Ashley Tisdale Shares Her Secrets for Traveling With a 2-Year-Old

The wellness entrepreneur and High School Musical alum talks travel anxiety, self-care rituals and the magic backpack hack you need for your next trip.
save article
profile picture of Wyndi Kappes
By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published July 20, 2023
We have included third party products to help you navigate and enjoy life’s biggest moments. Purchases made through links on this page may earn us a commission.

There are a lot of things about traveling with a 2-year-old that you simply can’t control. Flight delays, traffic jams and unexpected changes in the plan can cause tempers to flare and a good mood to crumble. Even if it all goes to plan, your little one could suddenly decide they hate their favorite snack or simply can’t stand to sit in their seat any longer. But before you go putting the kibosh on travel for the next few years, consider that the solution to your worries might be a few deep breaths and a Baby Shark backpack. Or at least that’s what Sharpay would do.

We recently sat down with High School Musical alum, empowered mom and frequent flyer Ashley Tisdale at the launch of Chase IHG One Rewards Credit Cards’, The Slowdown. A pop-up experience designed to inspire future travel, we talked with Tisdale about her top tips for traveling with her 2-year-old daughter Jupiter. Below, the Frenshe wellness founder opens up about everything from her sky-high must-haves for Jupiter to her on-the-go self-care routine, plane pet peeves and how becoming a mother has actually helped with her travel anxiety.

The Bump: So right before this interview, you actually flew into New York with Jupiter and your husband. What was supposed to be a short adventure turned out to be an eight-hour flight! Tell us more about how you navigated that.

Ashley Tisdale: We had a pretty crazy flight! The storms wouldn’t allow us to land, so we had to go refuel in Syracuse, and the whole thing took much longer than expected. I honestly didn’t know how she was going to handle it and she was just so great. We watched Encanto, did our nails and I can’t believe it but she even napped twice! Like what? I’ve heard horror stories from other mom friends, so I braced myself for that, but she’s been so great. It’s wild. I’ve been blessed with like an amazing travel child.

Related Video

TB: Between summer fun and your upcoming projects, you are on the road or in the air a fair amount these days. What do you always have packed in your travel diaper bag?

AT: Obviously, a change of clothes is always key. We also bring the basics like her favorite snacks, SPF and Tylenol just in case, she’s not feeling well. But my core diaper bag doesn’t really change much. I think the difference when we’re traveling is that we create her a “magic backpack.”

TB: Tell us more about this magical backpack.

AT: So she’s got this Baby Shark backpack, and we stock it full of little trinkets and toys. We throw in things like Play-Doh, nail polish, coloring books and plenty of fun snacks. The key here is that she hasn’t seen any of the stuff in the backpack before we get on the flight. So, when she’s on the flight, part of the fun is that she’s able to go through and discover everything. Just exploring and unpacking everything in the backpack takes her about 20 minutes. She loves the zippers and then when she gets into it, she’s like, there’s so much here! So, that really comes in handy when traveling.

TB: Jupiter’s must-have for trips is her magical backpack. What are your must-haves? What self-care things do you incorporate into your routine when traveling?

AT: I love my wellness rituals. While on my own mental health and wellness journey, I discovered that introducing fragrance into my daily rituals greatly influenced my mood—whether it was to keep me grounded and calm or celebrate my confidence and joy. For travel anxiety Frenshe’s Soothe & Comfort Cashmere Vanilla Collection can’t be beat. Our Hydrating Hand Serum makes for the perfect in-flight treat.

I also love reading. I always have a book I bring with me when I’m traveling. I also like to meditate in the mornings. I think that’s so important before the baby wakes up to just kind of like set yourself up for the day.

TB: Even before you became a mom you struggled with travel anxiety. How has being Jupiter’s Mom actually helped you curb your travel anxiety?

AT: A huge part of breaking the cycle of panic-inducing thoughts is to be present. And I have no choice but to be present because of Jupiter. When I am traveling with her I need to be focused completely on her and her needs. I’ve realized that I can either be present or let my anxiety take over for the moment, but I can’t do both. I’ve never wanted to let my stress affect my daughter, so I’m working on learning to let go. It’s just about trying your best and having faith it will be fine.

TB: What are your tips for parents trying to cope with travel anxiety?

AT: Try meditating up until your next travel day and learn some breathwork techniques for when high-stress times arrive. My go-to method is to breathe in for four seconds, hold it for four seconds, and then breathe out for four seconds.

TB: Do you have any travel pet peeves?

AT: I literally can’t stand it when people aren’t wearing socks on the airplane. The minute I get on the plane, I like to put my comfy socks on. It’s cozy and makes me feel good. On this last flight, I had put my daughter’s on, and I had taken a nap, and I look over, and she’s got no socks on and is running around. And I’m like, babe, what? And he was like; she took them off. I was like, well, put shoes on her! This is so gross. I can’t. So that is definitely a pet peeve of mine.

Other than that, I really don’t go into traveling with pet peeves. I just have to let stuff go. You know, traveling is always chaos at times. So I really try to just move through it the best way I can.

TB: When you’ve arrived at your final destination, how do you find time to relax as a mom of a little one?

AT: It’s always good to bring along a buddy like your husband or your mom. My mom, Jupiter and I went to Hawaii right after Christmas as my mom’s Christmas gift. And it was great! My mom will go with her for naptime so I can lay out and vice versa. It just gives me a little bit of “me time.” You know, whether my husband’s putting her down for a nap one day and then I put her down for a nap the next day. We really try to balance it out and give each other time to have our own time. I think that’s important.

I love traveling, you know, I love to vacation. And that’s why I partnered up with Chase IHG One Rewards Credit Cards on their Slowdown Popup. As a mom, as a founder and as someone who works a lot, it’s really about slowing down and taking those moments to just kind of be with each other and step away from work. And that’s when I vacation.

TB: For our last minute here together, we’d love to do a rapid-fire game of this or that where you pick your favorite of two things. Are you ready to play?

AT: Sure!

Diaper bag or backpack? Backpack.

Road trip or flight? I’d love a road trip.

Sing along or movie? Movie.

Bluey or Baby Shark? Oh, gosh. No, that’s so hard. I love Baby Shark, and I’m actually voicing Stariana in the upcoming Baby Shark The Big Movie! that’s coming out this winter! Jupiter and I love them both. I can’t pick!

Snack cup or sippy cup? I like a snack cup. She loves those.

Rolling suitcase or weekender? Weekender. Yeah. I love weekenders.

Early flight or red eye? Early flight.

Vacation home or hotel? I love a hotel. Chase IHG has 18 brand hotels and like 6,000 destinations! I definitely want to go to Paris, the Kimpton that they have is amazing, but also there’s a hotel in Bali, the Intercontinental, that looks incredible. So, I’m going to be hitting up both of those for sure. I have the Chase IHG One Rewards Premier credit card. So I’m racking up points and ready to book my next vacation!

save article

Next on Your Reading List

Best Travel Stroller-hero
The 9 Best Travel Strollers for Stress-Free Trips
By Emma O'Regan-Reidy
mother traveling with baby in airport
30 Tips to Keep in Mind When Traveling With an Infant
Medically Reviewed by Dina DiMaggio Walters, MD
Best Toddler Travel Toys-hero
The Top Airplane and Car Toys for Toddlers on the Go
By Emma O'Regan-Reidy
The 8 Best Family-Friendly Vacations for Toddlers and Infants
By Emma O'Regan-Reidy
FamVeld | Shutterstock
The Best Babymoon Destinations (According to Real Parents)
By Martina Garvey
toddler and mom on airplane watching TV
Carter’s Airplane Apology Agreement Offers Cash to Pacify Passengers
By Wyndi Kappes
taking photos with your kids on vacation in san diego
The Foolproof Way to (Finally!) Get in Photos With Your Kids
By Emily Platt
Travel tips Baby in pack with father while traveling by the sea
13 Essentials for Traveling With Baby, Tried and Tested by a Dad of Twins
By Tyler Lund
jessica alba with her family
Jessica Alba’s Top Tips for Traveling With Kids
By Lauren Kay
dad opening father's day gift with baby
23 Father’s Day Gifts From Son or Daughter
By Emma O'Regan-Reidy
dad kissing baby at home
The Best Gifts for New Dads to Suit Any Budget
By Emma O'Regan-Reidy
Father's Day Gifts
55 First Father’s Day Gifts That Will Make Him Smile
By Martina Garvey
group of diverse babies
The Search for the 2024 Gerber Baby Has Officially Begun
By Wyndi Kappes
friends giving pregnant woman gifts
The Best Mom-To-Be Gifts to Celebrate Her
By Emma O'Regan-Reidy
New Mom Gifts
The Best Gifts for New Moms to Make Her Feel Loved
By Martina Garvey
dad hugging mom and infant at home
First Mother’s Day Gift Ideas to Celebrate New and Expectant Moms
By Emma O'Regan-Reidy
toddlers giving mom gifts for mother's day
Last Minute Mother’s Day Gifts That’ll Arrive Right on Time
By Martina Garvey
home chef bluey meal kits
Bluey Meal Kits Debut Alongside Trailer for Special 28-Minute Episode
By Wyndi Kappes
9 Empowering Products for Brand-New Parents
By Korin Miller
Lindsay Lohan attends the 2024 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 10, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California.
Lindsay Lohan Jokes She Has Bald Spots From Son's Hair Pulling Phase
By Wyndi Kappes
Article removed.
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List