Tips for travelling with Toddlers

By Relaxed Travel

Toddlers. This age group is tough!  They are mobile, loud and have the attention span of a gold fish.

Airports: 

  • Keep luggage to a minimum, have carry on as a back pack so you are hands free to help them off the plane and through the terminal.  
  • Hand straps between you and the toddler can be helpful if you have both hands full with cases or a pram.  Remember you will always need one hand free for the toddler.
  • I would recommend against giving a child under 7 their own luggage to carry, chances are they will refuse when tired.  Only take what you can physically carry whilst helping them.
  • PRAMS:  What a brilliant invention.  The international flights will often let you take the pram right up to the boarding gate, you leave it at the plane door and they have it ready for you on arrival when you step off the plane.  A cover for the pram, that can be put on easily at the gate is great to stop bits being broken in transit.  Some airlines will loan prams in airports if you request one.
  • Pick a pram that is compact but can lie flat when they sleep, having the kids in a pram makes sight seeing so much easier when little legs aren’t getting tired.  When we travelled to Canada with a 15month old and 3 yr old, the double pram was excellent, we used the limousine version that could lie flat in both sections and let the kids sleep if our flight didn't leave until 11pm.  We could wheel them both up to the plane and then collect it at the other end to wheel through airports when collecting luggage.

On the Flight: 

  • Choose the toys that holds their attention and pack several versions of these to rotate when needed.
  • Try to only bring out one toy at a time and make it last, leave the favourite toy near the end when they may become tired and cranky, then it is guaranteed to cheer them up.
  • Avoid toys that can roll down the isle, it is always fun trying to chase them up when they fall.
  • If flying Long Haul, pack their PJ's and follow your normal routine.  Let then know they will have dinner/lunch and then it will be time for their sleep.  Change them into their PJs, clean their teeth, read a book.
  • Pack their normal Blankie or teddy, it will make sleeping much easier.
  • Order the kids meals, they will be delivered before all the adult meals so you can be free to help them eat.  The Hostess will usually clear their plates before serving yours. You can set them up with a toy while you eat.
  • It is difficult to have hot drinks with young ones on a plane - we found chocolate covered Coffee beans work great for the early morning pep-me-up.
  • Limit the movies!  Use it as your Ace card for the end of the journey, when they are tired, this will get them through to the end.  If toddlers are allowed to watch unlimited screens from the beginning, they are almost guaranteed to be cranky and irritated by the end of the journey.

Sight Seeing: 

  • They will tire quickly with all the excitement, try and work your days around their day time nap. Pick that time to walk in the park with the pram, or return to the room for a rest, have a long lunch while they sleep in the pram or walk around that museum you have always wanted to see.
  • Alternate your holidays wishes with theirs: see one of the sites, then visit a park etc
  • Try not to overbook your days, just walking to the train station to start the day can be enough to tire them out.
  • Pack lots of snacks and water.
  • Go with the flow.
  • Most hotels will offer Cots or bassinets for free in your room if requested.  Be careful of the wording, A cot in America is a fold out single bed.

Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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