Traveling abroad with toddlers can seem daunting but with some planning and preparation, it can be a fun adventure for the whole family. It can even work if you are a single parent, and you don’t have any help on the trip. If you want to travel and you have a toddler, here are nine useful tips for easing the stress and making sure everyone has a good time.
Consider Your Destination Carefully
Some places may be easier for toddler travel than others. Opt for child-friendly destinations with infrastructure and activities suited for little ones. Avoid places with long flights, extreme climates, or diseases uncommon at home. A family-friendly hotel or resort where meals are served early and there are kids’ clubs might be a better idea than backpacking through the Andes.
Research Flight Options
First, organize your child’s passport if they don’t already have one. Put in an application for a children’s U.S. passport online so it arrives in plenty of time for your trip. Once that’s sorted, start looking at flight options.
Morning or red-eye flights may be best so toddlers sleep. Request bassinets, bring familiar toys/blankets, and utilize in-flight entertainment. Plan activities like coloring books and bring snacks to help entertain. Be prepared for a toddler not to sleep, however. Sometimes the change in routine can leave them wide awake at inappropriate times.
Book Suitable Accommodation
The right accommodation is key. Look for family rooms with kitchens/fridges, baby-proofing, and nearby parks, etc. Hotels with kids’ clubs allow parental breaks. Vacation rentals offer flexibility if there is a group of you. Be open to various options that suit your budget.
Bring any medications, familiar foods/diapers to reduce stomach issues. Pack compact toys, books, tablets with games/shows downloaded. A lightweight stroller is excellent airport/city transportation.
Focus on breathable fabrics, layers for variable weather, and shoes suitable for walking. Bring sunhats and a baby monitor for naps. Have changes of clothes for spills and messes and take some laundry detergent so you can wash smaller items in your room.
Adjust Your Itinerary
Leave room for naps, downtime, and flexibility. Slow-paced activities are best. Consider using a baby backpack rather than a stroller if you will be navigating cobblestone streets or crowds.
Feed them Familiar Foods
New foods may cause digestive issues. Bring snacks, formula, cups, and utensils from home. If you are breastfeeding, plan for pumping and fridge access. Remember that if your toddler is only used to bland pureed vegetables and fruit, they won’t be thrilled about eating curry.
Travel dehydrates toddlers easily. Offer water frequently and bring their favorite water bottle. Limit sugary drinks that cause thirst and avoid ice in developing countries.
Choose Kid-Friendly Activities
Playgrounds, beaches, zoos, and interactive museums delight toddlers. Schedule activities for their optimal times when toddlers are fed and rested.
With the proper preparation, having toddlers along for the ride can make for memorable global adventures. Pay attention to their needs, build in downtime, and you’ll be rewarded with the joy of exploring the world as a family. The challenges of toddler travel lead to growth for both parents and children.