From the highs of family holiday fun to the lows of an unpredictable toddler meltdown, it appears Kiwi families are well versed on travelling tantrums with one in three (32%)* Kiwi parents saying their toddler has had a meltdown while on holiday.

The family travel experts at Wotif surveyed over 1,000 Kiwis on this very topic and we’ve asked them to shed some light on how to deal with the inevitable toddler tantrum while travelling.

Hot spots for toddler tantrums

There’s certainly no perfect place for your child to have a holiday meltdown, however when it comes to the worst possible location for a toddler to have a meltdown, there’s no surprise that public places with large crowds topped the list for Kiwi parents. Kiwis rated the following as hot spots for toddler tantrums:

1.  During a cultural performance (33%)

2.  In a popular restaurant (22%)

3.  At the airport (11.5%)

4.  In a long line waiting for a ride (8%)

5.  On an organised tour (6%)

Toddlers can really test your patience when they have a meltdown on holiday. Wotif travel specialist, Kim Stockham, says planning the right destination and having a relaxed, and flexible, travel schedule can make a big difference.

“As well as planning a trip that includes rest-points and child-friendly moments, choose a destination and accommodation that ticks the boxes for parents and toddlers alike, and allows for a happy holiday for all.

“Parents with young children can’t go past family favourite destinations such as Fiji, Gold Coast or Rotorua. Whether they’re after a resort with a kid’s club, swimming pool, babysitting services, or even room service for when you want the occasional night in, Wotif.co.nz offers families plenty of choice across thousands of hotels.

Avoiding busy places and big crowds is practically impossible while on holiday. So how exactly should parents react when the dreaded meltdown takes place in public?

Deep breathing and distraction the name of the game

While it’s safe to say there’s no ‘one trick wonder’ for dealing with a toddler tantrum while travelling, Kiwi Mums and Dads offered their best ideas, ranging from the very popular technique of quick-thinking distraction through to the least popular stern worded conversation.

Here are the top five ranked ways of coping with a tantrum while travelling:

1.  Distract them with another activity (60%)

2.  Take them away from the situation (52%)

3.  Have a toy, book or treat on hand to cheer them up (41%)

4.  Stay calm and ignore the meltdown (26%)

5.  Tell them off immediately (7%)


Being well prepared with a variety of toddler-taming tactics can help minimise tantrums, or even avoid them altogether. Top tips from Kiwi parents included:

1.  Download videos, e-books or games onto your tech devices

2.  When in the air, tap into in-flight entertainment to keep the kids busy

3.  Pack their favourite toys and books from home

4.  Ensure snacks are close at hand.

Fridge list holiday picks on Wotif.co.nz

Wotif’s Family Deals page has the best family friendly resorts, apartments and holiday parks with great deals across thousands of destinations both at home and overseas. Start planning your next family escape, with one of the below toddler friendly accommodation options available on Wotif.co.nz.

Denarau Island, Fiji Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa


Boasting seven outdoor pools, including a shallow depth lagoon just for kids, expansive lawns and a shade-covered playground area, this Denerau Island resort is all about family fun. Buffet choices for small fingers and early evening fire lighting ceremonies are sure to keep your toddler impressed.

Hokitika, New Zealand Shining Star Beachfront Accommodation


Get back to nature with this cabin-style accommodation park right on the beachfront. A short walk to the Hokitika Lighthouse and glow worm dell provide exciting adventures while an indoor pool, playground area and library on site are perfect for entertaining the smaller family members.

Gold Coast, Australia Sea World Resort


Located on the doorstep of one of Australia’s favourite family destinations – Sea World – kids are the centre of attention at this resort. A dedicated toddler splash zone and pool featuring Nickelodian characters, playground and supervised activities make it a perfect choice for active toddlers.

Bay of Islands, New Zealand The Waterfront Suites


This beach-front apartment hotel is only steps away from the Paihia wharf, park areas and safe sandy beaches – perfect for play time! Take a boat ride to see the dolphins and wide life in the harbour or stay put and enjoy the fully fenced outdoor pool and large sun-drenched balcony areas offering hours of fun in this family-friendly resort.

*According to independent research conducted in May 2016 with 1,000 respondents

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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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