We’ve been away on a few bigger trips since C was born, but this was our first one where we traveled with a bonafide toddler. Here’s what we found and some travel tips…
1. Traveling with a toddler is a completely different ballgame to traveling with an infant. When we traveled to Scotland last Christmas, Chloe could be entertained with o-balls, Sophie and other sensory toys. These weren’t going to cut it. The good news here is that you will be so preoccupied with entertaining your little one that the flight will go by way faster.
2. Make sure you pack lots of surprises and snacks for the plane. We brought along a few new books, colouring supplies and sticker books. We also loaded a few toddler-friendly games onto the iPad (sometimes you just got to let screen time happen). While these didn’t occupy Chloe for the full flight they did help pass a bit of the five hour flights.
3. Your little one isn’t going to be 100% well-behaved throughout the flight (unless a miracle occurs). Chloe was good about 80% of the time and the other 20% was getting antsy, irritated, spraying puree onto the person next to us…my advice is just to go with it and hope that the people around you are understanding. If they aren’t, the good news is that you probably won’t have to see them again after the flight ends.
4. Pray that someone tires themselves out on the plane and takes a nap. That will pass some of the time.
5. If you can rent things like car seats, cribs, strollers and high chairs at your destination. This will be a big help and also mean you don’t have to bring these things along. If you happen to be traveling to Scottsdale, Sweet Pea Baby rentals was great and the stuff we rented was of high-quality. They even met us at the airport rental car location.
6. Avoid staying in standard hotel rooms, unless you like going to bed super early 🙂 Since having C we’ve found it a lot easier to stay in places that have a kitchen (key!) and a separate living space. It means that we can make some food while we are away and also have a place to relax in the evening. The Westin Kierland villas were a great choice this trip.
7. Expect and be ok with the fact that the vacations you take with little ones will be different than the ones you did before. This may be a given, but I wanted to share 🙂 At the moment, our vacations are pretty low on the adventure scale and off-the-beaten track excursions. Once C is a bit older we will begin going back to our regular type of vacations, but for now we’ve been finding it easier to be a bit more mainstream. We do miss places like this and activities like this, though.
8. On a similar note that vacations are different now, try to plan a few activities that are just for your little ones. On our recent trip we planned outings to the Phoenix Zoo, the Children’s Museum, and the McCormick Stillman-Railroad park.
9. Try to follow some of the same routines. It helps keep everyone sane. Even when we are away we do try to keep some of the same routines we do at home. The bedtime routine is the one we tend to always try to keep as it means that someone won’t be overly cranky the next day…
10. Having just uploaded all of our photos, I realized I am only in a couple of photos. Make sure to take some family photos and photos with mom! Since I’m the one we takes the photos I usually forget to get in the photos.
PS: You never need as many clothes as you pack 😉