If you follow me on social media you know we have been traveling a lot this year with Joey. It might look like sunshine and rainbows but I promise it’s not. When I first started traveling with Joey it was absolutely terrifying. I was so unprepared. I will never forget my first time changing a diaper on an airplane (I’ll spare you the details). Whether you’re a new parent or an experienced parent these tips are sure to help (I hope).
Make a list-This might sound so obvious but I didn’t think about it the first time we traveled. I usually end up making multiple lists. I always have 2 lists for each of us (one for our carry on and one for our suitcase).
Extra outfit-ALWAYS pack an extra outfit in your carry on. Remember that diaper change I mentioned earlier?
Don’t pack so much! – I’ve learned that almost every time we travel we always pack more than we have to. I’ve learned that you don’t necessarily need a different outfit every day for everyone. I was concerned that Joey would need so much but she really didn’t. Because our trips are usually for just a few days, I just pack just a couple outfits for myself and a few for Joey and that’s it. If you don’t mind carrying a larger luggage that’s fine but I’ve learned that packing minimally not only saves time but is easily to manage overall especially traveling alone with a toddler (and a stroller!)
Snacks-Traveling isn’t easy on parents or kids so if you can prevent a hangry toddler then why not? I usually stash a few healthy snacks in a carry on bag for Joey (and maybe a few unhealthy ones for me). I don’t go overboard with the snacks because I can always find some at the airport.
Skip preboard-So I have always wondered why do parents preboard? I usually wait until the last minute to hop on the plane. I let Joey burn as much energy as I can before we get on the plane.
Buy a water bottle at the airport- I used to never buy water at the airport because I always counted on the inflight service giving us water but I realize after traveling a lot with Joey that flights can be delayed unexpectedly, you could board but be taxi’d for over an hour with flight attendants refusing to serve us any water until the plane took off (that happened to us! grrr!) or you could be seated at the very end of the plane where it will take about an hour after the plane takes off until they offer beverages (also happened to us!). Plus it’s good to hydrated when traveling.
Inflight entertainment-This has been the most difficult for us to conquer. While I love the idea of Joey never watching Netflix or playing on my iPad it is unrealistic on a long flight. I do however, try to pack a few activities for her. Our current favorites are sticker books, coloring books, and puzzles. Nowadays about a month before our trip, I hide one of her favorite toys (not her absolutely favorite toy haha but others that she wouldn’t notice is missing) and then bring it to the trip and surprise her on the plane. She usually plays with the toy the entire flight! If you have an iPad, download some educational games so you can always whip it out if you need!
Bring something for them to drink- When we used to travel while I still breastfed, I always nursed while we took off and landed so that Joey’s ears wouldn’t pop. Now I make sure to give her some milk (which she’ll drink all at once) as we’re taking off. I’m not sure if it makes a big difference but I’m sure it won’t hurt!
Pack a backpack and if you dare a fanny pack- I ditch the purse when I’m traveling. I always opt for a backpack and a fanny pack as carry on items. It makes wrangling a kid and all of our stuff so much easier. Plus all the pockets make organizing so much easier.
Bring a toddler pillow and small blanket-Flying is never easy with toddlers especially if it interrupts their nap time. I invested in a small travel pillow and a blanket that goes on every trip with us. It has saved us on so many flights.
Pack an empty duffel bag- You never know if you’ll need extra space in your luggage to bring back souvenirs or gifts. We always bring an extra duffel bag just in case and we’ve used it every time!
HAVE FUN-Remember they are only little once. Every time they fly it is going to be a different experience. People are usually pretty anxious when traveling and then adding a toddler to the mix can be even crazier. Try not to get frustrated easily when your toddler doesn’t behave the way you want them to. Being stuck in a small aisle for hours at a time might not sense for your toddler and will sometimes need to walk about the plane or stand on the seat to get a better look at the entire place. Let them do that so that they’re comfortable and understand what the situation is around them. Make it fun and exciting for them as opposed to looking stressed and worn out (even though you feel like it!). I realize that when Joey senses that I’m happy and excited while traveling, she is too. Kids pick up on everything!
Those are my 12 tips but I’m sure other experienced travelers will have even more. If you have any tips, leave them at the comments below! I’m always looking for new ways to make it easy for me and Joey to travel! xoxo