I have had my fair share of traveling with a baby/toddler. It’s not an easy feat. Definitely not for the faint of heart. It can be overwhelming, frustrating, and just plain stressful. Once you get to your destination, whether by train, plane, or car, you can breath a little easy. Until that point you have to make sure you pack up the kitchen, the house, and everything in between.
When my oldest was younger I felt like it was a breeze to travel. She didn’t need much. A DVD player to watch and re-watch her favorite movies. Some coloring books and crayons. Snacks and beverages. Her blanket, and a change of clothes. Not awful. She would have her mini freak out moments here and there but for the most part she was the ideal travel buddy.
My youngest on the other hand is in a category all his own. We have taken a trip by car and by plane. Both were character building exercises when it comes to parenting. My husband is usually the driver and travel agent. While I take up the rear and watch over the kids. I am in charge of care, organization, feeding, and entertainment. We kind of have a system. It works.
Here’s the outline I follow to ensure a fun and happy time while traveling…
- Electronics are your friend. If you don’t believe in kids movies, games, or apps for your little ones then you’re missing out. I can not tell you how many times a Disney movie saved our lives from a catastrophic meltdown because he couldn’t have this or that. We had games and movies at the ready for him. I mean who doesn’t love a little mindless entertainment once in awhile. I’m not saying he was glued to the screens but they did help distract him during those moments when we were all ready to throw ourselves down and weep uncontrollably because the line for food was ridiculously long.
- Pack those snacks. It’s easy to go with out a meal here or there, maybe not if you’re a diabetic like me, but even then…when I get busy enough I can lose track of time. My kiddos love snacks and they can usually hold them over just long enough for real food to come or for them to pass out from exhaustion or boredom while waiting for flights to board. Don’t be afraid to pack a little bit of everything because of course at that stressful moment of trying to find your gates is also the time they decide the treats they once loved and cherished are now kryptonite and they want nothing to do with them.
- Lastly, a mental tip. Traveling can be a hassle but it’s like that for everyone. The way the kids act while trekking across the states or even countries is not a reflection on you as a parent. More than likely they are exhausted, hungry, bored, and probably too excited for wherever you’re headed to think about sitting still in a seat with nothing but sky to look at. Kids cry, some adults do too, just remember that you will eventually get to where you need to go and all will be right with the world. You’ll get through it, trust me, I’ve done it.
Have you recently traveled with little ones? Any tips and tricks you’d like to share?