Are you planning a trip or vacation to take with your toddler? There are many important things to consider and plan for if you are. Your child’s needs and your own preparation may change depending on your method of travel.
Depending on how long your travel time is and where you will be staying, you may need to pack a sizeable carry-on bag to go with whatever luggage you are taking. Even if your child is potty-trained it’s a good idea to have diapers and wipes handy. Sometimes children are not comfortable with public restrooms and will appreciate the relief a diaper gives them.
Other items you should consider packing in a carry-on bag include: snacks, small toys, at least one change of clothes, and a small pillow. It can help to make a backpack your carry-on bag, so you can free your arms to carry your child on those long walks through the airport.
It’s a good idea to put your passports and tickets in the outside pocket of your carry-on for easy access. You can also use a passport pouch that hangs from your neck.
In your luggage, you may need to pack a training seat or toddler potty if one will not be available at your travel destination.
Do not bother to pack drinks, as airport security will not allow them through. Instead, plan to buy beverages in the airport concourse. You may need to bring a sippy cup or similar beverage holder if your child is not comfortable drinking from regular bottles.
If your child is over two years old, he will be required to sit in his own seat. When purchasing your plane tickets, try to have both of your seats together. You may want to make one of them a window seat so your child does not have to sit by a stranger.
Your travel items should be much the same if you are traveling by car or plane. One important addition will be listening material for your child. On long drives children can become restless and cranky. It helps to have something to distract their attention or soothe them.
Just about any collection of children’s songs or stories will do. It’s also a good idea to have some music that will put your child to sleep. I find about any easy listening music (particularly Norah Jones and Adele) does the trick.
Before you take your child on a long car ride, make sure the car seat is an appropriate size and that your child can fit in it comfortably. Ensure all the straps are adjusted to fit your child properly and that they are not too tight.
Car seats are suitable for children up to 4 years of age. HealthyChildren.org has a great guide to car seat safety here.
Try to stop and rest about every two hours. Take this time for you and your child to get out of the car and stretch your legs.
If you are traveling by bus, be prepared for slightly cramped conditions and minimize your carry-on items accordingly. Bring toys that don’t make sounds and dry snacks that will not make a mess.
If your child still has accidents sometimes, diapers are the way to go. It will be very difficult to change and clean a child in the often tight confines of a moving bus.
If you are taking a train, you can expect a bit more room. Once again though, if you are traveling in any vehicle with strangers, it is best not to take noisy toys.
When choosing a seat on a train, if you have the option to pick an aisle seat, do so. Seats by the door are far easier to fall out of and suffer from far more erratic traffic. Also passengers can become pushy and hostile near the doors.
Hopefully these tips can help you and your toddler to have a safe, smooth trip to wherever you are going.