Traveling alone can be stressful enough, but traveling with toddlers is a whole other ball game. The best way to get through the trip, with as little hassle as possible, is to plan ahead. Here are some simple tips to help you do just that!
Before you go:
- Give yourself extra time. Leaving your house hours in advance will be your biggest advantage. Toddlers don’t understand the time constraints of travel and will want to stall, go to the potty, or eat a snack at the most inconvenient moments.
- Check their passports. Children’s passports expire every five years, so you should make sure your child’s passport is still valid before taking a trip outside of the country.
- Print your boarding passes at home. This will save you time when you get to the airport and you won’t have to worry about entertaining your child while you wait in line to get the boarding passes.
- Pack smart:
- Pull-ups. Long travels can be a nightmare during the potty training days, and public transportation can sometimes offer less than desirable bathroom situations. Although potty training experts may advise against it, having your child wear a pull-up on public transportation could save you a lot of time and frustration if an accident does occur. Make sure to pack wipes as well!
- Snacks. The wait at the gate can be a long one, especially if your flight gets delayed. Your child will most likely get hungry. You won’t want to wait to feed him until you get on the airplane. Many airlines no longer provide in-flight food services. Go prepared with a variety of your child’s favorite snacks.
- Entertainment. Take a few books, a coloring book, a magic marker (crayons might end up rolling off the tray unless they are the triangular ones), a sticker book, a toy (that does not have pieces), and a cellphone or tablet with apps and games already downloaded on it.
- Medicine. Remember to bring a first aid kit and motion sickness medication if you are traveling by plane or boat. A child’s immune system is often weakened during the hustle and bustle of travels, so bringing over the counter cold and flu medicine would be a safe choice, too.
- Change of clothes. You never know what may happen on the trip! There’s nothing worse than having to clean vomit off your child’s shirt mid-flight. Make sure you pack a plastic baggie in addition to the change of clothes, so you can store the soiled clothing inside to contain the smell.
Things to avoid:
- Big coats. Extra layers of clothing can be a burden to take off your kid when going through airport security. It’s easier to pack large coats inside your checked luggage instead.
- Sweets. Giving your child sweets before a long journey can be a bad idea. Make sure the snacks you pack aren’t too sugary so you avoid a sugar rush when they’re forced to stay still and seated.
- Connecting flights. Getting off of one flight and rushing through the airport with a child and bags of belongings to catch your next flight can be a hassle. If possible, try to book only nonstop flights.
At Prep Academy, we believe that traveling with your children is a great way to spark their curiosity and grab their interest in exploring the world around them. Traveling with toddlers can be fun and exciting as long as you go prepared!