Tips for Traveling with Toddlers

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that I've been in Hawaii with my little Capri for the past week and it's been such a fun trip.  Even though it's hard sometimes traveling with kids and there may not be very many relaxing moments, we have taken Capri just about everywhere with us so she has traveled a lot in her 21 months of life.  But flying to Hawaii on a 5 hour flight is a lot different with a baby than an almost two year old so I was pretty nervous to make the flight alone with her this year.  I brought a huge bag packed with just about everything I could think of and I tried to make the airport experience as smooth as possible.  Luckily the flight went way better than expected and I only got anxious at the very end so I thought I'd share a few tips today to making it easier while traveling with a toddler since we've done it quiet a few times and most of those flights I've actually done alone.  I'd love to hear what tips you have for me as well!

TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH TODDLERS

1 |  COME PREPARED [when you get to the airport it's easiest to have everything ready the best you can because you already have your hands plenty full, especially when you're flying solo with a child like I've done a lot.  Check-in your flight before hand and print off your boarding pass at home and also make sure to pay for your checked on bags so you don't have to deal with any of that.  I try and do curbside check-in if someone is there at my gate so I don't have to haul in a baby, stroller, carseat, and luggage all by myself.  You just have to hand them your info and they will take care of everything really quick.  Make sure and ask for a plastic bag to go over your carseat to help protect it.  We all know how careless they are with bags at the airport.  I take my stroller with me all the way to the gate because it helps me carry everything, plus keep my daughter contained until we board the plane.  Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off for going through security and have your liquids easily accessible to get tested.  Also see if you can go through the priority line at security because it usually doesn't have a wait and they will let families go through.  Don't have extra things hanging off your stroller, but instead pack everything in your carry-on because when you get to security you want it to go as smooth as possible with less items to deal with.]

2 |  RELAX [when you get to the gate make sure they know you are traveling with a lap infant if your child is under 2 and get your tags for your stroller and other items you'll be checking at the gate.  I always try to check as many bags as I can because the less you have to carry-on with you onto the airplane, the better because your hands are already full with your little one.  If you have time at your gate before boarding, then use this time wisely to go to the bathroom, change diapers, get drinks or snacks and let them get their wiggles out.  Don't be afraid to let other people help you who offer and also don't worry about what others are thinking.  It's hard enough traveling with a child and you can't worry about what those around you are thinking.  Hopefully they have children of their own and are sympathetic to taming a little child.  And sometimes you are doing all you can just to survive.]

3 |  EMBRACE THE WINDOW [I always try to get a window seat because it has more room and it's out of the way from bothering people in the aisle and Capri is easily entertained by watching what's going on outside.  Also ask the stewardess when you get on the plane if there are any extra seats because you will love having all the space you can get with a child on your lap.  We have lucked out on every single flight I've been on with Capri to have an empty seat next to us except for one flight and it's made all the difference.  Some airlines have the option to pay for extra leg-room and that's also worth it if you have the option.

4 |  BRING WIPES WIPES AND MORE WIPES [someone gave me the tip to wipe down everything on the airplane when you get in your seat because it's the top place to catch germs so I loved this idea since airplanes do make me a little nervous about getting sick.  Just take a wipe and clean off your seat and everything you can around it because if your toddler is like mine then they'll want to touch everything.  You will also need wipes a million times in between snacks and drinks and if you spill anything.  It's also great to pack anti-bacterial hand gel.]

5 |  THE MORE THE MERRIER [this phrase is in reference to snacks, drinks, and toys because you can never pack too many.  I felt like Mary Poppins with my big carry-on bag that I had on this last flight because I wanted to be prepared with enough things to entertain Capri for hours so I brought it all and I'm so glad I did.  Bring a variety of snacks from some healthy munchy items and a sandwich to some treats and possibly something that they would sit still for that you can pull out at the end if you're desperate.  Bring a variety of toys from books, dolls, cars, crayons, anything they have to build or put-together that takes some time, as well as electronics that you can pull-out when you need to.  I brought our iPad with a couple Disney shows loaded and a few TV shows, but our wifi wasn't working on the flight so my shows wouldn't play, but luckily I had my laptop as well so I was able to play a bunch of downloaded TV shows until my battery ran out.  We also have a lot of learning games on our iPad that Capri loved playing with and I had a few new ones that I got just for the flight so it was fun for her to have something she'd never seen before.  Bring headphones they can use to watch movies or TV shows incase you have people next to you.  And don't forget to have all your gadgets FULLY CHARGED up before the flight! 

6 |  PLAN YOUR FLIGHT AROUND SLEEP SCHEDULES [be strategic about when you book for your flight to pick a time that is good for your little one.  I think the morning or later at night is good because those are mild times of the day and don't interfere with an afternoon nap because it's hard for me to get a toddler to nap on a plane, even though Capri did fall asleep at the end of our Hawaii flight but that's because it was so long.  If you are flying during a time you think you're child will sleep then have them wear their pjs or something comfy for them to sleep in and bring a change of clothes for later or in case of any accidents.  Make sure to have a blanket or their favorite stuffed animal and lots of diapers in case you have a flight delay or the airport takes longer.  Bring a plastic bag for dirty clothes or incase you need it for a dirty diaper and don't forget baby powder or desitin just in case.  And most of all, try to enjoy this time with your little one where you can give them undivided attention without any other distractions.  Take the time to snuggle them because you don't have anywhere else to be and you are on your way to a fun vacation!!