature your boys, it makes my day.

  108. sarah says...

    I love this so, so much. My 6-year-old would give the same advice about her 4-year-old sister! Sometimes it’s hard being the older, wiser one. :)

    “But don’t go close to him in case he hits you. Take a step back.”

  109. Reading this just made my day! I especially love what he says about helping his little brother with his suitcase but keeping some distance, not having to give kisses if you don’t want to and saying thank you even if you don’t like your present. You must be an amazing mom Joanna!

  110. TJ says...

    The best part of being a kid is that you seem to actually reflect on things YOU like and react accordingly. I feel like we lose that sense of self as we get older. Peanuts, pretzels AND cookies!

    Toby is a doll.

  111. Sasha says...

    This is the funniest thing I’ve read all month- I am literally laughing out loud. “Ask for all of them. They let you” is a philosophy I see implemented often when it comes to airplane snacks!

    And Joanna, I just booked 2 nights at the Standard hotel in Miami in January- I remember you posting about it ages ago and could not get that pool out of my imagination. So excited!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, you’re going to love it, sasha! what a perfect time to go. the standard has great food, but if you have time to go out to dinner, we also LOVED the mandolin for greek food. sitting in the garden feels like you’re in greece! http://www.mandolinmiami.com/

    • Sasha says...

      than you for the recommendation!

  112. Karla Ford says...

    oh my goodness! so cute!!!

  113. Faith says...

    “If your brother is crying at the end, you can carry his luggage. You can do that to help. But don’t go close to him in case he hits you. Take a step back.” Dying! :’D

  114. Maia says...

    Toby, I am 34 and will be travelling with my 32- year old younger sibling over the holidays and I will be sure to remember your advice and always take a step back. I wish my husband would be okay with the idea of my bringing a stuffed animal along, though. :D You are the best and I hope Santa brings you everything on your wishlist.

    P.S: I love caramels too.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “Toby, I am 34 and will be travelling with my 32- year old younger sibling over the holidays and I will be sure to remember your advice and always take a step back.” = hahaha

  115. Deanna says...

    What might blow Toby’s mind, being the little gentleman and all, is bringing the flight attendants treats. I usually give them chocolate, and they’re always so appreciative. And it makes for a better flight for everyone.

    He has some excellent travel tips. I’m not going far, and I won’t have kids with me, but I’ll definitely try for a red straw. I think it’ll be too cold for a jean jacket though…I’ll be snazzy in my knee length coat.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is such a nice gesture, deanna!

    • Yes! I’ve actually heard from my flight attendant friends that chocolate is like a secret currency for flight attendants. Make sure to bring individually wrapped pieces so they can share among the crew. Offering chocolate and/or homemade cookies to gate agents has also helped us in many sticky situations. They are soooo appreciative.

  116. Toby I’m going to offer these suggestions to our daughters as we embark on a total of 4 flights this holiday season – you have wonderful recommendations, especially that snazzy jean jacket! Adore you!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      four flights! good luck, sarah!

  117. Amanda says...

    On a Monday morning in the hustle and bustle of holiday season, isn’t this just what we need: a wise seven year old putting things into perspective by reminding us to take a walk down the airplane aisle because it’s relaxing?
    Amen.

    • Sarah says...

      ^ this. not only did Toby’s wisdom just make me laugh out loud, but I’m still beaming reading the comments.

  118. Jasap says...

    Toby sounds like a very, very adorable and grown-up young man. I’ll relay some of his tips to my daughter! We often travel to France to visit my husbands family, and it’s a solid 12-hour trip by car from where we live (or 18 hours, if you screw up the map somewhere around Frankfurt and then end up god knows where, but that’s a story for another post…), and she is incredibly patient but she’s only four so she sometimes gets antsy! I’d love to hear some more of his tips on what to do in the car! Please send my thanks to him and tell him that thanks to him, I’ll never forget to pack a screwdriver now! (It seems like an obvious thing but I never think about it!)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s a long drive for sure! we’ve never done such a long one, but we have had luck letting the kids take turns picking songs to listen to, playing I Spy, bringing coloring books, bringing search-and-find books, and strategically rolling out snacks (especially snacks that take a long time to eat, like raisins or lollipops). these tips aren’t that earth shattering, though — i’d love to hear other parents’ ideas, too!

    • MA says...

      Oh my, yes! We are embarking on a 10+ hour drive from Maine to Maryland at Christmas to visit family. We rely on the license plate game (see how many states you can spot), the alphabet game, bingo, audio books (I have Roald Dahl and Anne of Green Gables loaded for this trip), headphones with ipods loaded with personal music choices, video games, and highlights like who can spot the best diner to stop at for lunch. It’s madness and imperfectly perfect family fun. But to be honest, I really look forward to a large glass of wine when we get there.

    • Jasap says...

      Thanks to both of you! I’ll keep that in mind! Our problem is sometimes also that my daughter’s best and favorite travel buddy is my husband who a) gets carsick if he has to be in the back seat and b) is also needed in the front seat because I love driving but can’t do directions at the same time and I don’t like Garmins :D so it’s sometimes very … folkloric, to say the least! My mother in law always awaits me with a glass of cold water and half an hour of rest while she commands everything upon arrival :D

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      your MIL sounds like a kind, smart woman! :)

    • Amy P says...

      We did a two-day (22 hr) road trip with a 5 and 3 year old. Hits were audio books, a Paw Patrol activity book with suction cup characters, a “grabber” tool for reaching things to the back seat of the mini van (ha!), lots of little non-sticky snacks, Melissa & Doug water wow books and puffy sticker activity books, and vinyl cling stickers that could go on the windows or on reusable activity pages (also M&D). I found that some sort of lap tray or at least a clipboard were very helpful. I doubt your daughter will need these, but I have now bought all three of our kids their own pair of construction-worker type earmuffs so they can tune each other out as needed on our semi-regular road trips! My daughter keeps them in her bed so she can put them on when her brother is pestering her at night…

    • Jasap says...

      Thanks Amy!! I never thought of stickers but it’s actually pretty silly of me that I didn’t because my daughter loves them, so having them in the car should be fun too! And props to your daughter for the wise use of the muffs – my daughter’s an only child so she would only need to tune out her parents, haha!
      Joanna: she is! I got lucky in the MIL area :)

  119. Emily says...

    This is adorable! My favorite is “on younger siblings.” Sounds like Toby is a great older brother :)

  120. Lauren says...

    This is SO SWEET I feel like my heart is breaking. What a cutie!!

  121. Carole says...

    haha Toby, what an amazing interview!! Such great tips :) Merry Christmas to you and your family!! You rock!

  122. Mom of Boys says...

    Best piece of advice ever:
    “But don’t go close to him in case he hits you. Take a step back.”

    I’m still laughing.

    • Savannah says...

      This is solid advice for people of all ages!

    • Brooke says...

      Me too! Laughing at my desk!!

  123. Kate says...

    What a sweet post! All of Toby’s suggestions are on point :)

    Joanna – do you mind sharing where Anton’s sheep shirt is from? It’s too cute!

  124. Brilliant! I loved reading this.

  125. Tricia says...

    “But don’t go close to him in case he hits you. Take a step back.”
    I die. This is just too funny. Toby, you are the best!

  126. Amber says...

    These are so perfect.

  127. Toby should really start a travel blog. These are great tips!

    BTW, my cousin sent my daughter a Playmobil advent calendar from Germany, and I just saw that you can get them on Amazon Prime. She also sent a Hot Wheels calendar for my son. Sounds like Toby would love both!

  128. Alex says...

    The importance of the rental car! I love the importance of details that we adults miss.
    Sometimes (okay, many times) I’m sad that they all grow up and stop caring about snazzy and fizzy drinks …

  129. Elizabeth says...

    “But don’t go close to him in case he hits you. Take a step back.” So good! Little brothers ARE unpredictable :) What great advice from a sweet big brother.

  130. Meghan says...

    Let’s give Toby a contributing writer (speaker?? since no writing?) bio on the site! He is beyond precious!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s a good idea, meghan!!! :)

    • megan says...

      I second this idea!! i LIVE for the toby posts. they always crack me up. honestly, some of this is just really great advice! he’s wise beyond his years!

  131. Oh my gawd, this post is the cure for every Monday for ever. Thank you, Toby. <3

  132. Rita says...

    And i like the tip about offering help but keeping some distance from upset people, because they might hit you ? Kids are so straightforward

  133. Annie M says...

    This is EVERYTHING. Thank you Joanna and Toby for making my Monday just a little brighter :)

  134. Good manners + sense of adventure + generous spirit= a pretty great kid.

    I recommend a portable charger (they’re about $10 on amazon). Ever notice when travelling that your phone battery will die at the most inopportune time? Between checking flight status, texting people, entertaining yourself while waiting…. You need to have enough juice in the phone to call your cab when you arrive and a portable charger helps.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      great call, christine. my phone is ALWAYS running out of juice at the worst times.

  135. Mandi says...

    I can tell Toby has excellent manners. He must be a great travel partner!

  136. Roo says...

    Toby is so wise. Some great hints and tips, along with exceptional manners.

  137. tessa says...

    very adorable!

  138. KimV. says...

    That was adorable! I am 38 and all Toby’s advice still works for me ;)

  139. Katherine says...

    Excellent advice, Toby. You’re clearly a very well-seasoned traveler! I will put your suggestions into practice, especially the tip on the jean jacket. I always try to look snazzy too.

  140. caitlin says...

    I’m printing this and putting it on the wall–Toby has this travel thing down pat! Thank you, Joanna, for sharing your boys with us. They are an absolute delight. <3

  141. Megan Crowley says...

    That just made my day.

  142. Catherine says...

    I love this so much Jo! You can really hear Toby’s voice in all of this, but all of your and Alex’s amazing parenting shines through as well. xx

    • Faith says...

      Agreed! You and Alex are wonderful parents.

  143. Katie says...

    Oh my gosh this is sooooo cute!

  144. Thanks Toby! What great travel advice, and I love your notes on holidays with relatives. You’re a real expert!

  145. Kate says...

    Ahhhh! My heart just burst! Toby is such a wise 7-yr-old. (And the recommendation to take a step back from a cranky sibling is A+.)

  146. Brigid says...

    This is my absolute favorite blog post of all time. How is it possible that I learned of a new way to rent cars from a seven year old?! xoxo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha he is a SERIOUS rental car enthusiast.

  147. This is the best.

    So much good advice! I’m chuckling, but its all spot on.
    And “beautiful red straws”: be still my heart.

  148. Golden Moon says...

    Amazing advice! I especial love, “If your brother is crying at the end, you can carry his luggage. You can do that to help. But don’t go close to him in case he hits you. Take a step back.” Wise owl, Toby! Have a fund holiday trip.

  149. Sonja says...

    “Take a walk down the aisle, it’s relaxing.” Ha! That’s amazing. Thank, Toby! You really brightened my Monday!

  150. Sarah says...

    This is amazing! Toby you did such a good job and I especially love your suggestion to bring extra batteries and a screw driver. You’re a genius. Merry Christmas!

    • Marissa says...

      I thought the same thing! Why didn’t I think about a screwdriver and batteries?

    • Agreed! Never thought of that – makes so much sense!