I often get asked about toddler travel, and truthfully, it’s not easy but the good outweighs the bad. We’re no Bucket List Family however we’ve travelled quite a bit pre and post baby. Our daughter is 19 months old and has seen 12 countries! To be honest, every trip I take I feel just as anxious as the first. Children change so much, so quickly that I never know what tricks she’ll have up her sleeve.
Here are a few things that work for me in making toddler travel as pain free as possible.
1. If possible, book a travel time that works best for your schedule
My daughter is a great sleeper (I owe my life to the sleep gods!), but she doesn’t sleep well in my arms. For us, a crappy nap is easier to handle than a terrible night’s sleep, so I choose day travel if I want a stress free (ish) flight. The downfall is the time change. On a red eye she struggles with sleep, which leads to a tougher flight. The upside is the jet lag adjustment is much easier. Gotta pick your battles!
2. Pack Small
What’s nice is that little people = little clothes that don’t take up much space. These Ikea storage cubes are my fav for keeping small things organized in my suitcase. I also don’t do laundry while travelling and give “dirty” clothes a longer life span.
3. Pack Favourites
A few days before a trip I hide these items and pack them in our carry on. When she gets fussy I pull one out and the excitement buys me a good 10 minutes of peace, which feels like a lifetime.
4. Pack TONS of Their Favorite Snacks, and Then Pack More!
You can usually buy snacks wherever you go but if your child is anything like mine, anything new is a hard NO. Love Child Organics Love Ducks were a life saver! My daughter is also a very picky eater, so I brought tons of Love Child Organics puree pouches. I know she’ll never pass up a pouch, and I could rest assured that she’s getting some nutrition into her little body.
5. New Toys & Books
I buy a few of each for when she gets fussy in flight. I also save some for the flight home. Works like a charm! She loved the First 100 Words book this time around. If your child decides your gifts are not to their liking, ask for plastic cups, those are always a hit.
6. Screw the Schedule
If you’re like me, your child naps, eats, sleeps, and breathes at the same time each day. When travelling I can’t commit to this, so I roll with it. For the most part if I don’t fuss about our schedule, neither does she. These little humans are truly so resilient!
7. Expect the worst
In the best case I’m thoroughly impressed and in the worst case I’m prepared for whatever my little throws at me. Win, win, right?
8. Remember toddler travel is a different type of travel
Make a list of things you’d like to see but throw in a child friendly activity in between. You may not get to see all of it, but what you do see will be more enjoyable if they had the chance to burn off some steam running around the local playground.
9. Don’t sweat it!
This is the most important advice I could give. If your child is eating next to nothing (story of my life), let it be. If you need to feed them things you normally wouldn’t, (allergies aside) just do it! If your child isn’t sleeping, roll with it and use it as an opportunity to explore the city. You’ll get back to regular scheduled programming when you get home. If they’re losing it on the plane, it sucks (like really sucks), and passengers may be cursing you, but too bad. It’s much harder for the parent trying to calm their child. I truly believe children feed off our energy, so they need you to chill before they can think of chilling out. So take a deep breath, and know that you’ve got this!
Any tips that work for your little? Comment below, I would love to add to my list!