So you tried to delay it as much as you could but the time is here… You need to travel with your toddler. This is probably one of the most terrifying experiences for any parent. As we all know, every baby is different and as much as you plan and prep, it might not end up as perfect as you planned. However, there are definitely things you can do to help for a (dare I say it) pleasant flight! See below for traveling tips!
- Book your flight during your toddler’s nap time. This will almost ensure that your child sleeps for a good portion of your flight. The key is to not disrupt your child’s routine too much i.e. waking up early. Restful baby is a happy baby!
- Before heading to the airport, make sure you’re familiar with your airline policy regarding child gear. Most airlines allow you to bring a stroller and car seat without any additional charges. Also, make sure to find out if your diaper bag is considered a personal item or if that’s an additional luggage. You don’t want to find all of this when you’re at the gate so do your homework beforehand. Most airlines have all of this information online so it should be easy to get the answers you need.
- Speaking of gear, try to contact a local hotel if you need a pack and play or crib when traveling. Most hotels have them and they are rarely used. It will save you having to carry or ship yet another gear for your baby.
- Let your toddler exude as much energy as possible right before getting on the plane. I’ve seen some parents tell their toddlers to sit and be patient once they get to the gate but I say, let them run around. They’re going to have to sit for hours so why not let them stretch out their legs before boarding. Plus, the more tired they are, the more likely they will sleep for you on the plane!
- Buy them their own suitcase and/or backpack. As you know, toddlers want to do whatever you do. This includes pushing around a suitcase. I have seen parents and child having a full blown meltdown at the airport because the child wanted to pull the suitcases. This is an easy way to alleviate that issue! It also lets them feel like they are “helping” making it a fun experience for them. Skip Hop has super cute and affordable ones that are both parents and child approved!
- Bring snacks!!! Even though you want to make sure that your child has had a good meal before getting on the plane, make sure to bring their favorite snacks. You don’t know when you’re might get suck on the plane. Plus, snacks is a good way to (temporarily) distract your toddler. Don’t forget a sippy cup to keep them hydrated.
- Buy them a new toy. So your baby has napped and eaten their snacks and you still have an hour to go! What are you going to do??? Break out a new toy. Make sure it’s new and something they have never seen before because that way, they will be more willing to play with it longer. And the toy doesn’t have to be expensive. You can go to your local Dollar Tree and buy a few new things for them. I personally love a Mr. PotatoHead doll if they don’t already have one. It’s a small toy and it provides tons of funs! A magnetic puzzle is also a great option. The key is that the toy be small, easy to travel with and new.
- Break out the tablet. Though I’m not a personal fan of electronics for toddlers, a long airplane ride is one of my exceptions. Make sure to download a few episodes of their favorite shows and/or movie. Make sure to download different shows to provide your toddler with options. Getting them earphones is also great for them and for your fellow passengers.
Hope this helps you alleviate your anxiety about traveling with your toddler.
Feel free to share your own tips or ask any questions! I would love to hear from you!