From planning to flying. From packing to sightseeing. From expectations to reality. Here is your guide to travelling with your toddler – the great adventure!
It’s true that travelling with a toddler can be challenging from time to time. But planned right it’s very rewarding; it’s a vacation at a slower pace, new friends (because toddlers open up to conversations with everybody) and new discoveries. To avoid the challenging part of it, here’re some words of advice:
The secret behind a successful vacation with toddlers in tow is actually simple. Just remember these two things; planning and tailoring the trip according to the youngest in your travelling party.
One-destination vacations are usually the most successful with toddlers.
Perhaps there’s a lot you want to see and experience at the vacation spot and surroundings, but the chances are that your toddler doesn’t. It may sound like a bit of a downer to say “keep expectations low and patience high” when travelling with the little ones. But on the other hand; rest, slow pace, one activity per day and some more rest is great for both toddlers and grown-ups.
Bring along some favourite toys. Encourage every kid over two years old to pack their own backpack with some toys, books, coloured pencils, paper, colouring book and stickers.
• Don’t pre-board! You will probably be offered to do that, and it might seem like a good idea. It’s not staying in the lounge at the gate where the kids can move for as long as possible.
• Don’t expect meals, pack your own. Stay away from sugar at all times!
• Dress for the occasion. Meaning, comfortably in dark colours.
• Windows in all honour, but that’s a grown-up’s fascination. If you’re lucky it will keep your toddler occupied for a couple of minutes. The aisle rules when travelling with a toddler. You’ll probably spend most time walking back and forth, or around with your toddler.
• Don’t forget to pack a change of clothes for your child and some diapers.
Make frequent shortstops. Try to cover some distance when the toddler takes a nap.
Are we there yet? Yes
• When checking in to the hotel room, see to it that all the heavy objects are secured.
• Check the safety of the rented equipment like beds and high chairs. Standards differ between countries.
• Two to five-year-olds should stay out of the whirlpool or hot tub.
• Use swimwear that is leakage proof.
• Limit the chaos! Routines are great even though you’re on vacation. Snacks, naps, and bedtimes could be like at home.
• Pick the room with a refrigerator or kitchenette if possible; you become less dependent on having to find hot water, microwaves, opening hours and restaurants.
What to do
As a rule of thumb, many recommend one or two activities per day. That’s what a toddler between two and five years of age can really appreciate.
Children between the ages of 1 and 3 love visiting children’s museums and places with outdoor activities like zoos with domestic animals that can be patted, visiting farms, picking fruits etc. Because of kids around this age like exploring, touching and doing things.
If you go to more grownup museums, try the scavenger hunt approach; encourage your toddler to find animals, food, etc on the paintings.