Recently, I’ve had a ton of people reach out to me seeking advice on traveling with a toddler. However, I feel that it’s important to clarify that I’m definitely not an expert and traveling with a wild toddler is NOT easy. More often than not, I’m in full-blown survival mode throughout the entire experience – LOL! With that being said, here are a few things that have helped make traveling a little easier:
1. Bring a variety of snacks!The night before flying, I gather up various snacks in Ziploc bags and put them all in a gallon Ziploc. The goal is to provide tons of options, without bringing the entire package or having to deal with opening different containers. Having all of the snacks in one-place makes it easy to go through security and allows me to stay organized, even during the most hectic travel experiences. Plus, Aiden loves being able to sift through the gallon bag and choose her own snack.
2. Be Prepared for Screen Time! We try to limit screen time at home, however when we’re flying Aiden is allowed to watch all the TV she wants. Be sure that all of your movies/TV shows are downloaded and working prior to getting on the flight. There is nothing worse than getting onboard and realizing that your movie never finished downloading. Been there, done that and it sucks! If you have baby headphones, make sure to bring them because some flight attendants are super strict about the volume of the Ipad/computer and will make you turn it on mute if other people can hear it.
3. Bring Non-Screen Related Activities!Just because your toddler loves to watch TV at home, doesn’t always mean that he/she will want to sit on the plane and watch it. Sometimes, Aiden doesn’t feel like watching TV and I’m always so thankful that I have a ton of additional options to keep her entertained. Some of these non-screen related activities include:
a. Coloring Book and Crayons – Remember the goal is to keep things to a minimum so throw 5-10 crayons in a snack size Ziploc and bring a super thin coloring book.
b. Stickers and Blank Paper
c. Toys – I try to bring toys that don’t talk or make a lot of noise. We usually bring Aiden’s little Troll figures and make them have a pretend dance party on the tray in front of us. You’ll definitely have to channel your inner child to come up with games/ways to play with your kiddo’s toys.
4. Ask for Ice! Warning: Make sure that you’re kiddo has enough teeth to chew ice and that you’re confident that they’re not going to choke on it.Aiden has all of her teeth and eats ice at home like its going out of style. With that said, ice is an awesome way to keep your little distracted on the plane. Aiden loves being able to hold the cup and choose her ice cubes. More often than not, she’ll blow through three cups of ice in an hour.
5. Check As Much As You Can Before Going Through Security! That means, check your carseat, pack-and-play, extra carry on and suitcases! I always take as little as possible when getting on the plane/going through the airport.
6. Organize Your Diaper Bag! I can't stress this enough!!! Whenever we fly, I make sure that everything in my diaper bag is in a ziplock or pouch. TSA will usually make you pull out food, electronics, toys, wipes and any other liquids when going through security. Having everything separated and easy to grab makes the entire process a lot less stressful.
7. Get a Travel Case For Your Stroller or Bring a Cheap One! I wish I would have taken my own advice for this one. After this past trip to Vegas, I came off the plane to a broken (the plastic snaps of the toddler seat were completely busted) stroller. When I went to file a claim with Southwest, they looked at me, laughed and proceeded to tell me that stroller damages will not be covered by them. Our UppaBaby stroller was expensive and I am so bummed that we have to spend the money on a replacement due to their carelessness. Don't let this happen to you - bring a cheap umbrella stroller or spend $100 on a hardshell travel case!
As always, if you have any ideas, suggestions or questions on keeping your little one entertained while traveling or what to bring, I would love to hear from you. Otherwise, good luck and safe travels!