For most parents with toddlers or babies, the very idea of climbing onto a plane packed with people hoping to get a few hours’ sleep before the vacation commences could be enough to leave you feeling stressed, and panicked. Boredom, travel sickness, and tiredness can all come together to turn your little angel into a travel nightmare – particularly if your destination requires something of a long-haul flight.
If you’re blessed with new, or young children, then it’s worth noting that you don’t necessarily have to wait until your child has grown older before you can start browsing vacation websites and head overseas for your first family trip. As daunting as vacations with children might seem, there are plenty of toddler travel tips, and travel accessories out there that can make the process at least a little bit easier.
Following, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best toddler travel tips for vacations with children, so you can make the most out of your family adventure.
1. Be Prepared for Safety
First of all, it’s worth taking some time before you start placing all of your focus on youngster, to think about how you’re going to keep yourself and your valuables secure on vacation. Most of the time, when we go travelling with younger passengers, we find ourselves spending so much time chasing after them, that we don’t have time to think about anything else – including keeping an eye on our wallets.
Hidden money pouches, and neck wallets can hide behind your clothing and keep your valuables secure while you’re racing around a new location, meaning that you have more freedom to forget about your finances, and focus on your child.
2. Take Your Time
While you’re planning ahead with ideas for security and safety abroad, remember to plan ahead for the process of getting to your destination too. Set aside plenty of time to explore the airport, and make sure that you’re not going to feel rushed by the time you arrive at your terminal. Kids love exploring new surroundings, so make sure you give them some time to stare out of the windows or run around the available stores.
The more time you have, the less stressed you’ll be by the time it comes to board your plane.
3. Load Up a Smartphone or Tablet
Boredom can be a terrible thing for people of any age – but for toddlers and young children, it can seem like the end of the world. Bored children are more likely to cry, complain, and generally make a fuss that leaves the rest of the passengers on your flight staring at you in distaste – so make sure you pack plenty of options for entertainment.
In our high-tech modern world, there’s an app for almost everything, and if you already have a tablet computer or smartphone handy, it’s a good idea to download plenty of games and cartoons that your kid can access without an internet connection on the way to your chosen destination. The more apps you can find – the better.
4. Baby Wipes and Hygiene
When it comes to toddler travel tips to improve your vacations with children, it’s worth remembering that there’s more to a great adventure than remembering to pack your neck wallet, and a spare battery for your smartphone.
Baby wipes are essential when you’re travelling, as they can help you to clean up messy toddlers in an instant, and reduce the risk of sticky children leaving marks all over an airplane. On top of that, a bottle of hand sanitizer should be taken with you wherever you go to help you to avoid some of the bugs that lurk in unfamiliar destinations, and on the planes themselves. The last thing you want on your vacation is a sick child.
5. Pack Snacks
Read any list of toddler travel tips, and you’re sure to find something about snacks or food. The reason for this is that no-one wants to have to deal with a grumpy, hungry toddler at ten thousand feet – who refused to eat his in-flight meal and now complains of a rumbly stomach.
Make sure that you have as many different snacks as possible available in your hand luggage – and try to make them healthy if you can. Some fruit and savory snacks may be a good idea, as sugar will only leave your youngster feeling over-active and hyper. A hyperactive child is not something you want to deal with in the close and confined space of an airplane.
6. Pack Extra Clothing
Vacations with children are often unpredictable. It’s worth packing a spare set of clothing, or at least a few extra pairs of pants if you’re thinking about going on a long journey with a toddler – just in case an accident occurs somewhere in the middle of your trip.
Remember, accidents happen, and inflight meals or drinks can easily be spilled. Rather than having to deal with an unhappy child who’s wandering around with food all over his clothes, having a set of backup garments in your bag is a great way to get everyone spic and span again in no time.
7. Invest in Extra Comforts
Remember, even if you’re primarily looking for toddler travel tips to make your next vacation easier, the truth is that heading to new and unfamiliar destinations with children is not only exciting – it can be scary too. If it’s your child’s very first vacation, they may end up feeling nervous somewhere during the flight, and feel as though they need some extra support to deal with all the new experiences.
Carrying something with you that can offer that extra dose of comfort, such as a favorite blanket, dummy, or special cuddly toy, could make the whole process a lot easier, and even improve the chances of your youngster sleeping through most of the flight. Stuffing a soft toy into your hand luggage might mean that you need to upgrade your carry-on bag, but it’s worth it for a sense of peace, and a happier child.