You and your little one are ready to hit the road—or the skies—for a getaway. As a parent, you know that doing anything with a toddler in tow takes longer, whether you’re going to the grocery store or flying across the country. Because you’re an experienced parent who understands the demands of your toddler, the thought of traveling with your little one likely leaves you stressed. Traveling with a toddler is not an impossible task. With a little planning and lots of patience, you can get to your destination without stress, hassles, or tears. Follow these tips before you pack your bags, and you will enjoy a smooth traveling experience.
1. Time It Right
A successful journey with your toddler is all about timing. Whenever possible, schedule the bulk of your travel with your toddler during his or her sleepy times. You can travel overnight or, if it’s a shorter trip, during his or her nap time. A drowsy toddler is more likely to be lulled to sleep by the sound of the plane, train, or automobile, thus making your travel far less stressful.
2. Pack a Bag
If your toddler doesn’t sleep during your trip, you’re going to need plenty of entertainment to keep him or her occupied. The longer the trip, the more entertainment you need. Before your trip, talk to your toddler about your upcoming trip, and ask him or her to pick out a few items that he or she wants to bring. Throw in some drinks, snacks, books, and perhaps even a new toy or two to distract him or her during your journey.
3. Bring Comforts of Home
Traveling can be tough on a toddler. Your little one is suddenly removed from a comfortable spot and whisked away to somewhere totally unfamiliar. Make the transition easier by bringing some of your toddler’s favorite items with you as you travel. If your toddler has a blanket, stuffed animal, or lovey that he or she sleeps with, pack it in your carry-on bag. If you encounter any trouble during your travels, pulling out the item that soothes your toddler can go a long way in easing those rough times.
4. Embrace Technology
You might not want to sit your toddler in front of the television when you’re at home, but consider some technological entertainment when you’re traveling. Whether you’re in a hectic airport or hotel room, technology can help focus your toddler so he or she isn’t overwhelmed by all of the activity and change. Laptops, tablets, and even smart phones have plenty of games, shows, and apps suitable for toddlers. If you’re planning a road trip, consider investing in a portable DVD player for the road. Your toddler will stay entertained during your travels, which will eliminate plenty of stress for both of you.
5. Be Flexible
As a parent, you know you should expect the unexpected with a toddler. Understand that your toddler’s routine might change when you’re traveling. He or she might switch up the nap schedule or suddenly wake up during the night. Be flexible, and do whatever is needed to comfort your toddler during your travels. Rather than adhering to a rigid routine, let your toddler’s needs guide you. Being flexible and willing to adjust your schedule for your little one can reduce the stress and lead to a successful trip.
Traveling and parenting a toddler are not mutually exclusive. With the right mindset, a wealth of supplies, and plenty of patience, you can travel with your little one. Exposing your toddler to new destinations broadens his or her worldview, so embrace the challenge, and enjoy your travels.