Traveling, with a toddler, can seem like a far fetched idea especially since sometimes you are stuck in a car or plane for what may seem like eternity. And let’s face it, pulling over at a rest stop or walking up and down the aisle of an airplane can only keep them content for a short period of time.
I’ve taken several trips with my little guy. We’ve traveled internationally, taken a cruise, and even taken a few road trips. Now that I think about it, we were a bit crazy for taking these trips with the kid but they turned out to be amazing trips with a few bumps here and there. Did we make it through all of the trips without a tantrum or sick kid? No. But we were prepared and ready to face anything our predictably unpredictable toddler could possibly throw our way.
Here are few tricks I’ve used or were suggested to me by other moms. (These tips aren’t in any particular order.)
- Pack lots of entertainment. Packing toys, coloring books, reading books, and tablets with a some kid friendly apps downloaded (don’t forget Netflix) can help keep the tot occupied for a while. If you have unopened toys around the house such as gifts from a birthday party your child doesn’t remember, pack those toys too. Remember tots become bored easily so trying to pack things you know keeps your child attention for a while.
- Pack extra snacks and juice/water. Car rides and flights can be long or short yet seem long. Packing your tot’s favorite snacks can ease some of their fears, cries, and even hunger.
- Keep an extra pair of clothes, wipes, and diapers/pull-ups. To be so small, toddlers can make a huge mess including messing up their clothes. Though it seems like common sense, packing an extra pair of clothes and wipes, in your carry on or a bag you can easily reach, can be a life saver. On road trips, this bag should be easy to find or near to allow restroom stops to be fast and easy.
- Do not forget to pack medicine. The health of toddlers is just as unpredictable as their moods. One minute your little one can be playing with the biggest smile on their face and the next minute they can be crying from the pain of an ear infection or suffering from a cold. Having medicine near on a flight or car ride can reduce the stress while trying to comfort an uncomfortable sick screaming toddler.
- Make sure you have pacifiers, food, or anything else to keep your little one distracted from the pressure during take off and landing. As a adults, we know how terrible the pressure can feel during taking off and landing. Yet, we can deal with it until it stops or start chewing some gum. Imagine how uncomfortable it feels to your little. Allowing them to suck on a pacifier (if they still take one) or even eating a few snacks can help with alleviate the pressure. If your lucky, he/she may fall asleep for a while.
- Book flights early in the morning or late at night. Your toddler may feel inclined to sleep during the flight if its early in the morning or late at night.
- Plan for extra time at rest stops to give the little one enough time to run off some built up energy. At the rest stop, giving your child a few extra minutes to release some energy. Allow them enough to play
- Pack your patience, have no expectations, and be prepared for anything. Traveling with a toddler is like venturing into uncharted territory every trip. Because toddlers aren’t always predictable, you can never be fully prepared for their behavior or health while traveling. Therefore, you should prepare yourself for a good or bad travel experienced and have no expectations of how he/she may behave. Have low expectations, patience, and preparedness will assist you with having a leveled head during adversity and you won’t be disappointed with yourself, toddler, or other family members.
- BONUS TIP: HAVE FUN NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS! (Especially if you are traveling for a family vacation.)
Remember these tips are to help you assist you while prepare and actually traveling with a toddler. No matter how much you prepare for this trip, your tot can still throw a monkey wrench in the trip. Maintaining a level head, patience, and the tips in this post could make for a smoother trip.
Have you traveled with you toddler in tot? Was it a road trip or did you fly? Do you have any tips for parents traveling with their toddler(s)? If so, leave your tips in the comment section.