We have traveled quite a lot with Raisha from the time she was a baby. Her first travel was when she was 3 months old. I have always had a company whenever I traveled with her, but my last trip to India I had to travel all alone with her. She is 2 years old, this age is the most difficult to travel with, as now they try to be more independent, have lot more energy and are curious about everything. It is really hard to travel with a toddler alone and I had almost 24 hours of journey to cover from door to door including 2 long layovers.
I had prepared for my travel weeks before, watched a lot of vlogs, prepared myself and her carry-on with all the essentials. This blog post is to document all that I have learnt and what actually worked for us, hopefully this would be of some help to you in case you have a travel planned with your toddler.
- Keeping them warm: Carry a blanket, flights can get very chilly. An extra blanket can help keep your child warm. You can also have their clothing in layers, so that you can remove or add in layers as there is a change in temperature.
- Favorite Soft toy: carry their favorite soft toy, or their snuggle buddy, to give them the comfort and to help them sleep.
- Dress comfortably : Dress yourself and them comfortably, keep their hair tied in a simple bun without any fancy accessories.
- Small bag for essentials : carry a small bag to keep all important documents, tickets which can be readily available when needed.
- Stroller or baby carrier : stroller or a carrier is a must when travelling alone with a toddler. I would prefer baby carrier over stroller as it keeps your hands free plus stroller is collected on boarding and returned along with our checked in luggage in the final destination. It would be so much of trouble having to carry your toddler in your arms while waiting for immigration in the super long queues. So if you can, do carry a baby carrier along.
- Diapers: bring in extra diapers. Flights can be crazy even for adults, so your little ones pooping routine might get affected. It is always better to carry extra than less diapers when travelling. Try to change them in the airport itself whenever possible, changing a toddler in a cramped space of the airplane toilets is an adventure in itself.
- Snacks , Water : Carry a lot of snacks, flight will always provide meals for long travels but flight food is not always edible more so for a toddler. Also the timings might not suit your toddlers schedule. So make sure you pack her favorite snacks, quick food fixes. We carried her puree pouches, her favorite biscuits, fruit based snacks. Snacks also helped when we had to stand in line for the security checks, she was happy munching on her favorite honey pops while waiting. Avoid giving them a lot of sweet or sugary stuff as it can give them a sugar rush and it would be difficult to make them sit in their seat with that energy, this is the last thing you would want in a flight. Also pack few lollipops or binkies/dummy, sucking on lollipops helped Raisha adjust to the changing air pressure. Pack chewing gums for yourself for the same reason.
Don’t forget to carry water, keeping them hydrated is very important. Most of the security will let you carry water, but they will stop and ask to open the bag to see what the liquid is, so to save time, carry an empty bottle and fill it after the security check.
- Entertainment: The most important part. Keeping the toddler entertained will be a task inside the plane. So pack their favorite toys, activities plus some new toys and books to keep them excited. If your kids love coloring, travel with some colors and a coloring book they will be entertained. Get a pack of stickers\cello tape, pom-poms, balloons, they are cheap and will surely keep them occupied. I bought a pack of Tegu blocks, it has been one of my best buys as it was a super hit with my toddler.
Also this is the time, when you can be lenient with screen-time, it had helped me when I wanted to rest or have my food.
You can buy wireless headphones, if your kid prefers to watch with sound. Raisha is fine watching videos without sound, so the headphones we bought for her were not put to use this time. Nonetheless, I think it is a good investment for future.
- Transparent bags: I bought a few transparent pouches/bags to carry her essentials and keep near the seat. It helped me see where everything was placed and pick what was needed without having to rampage a fully packed bag.
- Be prepared for the mess: Be prepared for the mess while eating in a plane. Carry a bib and extra pair of clothes for the kid, at-least. Carry enough hand-towel, wipes to clean up or wipe the tray tables.
- Medicines : Airplanes have most germs due to the cold temperature and closed spaces, so dont forget to carry a sanitizer and use whenever you feel the need. Carry medicines for emergencies -like for fever, cold, nausea etc for the child, a thermometer and medicine for headache for yourself.
Other points you can keep in mind:
- You can consider booking your flight timings around your child’s nap time if is is possible. It never worked for us for various reasons but if you can, you should book accordingly.
- Always book a child meal in advance. If your flight doesn’t show you that option, make sure to check with them by calling the customer care and booking it. We had got a normal meal in our return flight saying we had not booked a child meal, this would be very inconvenient.
- Do not trust anyone. Don’t leave your toddler with anyone when you want to use washroom. Try to use the toilet in the plane itself or else make use of the toilets for people using wheel chair. They are comparatively bigger and you get enough space there to keep your luggage and make your toddler stand for a while. But I won’t assure you they would stand quietly :), mine troubled me there also touching everything around. Sometimes if you are lucky, the baby changing rooms also have toilet inside them, those would be of great help. But I did not find it in any of the International airports I had been to.
- Let them run around and tire themselves in the airport and while waiting for boarding, this would make them fall asleep in the plane, which would be such a relief 🙂
I hope these tips helped, travelling is always fun but with a toddler it can be challenging. But if you do your research and are ready before your travel, you can have a happy and memorable journey with your toddler too 🙂