Traveling With a Toddler

With the holidays approaching quickly there usually comes a lot of traveling. I know this is the dreaded topic amongst most parents.  Do you take the toddler? If yes, how much of their stuff do you need to take? What do you take on the plane? These and other questions are what I figured I’d give a little bit of advice on.

  1. Create a travel backpack just for your toddler.  We filled our Aussipack with some of his favorite things and several new items to help keep his interest during our long flight.  Some of the items we packed for our 1 year old were stackable cups, stickers, balls, plastic animal figurines, books, a little flashlight, comfort blankets, binki and sippy cups with plenty of snacks (dum dums were his favorite).
  2. Take a stroller.  You will thank me later. Use the stroller throughout your airport experience and check it at the gate.  They will have it for you after the flight and you will have a place to put your diaper bags and toddler packs etc. Depending on the type of vacation, you may choose to take different strollers.  When we went to Hawaii we just took our cheap Jeep stroller and it worked perfect.  Heading to Disney World we are planning to take our City Select for increased storage and luxury for the babe, but I recommend that you definitely take a stroller cover to protect it.
  3. Don’t force naps. We have found that our son adjusted quite well.  We just wore him out and he always found time to sleep in the car as we moved from adventure to adventure. Lots of people suggested that you give your child a little something to ease their mood, but it really just depends on you and your child. We just did our normal routine and it worked perfect.
  4. Car seat. To check or not to check? We were so worried about flying six hours without a car seat and we knew that with a car seat he would at least sleep a little and feel more at home. Flying one way on a long trip we were able to get his car seat on the flight, but on the way home the flight was booked. So you just try for it and if it works it works, if not no loss. Granted, it is a large item that you will be carrying around, but personally I feel that it is worth it when they are little and if it’s their first long flight.
  5. Look into renting baby gear at the destination. Yes while traveling with a toddler you will have extra luggage, but you don’t have to take everything with you.  For example, although we took our stroller and car seat to Hawaii, we were able to rent a play pen, high chair and hiking backpack that were dropped off and picked up at our condo. There is no need to haul extra baggage because we all know that traveling with a toddler adds a whole lot of baggage. Plus, it was much cheaper to rent items then to have to pay for these specialty items to be checked in on the flight. Just something to look into.
  6. Stack up on snacks. While traveling there are very few things you actually have control over so make sure that you are prepared with snack food at a moment’s notice.  You may avoid a few breakdowns if you are prepared.
  7. Ear drum protection. When your child doesn’t use words to communicate you want to make sure you do everything you can so that they don’t experience any sudden pain. When flying, and the pressure changes that can cause their ears to hurt and the way that they know how to communicate that is by SCREAMING! Giving your child their sippy cup, bottle or nursing them during take off and landing will ease that pain and may even help them fall asleep on the flight.

My final piece of advice, the flight attendants and everyone else on the flight doesn’t want a screaming baby just as much as you don’t want to be embarrassed by your screaming baby. So know that they are all their to help. If you need water for the sippy cup they’ll get you some before take off. If you need extra pretzels, they are more than willing to help. If you need to walk up and down the isles to keep your toddler moving and active, do it! The staff will love seeing you and everyone loves to see a cute non-screaming toddler. Have a safe and fun trip and enjoy your flight .