As you read this we have just arrived overseas with our toddler in tow. It took us a marathon 30 plus hours of travel – including stopovers – something I would highly recommend for any parents planning on traveling with a toddler.
When I was telling people that we were going to Europe with our toddler we faced a lot of mixed reactions. Most people were questioning why we would travel with a toddler? People raised the disruption of said toddlers schedule (what schedule?) and the inability to do the fun things we would be able to do on our own.
My thoughts were – “no one was there when we made the baby so why should we expect other people to look after our creation so we can travel?‘. Plus, hubby and I are grown, so the idea of partying throughout our whole holiday just isn’t as appealing as it was in our twenties. Of course, we will sneak in one or two date nights – we are only human – but we are happy to have moved past that partying stage.
Back to traveling with a toddler – when it comes to parenting, and to a lot of people’s surprise, I am a person that just goes with the flow. I learned pretty early on that in order to manage any situation that arises you need to have a rough plan and resources at hand and just deal with what’s in front of you – there and then.
From my recent personal experiences, these are my top tips for traveling with a toddler:
- In your hand luggage have at least two changes of clothes – you never know what will happen up in the air.
- One can never have too many diapers. I packed one diaper for every hour that we traveled – seems excessive but you don’t want to get caught out!
- Pack snacks and food that your toddler is accustomed to – because, well, we all know how unappealing plane food is.
- My little one can be fussy about the bottle she drinks from so I made sure I had her favorite bottle/s on hand to keep her hydrated throughout the flight.
- Carry familiar toys and books that will keep them entertained – I found that stickers and play dough were a big hit!
- If you can, travel later in the day – this will help to line up nicely with their sleep routine, especially as you transition across time zones.
- Arrange a stopover (2-3 hours max). During this time let them run around the airport so you can all stretch your legs and consequently reduce the toddler’s energy.
- Create rapport with the stewards – they will be your lifelines – i.e. they’ll help to heat up your food and provide extra snacks and toys for your little one.
- Make sure that when the toddler sleeps you sleep, otherwise you will be in a world of pain.
- Just relax – kids sense anxiety and tension and mirror it. If you take it easy during the flight they will too. Calm mum, calm toddler they say.
Truth is, I am very lucky to have an easy going, up-for-anything kind of toddler – but if you have any other tips that would help other parents who travel with their toddler please, share in the comments section.