How to be prepared? 6 tips for travelling with a baby or a toddler.
You may be looking forward to your summer vacation but once the time comes to get organized and you have your small child to prepare for the trip, it may all seem a bit overwhelming. Travelling with a baby or a toddler is like going on the road with a rock band, with so many stuff to carry and so many things that could go wrong.
But, don’t despair! The key lies in good preparation ahead of time and here are the most crucial aspects to bear in mind.
Travelling by plane
If flying is your preferred mode of transport, it’s imperative you try and make it as short as possible and with minimum connecting flights. The less time you spend in transit, the less likely it is that you’ll have to deal with tantrums, ear pain due to pressure changes, restlessness or anxiety. If you can, book a seat with a bassinet connection and a separate seat for your older child.
The pre-boarding phase is precious as you can use it to set up things in advance, such as the bassinet or the toddler car seat. In this way, everything will be ready when you board the plane and you can use that time to go to the toilet or simply walk around and satisfy your child’s curiosity, instead of sitting in the crowded plane.
Take as little baby gear as possible
The lighter you travel, the easier it will be. You won’t have to exhaust yourself hauling heavy luggage full of stuff you won’t actually need especially if you have to catch trains or buses to your final destination. Keep it at bare essentials for the baby as they don’t actually need much – diapers, change of clothes, toys, food, comfy place to sleep in and a loving family. One thing that can be a real life-saver that will help you avoid baggage fees and heavy hauling is renting baby travel gear. Wherever you go, there will probably be a service available that can deliver cribs, high chairs or strollers to the airport, hotel or your rented vacation home.
Another way to make things more practical is getting a lightweight baby wrap which allows you to move around easily and be faster, navigate any difficult terrain, eliminates the bulky strollers and allows your baby to be close to you. The latter is great in helping babies fall asleep easier as you can even walk around the plane to stretch your legs and give your baby a chance to nap.
Pack extra clothing
Whatever mode of travelling you end up choosing, make sure all of you are dressed in layers. For the kids, this is extremely practical if they get too hot or too cold or if they get dirty. Also, have an extra outfit in the diaper bag in case of a leaky diaper or spilt food. The same goes for moms and dads as the same mess often ends up on their clothes so an extra T-shirt will be more than welcome.
Bring snacks and fluids
It can get very warm and stuffy in transportation so it’s very important to keep your baby hydrated. Make sure you pack their bottle and sippy cup, a pacifier, and non-perishable foods and snacks. Even if you still breastfeed, it’s good to have these things at hand in case your baby gets restless and moody.
If you haven’t taken your child on trips before, you don’t really know if there’ll be any health issues or reactions to your chosen mode of transportation. It’s wise to pack a small medicine bag with prescription and over-the-counter medicine you think might be necessary, such as infant ibuprofen to relieve pain and Dramamine for kids to help with the motion sickness. Keep them all in their original packing so they can be easily identified.
Don’t forget the favourite toys
Whatever favourite item your kid has, a toy, a blanket or a pillow, make sure you pack that first. It will soothe them, help them fall asleep, keep them comfortable and cosy. Avoid bringing any toys with sharp edges, but rather take soft and fluffy toys. In case there’s any turbulence, your child won’t get hurt and they’ll still have something to keep them occupied. One thing that does magic for toddlers is packing the toys in bags as they love going through bags to see what is hidden inside. In case they get moody and cranky, each new bag will be a great distraction.
Prepare activities for the kids
In addition to toys, you can get your kids interested and amused by listening to music, singing songs, reading kids’ books and playing games, especially if you’re travelling by car. Technology is always very welcome here, even if you’re not a huge fan of it at home. Your phone or tablet can be of great help if nothing else is working – find your child’s favourite song or cartoon that you know will keep them occupied and quiet.
However you decide to travel, the key is being prepared, so make a good plan, pack wisely and keep in mind your kids’ needs and don’t forget to have fun along the way!