Dec 30, 2013

5 Tips for Traveling with a Toddler

Traveling is never easy and adding an active 17 month old can always be a mixed bag.  When I planned for this trip I just planned for all his moods: happy, sad, energetic, insane....  You know, it can vary so just plan for all situations.

1.  Timing is Everything. When it came time to book our flights I opted for an evening flight.  My thought was that if he was tired because it was bed time he would sleep vs. waking him at the crack of dawn and disrupting all his rhythms for the day.  We did the early flight when we went to California last May and that made for a really long day.  He was younger and less mobile then (only 10 months and still a crawler) so it worked.  Now, he is a running Crazyman.

2.  Be hands free.  There are so many things to bring with you but being hands free is a MUST!  You cannot tote your toddler throughout the airport and you certainly can't just them them walk themselves everywhere.  Well, I shouldn't assume that about all toddlers but Bman has a mind of his own when is he running free and with my luck he'd dart into the men's bathroom and I'd be alone while Aaron was getting baggage or coffee.

We bring our car seat when we travel and gate check it.  I am a worry wort and borderline crazy when it comes to car seat safety so I won't check it with the baggage-in fear that it will be damaged and unsafe, and I won't rent one.  So, I'm left with the option to bring it.  B is still under 2 so he sits on my lap but the car seat is with us on our journey.  Aaron finds this so annoying that I am like this (obsessed about the car seat) and can't just check it.  No dice, we bring it with us.  In May we brought an umbrella stroller just so we could push the car seat on the stroller.  Technically on this trip we needed the stroller when we got to CA so we had to bring it but we could have checked it with the bags.  Nope, I insisted I wear Brody in the Ergo and push the car seat on the stroller.

My solution to hands free this year was this gem:

Sound asleep during our layover.  He literally crawled right into his car seat he was so sleepy.  It was a treat for Aaron and I to eat out and not be distracted by B.
It's a dolly for the car seat and made traveling a breeze.  I am not really hands free as I am pulling the car seat, but B is strapped in and happy.  I call it a win.  I bought it from Amazon and it was the best $40 I've spent in a long time.

3.  Pack lots of toys and something new.  I packed B's backpack with a few of his favorite toys and also added in a few new books.  He is really loving the touch and feel/pop-up books so I bought a few and packed them to keep him engaged.  Worked like a charm :)

Where did my baby go?  He looks like a little boy in  this picture.
4.  Pack snacks.  If your toddler gets fussy, just give them food.  Cheese sticks, cheddar bunnies, tart cherries, graham sticks and plantain chips = all the things that keep B happy.  Works like a charm, every time.  Well, until he starts throwing the snacks up and down the isle.

5.  Upgrade to first class (if possible).  If for nothing else the 'free booze.'  B was a little restless on our first flight from Providence to Philly but it was nothing some Cabernet Sauvignon  couldn't handle.  I do have to say we had the rudest flight attendant.  Aaron ordered a second drink and she made a comment about how his drinks were expensive.  Um, we paid for the upgrade.

Last little tip, and this one is a bonus.  Just relax and go with it.  Nothing can be planned perfectly and we certainly can't predict the moods of our toddlers when removed from their normal surroundings.   No one wants a screaming baby, but hey, if it happens.  Do your best to go with it and order a glass of wine for you and the people around you.

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