A vacation with your toddler can be fun — if you’re prepared. If not, can turn into a nightmare. These are some tips which have been very helpful to me in my travels with my daughter.
1) Plan ahead: Ask yourself what provisions you will need to have on hand to take care of any normal or special needs for the child. Remember, it is the airline’s responsibility to carry passengers to their destination, but it is the responsibility of the parent or responsible adult to take care of any children.
2) Take all essential items for your child in carry-on luggage: Take enough food, diapers, medicine, and other items to last through possible flight delays. If you put any of your child’s essential items in checked luggage, you may run into problems if your checked bags are lost or delayed. Carrying all the child’s essentials with you is especially important if your child is on a special diet or on medication.
3) Bring along safe toys: Try to avoid bringing along toys that are sharp, heavy, or that break easily. If the child has an electronic game, only allow them to use it during the cruise portion of flight. Electronic games may interfere with an aircraft’s navigational system during other phases of the flight.
4) Take your time
The greatest thing you can take – whether at the airport, sightseeing or getting from A to B – is extra time. Toddlers love to explore and don’t care for the time pressures of travel, so you’re more likely to all retain your cool if you factor the faffing, gawping, stalling, toilet stops and tantrums into your timeframe.
5) Avoid sweets
Resist the temptation to keep them going on a long journey by feeding them sweets. Pack a mixture of savory snacks like cheese cubes, breadsticks, fruit and bagels – anything to avoid arriving in a strange city with children in the middle of a sugar rush.
6) Encourage them to keep a travel journal
Although my daughter is very small for this, I would say encourage your kids drawing and listing things they’ve seen and interesting foods they’ve tried. Who knows, this might also encourage them to try different foods. Collecting postcards from places you visit and asking them to write themselves a message on the back means they can reach adulthood with a library of memories all their own.