I recall those days when my husband and I planned impromptu trip – hiking, beach holidays or mere camping by the river side, sleeping in a tent talking to the stars and moon. Suddenly now it is difficult to relate to those two people! Our trips are no more impromptu!! In spite of months of planning and working on list of ‘things to do and take’, there are times yet when we get cold feet just before the trip. What has changed between now and then you may ask, we now have a baby!
Then comes the next big question ” How to travel with a toddler in tow? ”
In this one year that our little one has been around, we have had a fair bit of travel to do, with all the knowledge garnered through these trips, I have put together some simple tips for couples waiting to take that vacation you have been longing for.
How to travel with a toddler tension-free ?
Pick the Destination
For starters, finalize the place of travel keeping your child in mind.
A curious toddler would not want to be held for too long, he / she would soon get curious and want to explore, so please make sure you keep this in mind while picking the destination.
While you are picking the destination another factor that you have to pay heed to is the kind of hotels available there – will it have place for your little one to play, is the food served of good quality, are the rooms clean etc.
I find tripadvisor.com greatly helpful in giving me a true perspective of the hotels. Try and make your hotel reservations also early to avoid last minute rush.
Once the destination is finalized, decide on your preferred mode of transport.
- Should you decide to take a flight, make your flight reservations early so you get the best fares..
- Try and book yourself on a non-stop flight, this will help ease the journey for your little one.
- If you are traveling on a full service flight, ensure you pre-book a baby meal, else plan to carry enough food for the little one.
- Check in early so that if the flight is not running full you could ask for an extra seat.
- Verify with your airline if your child’s cabin bag will be given separate baggage allowance or it is part of what is allowed for the parents. In my experience a few airlines give a 7kg hand baggage allowance for the child as well, while a few carriers do not.
Driving the Distance
Should you be planning on going by a car..here are some handy tips
1. Car Seat
- I suggest you invest in a good car seat as step one.
- A car seat not only ensures the safety of your beloved baby but also gives you your space.
- I would advise against long car journeys without a car seat.
- Also please ensure the car seat is fixed in the back seat and not in the front.
Are you planning to invest in a car seat, maybe this collection might interest you.
2. During a long journey, please do not allow your toddler in the front seat since your baby’s pranks could disturb the person who is driving.
3.Keep a few hours of travel time extra while on a car journey since you would end up taking more breaks with your little one around.
4. Keep a few of your baby’s toys and books at hand and keep them engaged by either playing with them or reading to them.
5. While in the car you could also keep telling the child a few snippets about the place you are going to and also point to things on the way and tell him / her what it is. This will not only engage the child but also help them learn new things.
Travel by Train?
If you’re planning to travel by train, ensure you get a lower berth so it is convenient for you and your baby to share. Remember to carry your own blankets for a train journey. Also ensure to drape your child in full sleeve tee and full trousers to avoid insect bites.
Pack up Easy
With hotel and flight out of your way, packing is the next big ticket item.
- Please find out the temperature of the place you plan to visit and pack accordingly.
- If you are traveling abroad, don’t forget to carry all your child’s documents including his / her birth certificate copy.
- In your baby’s cabin bag, please pack, a bottle of milk or your baby sipper so you can give it to him/her during take-off and landing. This helps ease the pressure they feel in the ears. For the same purpose, carry a little cotton wool for their ears as well.
- The cabin bag should also have a hand sanitizer, extra clothes, diapers, diaper changing sheets, bib, newspaper and garbage bag to dispose soiled diapers.
- If it is a long flight, keep a few toys handy, chances are your little one will be bored really soon and toys would be a good way of engaging him / her.
- Also, a blanket will come of good use because the flight can get really cold.
Prepare your toddler mentally
* Prepare your baby beforehand by telling them about the impending trip (I always do this and find that my little one cooperates).
* If you are meeting family or friends, prep your little one about them, also allow the child time to settle in before you encourage him / her to socialize.
* Keep your little one’s routine intact and plan your sight-seeing or meeting friends or family around this routine – this is sacrosanct!
* You might have to skip a few things on the itinerary because they are not child friendly or hamper his / her schedule.
* Mentally prepare yourself, talk to your partner as well and understand this scenario.
Few other pointers for a hassle free vacation
- Do consult your child’s pediatrician if required before leaving, remember to carry emergency medicines for the baby.
- Keep time buffers whether it is reporting to the airport, sight-seeing or just traveling from one place to another.
- Should you have an older child make him responsible for your little one’s bag, he will feel involved and proud.
- Should you be going to a place where you expect mosquitoes , don’t forget to carry repellents and few full sleeve tees and full trousers.
- Carry his / her favorite bed time toys or blanket to make him / her feel comfortable and sleep cozy.
- Stock up on your baby’s food. Chances are you may not get the brand you want in the place you’re going to.
- Breakfast in a hotel is usually buffet and a big spread of various varieties is available. So, try and feed your child a big meal – curd, fruits, smoothies, eggs (please consult your pediatrician if your baby is ready for eggs), pancake, oatmeal, bercher muesli, juice.
- You can also pack whole fruit, curd for his / her snack.
Remember, you are not just two anymore. Travel can now be a lot more fun and yet challenging.
Plan it right and watch as magic unfolds and your vacation take a whole new dimension with your baby.
Wishing you a Happy and Safe Vacation!!
Do you have any specific query as how to travel with a toddler ? Do let us know by commenting below.
Article Written by Vyshnavi Sundararajan
Hi, I am Vyshnavi, a communication specialist turned stay at home mom. Brand building and opening hotels used to be my passion until I got a product that I could brand and build as per my brand book. Raised in the blue mountains of Ooty, Nature is my muse, now second only to my bouncy brat. My husband Sundar is not only my proofreader but also the one that keeps prodding me to write. My writing is quite random, from poetry to short stories I dabble with them all. I hope to make a career in writing someday somewhere…
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