Traveling with Toddler
Traveling with a baby can be one of the most stressful experiences in a parents life. So stressful, that some choose to not even go through with it. From knowing what and how much to pack to dealing with public meltdowns… its overwhelming to say the least. We aren’t quite at the public meltdown stage, but its a common trend amongst toddlers; so, we can imagine that its not too far away (but, please… no!) The discussion and tips I am bringing you today are only based off of what we are currently doing and what has worked well for us. I am also happy and willing to hear what has worked for you- please comment so we can all learn from one another.
First, Vivienne doesn’t sleep on planes. Like at all. It can be hours passed her nap time and she will be partying the entire flight. We flew back to the east coast in October, where JJ and I were literally passing her back and forth for 5-6 hours. We were beyond exhausted by the time we landed in Syracuse. I think this has something to do with the fact that I never “wore” her in a wrap or had her sleep on me when it was time for bed. Every nap was held comfortably in her crib, swaddled, with a sound machine. So perhaps she is still looking for those specific things before taking a snooze. The moment we got off the flight… Vivienne was OUT! Yup… out in her car seat!
Our most recent trip to Philadelphia was no different than the first- partying the entire flight. We were so thankful for an empty flight where we had an entire row to ourselves. Now I know why people purchase seats for their children. Lap + random person next to you during a long flight is so hard! “Sorry my daughter has zero boundaries.” Again, the moment we got off the flight, Vivienne fell asleep in the carrier. It got me thinking that what if we used this during the flight to help her fall asleep? A couple of laps down the aisle wouldn’t hurt to try. Would she eventually fall asleep? Maybe… maybe not. JJ braved the solo flight home with Vivienne (bless his soul) while I left for a few days in Cincinnati for work. He said it was equally exhausting with no one to pass her to but did get her to fall asleep in her carrier during a layover, but only sleeping for 30 minutes by the time they took off for their second flight. Travel days are tough! We have found the best ways to go about a long flight is distractions, snacks, and more distractions. See my travel tips below.
- Sanitize everything around you. I didn’t think I would be this kind of crazy but with flu season here, I am all about sanitizing the spaces around us. Better to be safe than sorry.
- Put all bottles/snacks in one bag so you are only having one bag checked at security.
- If traveling with a lot of milk, freeze it before you go as they won’t test frozen milk or anything under 3 oz.
- Have enough distractions without causing a scene (aka less sound the better): flash cards, books, and small toys.
- If all else fails… bring a tablet for back up. I know we are in a world where maybe we give our kids too much time on tablets or perhaps you rarely ever do for the fear of being judged. Take my word for it… you’ll probably need it. Tablets keep them preoccupied and quiet, whether its watching a movie or playing an app, your toddler will get tire of it at some point anyway. So just keep it as an option before future meltdowns.
- The airplane can be cold, so be sure to bring on a blanket or incase you are lucky enough to have a sleeping toddler.
- A brand new toy you can take out for them to play with. Maybe you don’t have time or money to purchase a new toy for every flight, so then maybe just bring one that they haven’t played with for a long time.
- Cover for car seat/stroller. The staff doesn’t always treat them the best so invest in a cover.
- Baby carrier for walking around the airport easily with baby and ability to carry bags.
- We have a small highchair to transport if we are going to be gone for a long period of time. We brought it with us to San Diego but decided against bringing it with us to Philadelphia. It depends on whether or not you plan to eat out often or stay in for meals. We have this one that I would recommend.
Whats in my diaper bag:
- Changing pad for changing tables in airport/airplane
- A change of clothes
- Wet pack for dirty diapers or clothes
- Sanitizing wipes for hands and face
- Camilia- teething meds
- Diapers and wipes- but that’s a given.
- Teether for the teething babe
Packing a meal/snack options:
- Bentgo Bento box: this lunch box has been amazing for our drives, trips, and on the go meals.
- If you forgot to pack a lunch, grab a cheese, fruit, cracker box at the airport
- Cheerios and crackers: Vivienne loves these two snacks, so we always have it on hand when she’s hungry or fussy.
- Lara bar
I hope this was helpful! Of course, please feel free to leave your suggestions if you have something to add.