I know many of us are traveling right now, and one question I get asked a lot is “How do you travel with a 2 year old?!” I thought I’d put together a travel series this summer with some of my tips for traveling with kids.
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My husband is in the US Navy and so we have traveled a lot to move, we have traveled a lot to visit family, and we have traveled a lot because we live in Europe and we want to take advantage of it! I probably cannot count the number of flights my 2 year old has been on because so many of them are short little ones between countries! I can tell you how many countries he has been to – Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, France, Germany, Austria, and Hungary. 7!
He hasn’t been to as many US states unless you count the cross-country road trip we took when I was pregnant!
But, he is well-travelled and my husband and I are well-seasoned travellin’ parents. We’ve gone back to the states twice now to visit and let me tell you, preparation is needed to get a toddler through a 10-hour flight.
But you will get through it!
Tips for Traveling with Kids Part 1 – Getting There
- Bassinet: If your child is small enough (under 22 lbs or 10 kg) and you have a long flight, try to book a bassinet! These are only available on certain airlines and certain planes (big ones for the long haul flights), but it was awesome for our first trip back to the states with little O. You need to call to book these, and there are only a few per plane. Beware that if there is a lot of turbulence or your pilot is extra careful about putting on the “fasten seatbelt” light, the flight attendants will make you take your child out.
- Travel with a backpack carry on: A lot of flights I travel alone. I did the last international flight alone and my only carry-on was a big backpack. I baby-wore little O in my Lillebaby* (affiliate link, thank you for your support!) carrier in the airport and wore my backpack. I do this most flights to be hands-free.
- Instead of a car seat, try Kids Fly Safe Harness: In the same vein of traveling light, I bought this Kids Fly Safe harness (not sponsored or an affiliate link, seriously just wanted to travel light and I wanted to provide the link) for little O on the most recent international flight in March. He was not sure about it. He sat in it kind of sometimes? And then wriggled out of it other times. He fell asleep in it once but was woken up by the captain. Then couldn’t fall asleep in it again. It wasn’t his normal car seat seatbelts, it was a strange place, he wasn’t happy. I may have to try it again when we go back to Europe though. I know many people have had success with it, but O wasn’t
entirely sure. But it helps you travel light, and for take off and landing it’s very safe.
- Bring little packets of powdered Toddler Drink to help them sleep: Some kids like to have milk to go to sleep, but on long haul flights, how will you have milk for them? (I couldn’t find a reliable link for these, sorry.) Flight attendants aren’t always able or willing to give it. I discovered small packets of Toddler drink for our first long haul flight last year, and it seemed to relax O and help him sleep. It was kind of a treat. If you have a child that still needs that, or even if they don’t, Toddler drink might be a good option. If you need real formula, I know they sell little packets of formula too, just not everywhere. This is good, too, because if you’re on a plane, when it takes off and lands it helps with their ears popping.
- In a car or plane — a variety of small toys: Try to look through their toys and bring a variety of different ones, that do different things. Bring a stuffed friend, bring something that their little hands need to work on, bring something that lights up, bring something to chew on (if teething).
- For road trips — Get out of the car for a little while: We do drive with O a lot, actually. He does pretty well. We set him up with a movie usually and have toys back there for him. We try to drive for a while and then get out of the car at a gas station for a bit for some food. European gas stations usually have pretty good restaurants in them! A break seems to reinvigorate O if he is getting restless.
- Bring as many snacks as you can regardless of your travel method. Always have them. One little pretzel stick may just do the trick!
STAY TUNED FOR PART 2
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