Traveling with Toddlers: Tips
There's always the question of what happens when you have a child or few. Whether you can still do the things you used to do and how to travel with a toddler. For reference, me and my husband wanted to make the best out of flight costs before our child turned 2 so we have been on a short haul and long haul flight, camping, and many road trips. This is what we learnt in our travels to keep our sanity. At least we thought it would be chaos but it was fine. In our last trip before our child turned 2 we went to Mexico. It was a 12 hour flight, 2 day break and then another 3 hour flight. Our child slept for 8 hours of the flight and had a 1.5 hour nap on the 3 hour flight.
These tips are for traveling with a toddler on the plane that we found most necessary.
Here are some tips:
Ensure you have all the essentials:
When traveling with toddlers, it's important to have all the necessary items with you. Pack a sufficient amount of formula or baby food, as it's more convenient than trying to find milk or food during the journey. Bring a flask with hot water, pre-sterilized bottles, and formula. This way, you can prepare the milk during takeoff to help with the pressure in the ears. If you don't have milk, water can be used as well, but make sure to stay hydrated throughout the flight.
Bring engaging toys:
Having toys that can keep your toddler entertained for an extended period is essential. Choose toys that are interactive and provide sensory stimulation, such as fidget toys, spinning toys, or toys that make sounds. Bring new toys that your toddler hasn't played with before to create additional excitement. It's normal for some mess to occur, but the distraction and entertainment value outweigh the inconvenience.
Invest in headphones that cover your ears. These can be a lifesaver, it can help block out external sounds, allowing you to think more clearly and reduce stress. This is especially great if your traveling with your partner because then you can take turns having a proper break instead of half being "on" because they're next to you.
Create a sleep-friendly environment:
If you have the front seat with the bassinet option, consider using a cot shade or something similar to create a cozy and distraction-free sleeping space for your toddler. You can use a sheet to cover your child and provide a sense of familiarity and comfort. Having a well-rested toddler will make the journey more manageable for everyone.
Choose flight times strategically:
If possible, book night flights that align with your toddler's sleep schedule. For example, if your child typically sleeps at 8:30 p.m., try to book a slightly earlier flight to allow for a 30-minute adjustment period and to reduce the excitement of being on a plane. This way, your toddler can have meals around the same time as you and then sleep, minimizing disruptions to their sleep routine.
Optimize your luggage:
Use carry-on luggage efficiently by packing essential items in easily accessible compartments. Consider using a bag rider or a suitcase your toddler can sit on while you transport it. Separate items based on priority, such as formula, towels, blankets, and toys. Having an organized bag will save you time and effort during the journey.
Don't forget self-care:
Remember to take care of yourself as well. Pack a travel pillow to ensure your comfort during the flight. Attach it to the side buckles of your bag so that it doesn't take up extra space. It's important to consider your own well-being alongside your toddler's needs.
Snacks and meals:
Pack convenient snacks like Harvest Snaps
that can keep your toddler full and provide nutritional value. Baby puree can also be a handy option, as it includes both vegetables and fruit. Even if your toddler is no longer a baby, they may still enjoy the taste and benefit from the additional nutrients. During long flights, offering purees and plane meals can help keep your child satisfied.
And most of all don't forget to enjoy yourself.