Travelling to 10 countries across 3 continents with a toddler has filled me with learnings worth sharing.
Planning to travel with your toddler? Congrats on being the parent who has the courage to think of it!
By now, you probably know how demanding your toddler can be at times. Or let me put it this way, babies are demanding since there existence, making you crave for things they would like to relish inside you.
They know so well, one unhappy call and they would do everything on earth to keep me calm. Well, the fact is this is the only way they can communicate for a long time, until they start uttering those stammering words cutely.
It is not easy to handle them at home all by yourself then imagine what would you do with no ‘home like place’ by your side? The good news is that your baby doesn’t need his home, they need you by their side. To comfort them, to keep them entertained, to take care of everything from hunger to sleep.
But to do this, you need to be armed with the all the ‘must haves’ on a trip.
So here is what you should know before planning a travel with your adorable toddler:
- Food is life:
You may have heard several times foodies saying something like this but it is not just them. Hunger can drive anyone crazy including your baby. Limitations in this case are that they can’t be expected to understand your travel schedule and control their hunger.
This simply means that you need to pack oodles of options with you like handy snacks, bread, fruit, baby smoothies, fruit bars – depending on your baby’s age and likes. If he is still at ‘breastfeeding only’ stage, then just pack yourselves and leave (of course not, the list has just begun). Food at regular intervals will ensure a good mood and health at your baby’s end and that is what you need here!
Know that every airport allows a water bottle for parents travelling with babies. Some of them throw away the water at security check and ask you to fill it back from inside the airport, some airports just check that it is just ‘water’ and let you in. Same goes for milk, stored in a bottle of the baby. In case of doubt, I highly recommend you to check for their policies online well in time before flying.
- Toys, books and music:
Entertainment is very important for your baby on flights and otherwise, for you can’t count on them to sleep all the time. Keep their favorite toys and books but bear in mind that some airlines do not allow batteries in check in luggage however carrying it hand luggage with you should be fine. Again, check in advance at airlines website before keeping any battery operated toy with you, in case of doubt.
- Hygiene on board:
They say that playing in dirt boosts immunity and one should not be a ‘hygiene freak’ as a parent which is true to certain extent, but not while travelling. You just cannot risk your baby’s health while travelling to a foreign location when you are away from home and your doctor. Hence just be little extra careful in this direction.
You cannot stop your baby every time from lying on the floor at public places like its their bed or just touching all the walls, seats, trash bins, trolleys, doors and anything that attracts them. The key is to clean their hands at regular intervals, before they start licking their own hands and obviously before they eat (even a snack). Baby wipes and sanitizer are thus ‘must have’ handy items to deal with this.
- Sleep and jetlag:
A well slept baby and a well fed baby is an angel (they are anyway too but you know what I mean). It is your primary duty as a parent that you put him to sleep at regular intervals which has two fold benefit – it gives him rest, it gives you rest.
Though it gets a bit more tricky if you have time difference between your origin and destination. If your travel period is a week or less, it will be wiser to keep your baby as closer to local time at origin, as possible. In any case, be prepared for some disturbance to your sleep at night as babies take time to adapt to new time zones.
You can definitely make a ‘sleep strategy’ by stretching the periods they are awake (not beyond 6 hours though in any case) or putting them to sleep earlier by playing exhausting games with them.
- Baby equipment:
All the airlines usually allow at least two pieces of baby equipment over and above your usual luggage, the most common being a car seat and a stroller.
Since this goes in the ‘odd luggage’, it is advisable to pack it well at your end before submitting it to airport authorities as they do ‘not’ take any responsibility for mishandling usually. If you have a box or just a cover for it, carry it with you.
Other must have things recommended: A cotton or muslin cloth (could be a scarf or a stole), change of clothes in your hand luggage, ‘extra’ diapers, changing mat, bibs, vitamin D drops, baby shampoo, baby lotion, a medicine (that can be given to baby in case of fever without prescription).
Anything else that you think that is a ‘must have’ missing here? Please add it to the comments.