Traveling With A Toddler

Hey Mommies!

As you all know, traveling can be really stressful. But when you add a toddler to the mix, just thinking of it can make your head explode! I booked tickets for my family way way back in December. We’re flying to Israel with a 12 hour stop over in Amsterdam on the way there. I know, what was I thinking? Ever since then, the thought of flying with my adorable (now 12 month old) little girl is harrowing. She’ll be 15 months by the time the trip rolls around and I can only imagine she’ll be even more curious and restless. So I’ve been doing some research on how to make the trip the easiest, most relaxing and stress-free trip possible. So heres a list of tips that I’ve compiled. I hope it helps!

  • Start your preparations well before your travel day. Traveling with children is twice as busy as traveling alone, and organization is the key to an easy trip. Begin by making a list of things to do, about a week before the trip, and make sections for things to buy and things to pack. Make sure all the laundry is done, prescriptions filled, and papers copied. Make an effort to pack only what you really need, especially when it comes to the carry-on luggage. Remember that you will have a little one to care for as you make your way through the airport, and carrying an over-loaded bag will make it more difficult. Try to have everything ready two days before the flight so that on the last day you will be free from the hassle of last-minute chores.
  • Pack 2 outfits for your child in your carry-on bag (luggage gets lost and accidents happen). When packing clothes for your child, more is better. Consider the weather at your destination, but pack for the unexpected.  When it comes to underwear and socks, take more than you think you will need. Always pack a blanket, wet wipes, and a pair of slippers.
  • Spend a few minutes with your child packing some favorite toys to take along. Put some in the checked luggage and some in the carry-on bag. Pack a small toy as a surprise in your handbag, and hand it to your child as a distraction when things get noisy.
  • Take some dry, low-sugar cereal as a snack. Crackers or raisins are also a good choice. Consult the airline if you can request a child meal. If you have a picky eater, bring a home-made meal your child is sure to eat. Liquids are under tight restrictions so don’t bring any drinks from home, as they may be confiscated. You can always buy a bottle of water or juice after you pass the security checkpoint.
  • Sugary juices and carbonated drinks will make your child go to the bathroom frequently so they should be avoided, or you will spend a lot of time in airplane lavatories. Try to get your child used to water.
  • If your child is still wearing diapers, it makes sense to buy the premium, extra absorbent kind to use during the flight. It will save you a lot of trouble and inconvenience. Take the time for a diaper change just before boarding. Don’t forget a plastic bag to put away the soiled diaper, and take a cloth diaper or  disposable changing pads to cover the baby-changing tray that sits over the toilet in the lavatory.
  • Pack a few precut paper towels to soak up spills, and carrying a small packet of wet wipes.
  • A tired toddler is more prone to tantrums and irritability. For transatlantic flights, try flying through the night, children will sleep and you’ll be on the ground before you know it. Some airplanes are equipped with sky cots or baby bassinets that can hold children under a certain weight, usually 24 pounds (11 kg). Ask the staff at the ticket counter to assign you one when you check-in if your child meets the required weight limit. Being able to lay your child down for sleeping can make all the difference during a long journey, for you and your little one. Sky cots are assigned on a first-come first-serve basis, so get there early. Remember that the equipment rests a couple of feet up the wall and off the floor of the plane, so always keep an eye on your child. Always book a separate seat for your toddler if you can afford it, even if the airline allows you to share a seat. Carrying your child on your lap may be feasible during a short flight, but if you have several hours of flying time, it is far too tiring and uncomfortable. Don’t count on empty seats; chances are there won’t be any. This is an instance in which the money spent will be well worth it, so make adjustments somewhere else if you must.
  • Dress your child in an outfit suitable for the flight. Nothing too fancy, constricting or uncomfortable for the pressurized, air-conditioned cabin of an airplane. Pants and longer shirts are best. A shirt that leaves the tummy exposed may make your child feel cold.
  • Get there early. Give yourself enough time to reach the airport even if you find yourself dealing with unexpected delays, like traffic jams or road construction. Remember that security screening takes time, and gates close well before departure times.
  • Have something ready to give your child to chew during take-off and landing, as it will help relieve pressure in their ears. Chewing gum is the obvious choice, and even if you do not approve of it, consider making an exception and allowing its use on this occasion, as nothing else serves the purpose half so well.
  • If your child likes to throw toys on the floor, consider taking only a soft stuffed animal. You don’t want to have an irate neighbor who just got a plastic toy thrown at his head.
  • Take a funny, entertaining  picture book to combat boredom. At home, try to keep the book away from your child for a few days so it becomes new again the day of the flight.
  • If a tantrum is looming, take evasive action. Get up and take your child for a walk around the airplane.
  • If your journey is long and you will have a connecting flight before you reach your destination, a change of clothes will refresh your child, so make use of the spare outfit you packed in your overnight bag.
  • Be calm and don’t lose your temper. Pass along some good vibes to your child and make use of your sense of humor. Flying can be a fun experience for young children. Keep in mind that small bodies feel tired more quickly, so be understanding if your child cries and feels cranky.
  • Take along a mini makeup case with all the essentials. You want to come off the plane feeling refreshed.
  • If they’re old enough, let your kid take their very own backpack, it’ll make them feel all grown up, and you get the extra storage!

PACKING LIST:

  • Stroller (can be brought right up to the plane)
  • Diaper Bag (Holds it all, and super organized)
  • Diapers (extra absorbent, also keep in mind how long you’ll be on the flight and connections)
  • Diaper Cream (Smaller than 3.4 oz)
  • Disposable changing pads
  • Change of clothes for baby (or 2)
  • Ziplock bag (gallon size for soiled diapers)
  • Bottles
  • Formula (premeasured in sectional containers)
  • Pacifiers (with clip)
  • Snacks in no-spill containers
  • Sippy Cup
  • Bib (plastic can be wiped down easiest)
  • Food (Sandwiches, cut up veggies, hard boiled egg, pasta, etc.)
  • Motrin or Tylenol, and thermometer (just in case)
  • Tablet or DVD player, a few books, coloring book with a few crayons
  • Favorite toys
  • Favorite blanky or  stuffed animal
  • Chap-Stick (planes always give me chapped lips)

Special thanks to TravelMamas and No.1 Mouse Place!

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