Going on a vacation with the family should be fun but traveling with toddlers can be a nightmare. It takes strategic planning for many parents, getting everything ready just for a weekend. You always end up taking far more than you need, but there are always those “just in case” thoughts passing through your mind.
Then there are the times that you realize you could have done with something else. There’s always something that gets left behind, or you realize on the trip would have been useful. Most of the time, you end up searching for the items at your destination and end up with a double at home.
And what about when you’re trying to keep the children entertained? Babies and older children tend to be much easier. Toddlers get into everything and are almost impossible to keep entertained for long periods of time. They have the attention span of a goldfish.
It’s time to get travel savvy. Make the most of your vacation with these eight handy tips when traveling with toddlers.
Talk to Airlines About All Your Family Options
If you book with the right airline and get the right seats, you can make your journey much easier and safer. Many companies still offer a sky rocker or sky crib for babies and toddlers. They’re usually suitable for up to two years. After that, toddlers will need a seat of their own.
Call the airlines you’re considering flying with and arrange for the right seats and perks. This is especially handy if you have an overnight flight since you won’t end up with the toddler in your arms throughout the flight when you try to sleep!
You will need to make sure you book in advance, and you may need to pay extra for the luxury. It’s well worth paying for it though and some airlines will waive the costs for families.
If you can’t get the front row for the sky cribs, then you’ll want to consider booking a seat. While you don’t have to, it’s much easier to have a seat for your toddler. They’re wriggly and don’t want to be confined to your lap. Their seat means they have more space to stretch out. This is also actually safer since you can usually take their car seat on the flight with you.
When you and the children get rest, it’s much easier to get through the vacation. It’s easier to get through the difficult first day, going through checking in, finding the baggage, security, etc.
While discussing flights, look out for those that are overnight ones. This will help to encourage your toddler to sleep and stick with their routine. If you are opting for a daytime flight, look at those that take off during the naptime. You can work on keeping your child on a routine to sleep through the flight and help to keep the routine throughout the vacation.
Pack Toys, Snacks and More in Your Carry On
As a parent, you have the luxury of taking on the second carry on for your child. This is their diaper bag, but you can put more than diapers in there. You want to think about items you take with you.
If you’re not flying, you’ll still want to pack the diaper bag strategically. While you want enough diapers and wipes to get you through the journey, you will also need to make sure you have plenty of snacks, toys, books and more. If you’re not flying, also take favorite juices with you. When flying, you’ll need to buy the juices on the other side of security.
Pack the diaper bag in a way that you can remember. You need to know where the snacks are, where the books and toys are, and where all the diapers are. That way, when you’re going into the bag to get items in the dark, you can quickly grab and hand over. This is extremely useful on a plane or train, where the space for searching in bags is limited.
If you do want to stick to just one bag, look out for a laptop bag or a smart diaper bag. You want plenty of components for all your and your toddler’s items.
Plan for Security
If you are flying, you will need to go through security. This means planning to make the trip through as easy as possible. While you know you will need to take your electronic items out, you will also need to take some of your toddler items out.
Security will allow milk and formula for a toddler though, despite it being a liquid. You won’t be able to get water through, but at least you can get the milk through. You can also take snack pouches and larger containers with snacks.
Put it this way; security knows that toddlers don’t understand the expectations of adults and can’t wait for their milk or formula.
But you will need to take out these items for inspection. Make sure your bag is packed in a way that you can easily grab all the items. Put them all in the same set of pouches, so you grab and put in a tray. This will help to minimize the time for you and others, and you avoid missing something which means waiting for a long period during the security check.
Put everything in a single Ziploc bag. You can get your own from home, rather than grabbing them from the security. If it’s clear, the security guys and gals don’t care where you get it from. The food isn’t x-rayed, but hand inspected to check for everything.
Get to Destinations Early
Plan to get anywhere with time to spare. Trains, ferries, and planes won’t wait for you, should you have an explosive diaper! Toddlers are never easy to guess. They will always get up to something. Those who are potty trained will choose this minute to have a relapse into wetting themselves, or they will stop you on the rush through security to need the toilet.
Getting to any destination early will help to keep situations under control. You’ll not feel stressed and rushed to get from one side of the dock to the other. You won’t feel the need to rush through security or get through docking.
If you get to your mode of travel early, you can even get benefits. Most flights will put families onboard first. This gives parents time to settle their children before the rest of the passenger’s board. This helps to keep things less stressful, as your children take their time to get up the aisles and along the long corridors.
The benefit also helps you get the overhead space that you need. It’s much easier to get everyone settled quickly and grabbed the snacks needed for the start of the flight or travel.
When it comes to disembarking, consider waiting for everyone else to get off first. This is especially the case if you took a buggy up to the gate. It will take time for the staff to get the buggy off for you to put your child back in.
Read the rest of this article and others from Positive Health Wellness here.