Traveling With Littles: Share Your Tips, Please?
I’m really looking forward to writing some hopefully helpful and informative posts about traveling with toddlers when we return from our trip, but right now I’m in brainstorming mode and would love to hear from you!
If you have tips or tricks for traveling by air or by train with toddlers, I would be so grateful for them. I’m looking forward to our adventure, but know that the long flight with a four-five months pregnant belly and a busy toddler on my lap will be no walk in the park. We start with a flight that’s about three hours long, followed by an equally long layover. Then it’s a 12+ hour flight followed by a layover of a bit more than an hour, then another hour+ in the air and forty five minutes or so in the car. Once we’re settled in, we’ll probably be enjoying at least one long train ride, but probably more. I’m expecting that we can find some ways to enjoy it all!
Here’s what we’re planning so far…
Annabelle’s grandmother sent her an adorable little backpack that I plan to fill with fun and novel things to do and some interesting snacks. At this point, I have collected a sticker book, an eye spy bag, and a few new books to read. I’m planning to make some fun and simple activities using lightweight materials like felt, and of course to bring along some art supplies. Fortunately I have a box of those on the way! I’m thinking there is no more appropriate time than this to introduce (organic and gelatin free) fruit snacks, and I’m brainstorming to come up with some other snack ideas that will be both tasty and interesting. Would love easy ideas for portable meals, too, as it has been years since an airline actually had the vegetarian meal I requested when I got on board, so I need to be prepared.
I’ll bring along our lavender essential oil and put a drop or two on my Mei Tai (the intended napping place) here and there, when we’re in need of a bit of calm. Sleep anywhere but the bed has been tough, so I’m thinking of trying Hyland’s Calms Forte and/or Valerian Super Calm or Chamomile Calm. I’m thinking of bringing some dried lavender flowers to make a weak lavender tea during the flight as well.
Packing light and wearing comfortable shoes and clothing (plus a change or two for Annabelle, just in case) are in the plans, as I know it will be a challenge to handle all of our stuff and Annabelle at the same time. I had good luck when Annabelle was an infant, with talking to the attendants at the gate before each flight, just to let them know I was traveling with a baby and would be so grateful if they thought another seat assignment was available that would make things more comfortable for everyone. I will try that again! Of course I did the same over the phone already, but sometimes there are better options just before the flight.
Here are some questions…
I am trying to decide on the best carry on bag. I hate my current purse, and have been swearing I’d throw it out and get a new one for months. I may get a new, large and easy to organize handbag, use my diaper bag, or go for a small bag on wheels to cut down on the number of things I have to carry on my person. I’m thinking the latter may not be the best thing, because it will have to go in the overhead and I want easy access to toddler entertainment throughout the flight. Do you have a specific bag that you find is both comfortable to carry and easy to organize items in? Have a specific carry on game plan that works well for you?
I’m struggling with the question of whether or not to invest in a stroller now. I definitely plan to bring along my current favorite carrier, but as pregnant as I’ll be, it would be nice to give my back a rest. I certainly don’t need to be weighed down by extra equipment, however, and it could be hard to manage a carry on bag, a stroller, and a toddler – even if said toddler is in the stroller. I was glad I didn’t bring a stroller when we traveled in the early months, but I’m trying to figure out the safest and most comfortable solution for keeping Annabelle with me at this stage. It’s tough since I can’t guarantee she’ll even be willing to sit in a stroller without loudly protesting. What do you think? Stroller or no stroller? I’m intimidated by how many options are out there, too, so if you have a particular stroller you love, let me know! I thought about buying a $15 umbrella stroller, and donating it along the way if it ends up not working out, but I’m not sure where I would do that.
The most common suggestion for toddler entertainment while traveling seems to be movies. While these are something I typically like to avoid, I’m totally fine with introducing them on an airplane. There really is no option besides sitting still for portions of a long flight anyway! The only option I have for movie viewing, however, is my laptop, and that’s a heavy item to lug around airports with us, nevermind the fact that I’ll have to worry about charging it (and both of my layovers are outside the US, so I guess I’d need a converter!) and taking it out to place it in a separate bin for security. Seems like it may be more trouble than it’s worth – especially since I don’t know how Annabelle will take to movies anyway, and we don’t own any DVDs, so I’ll have to purchase some specifically for the trip. Any thoughts? Is having movies totally worth the hassles I’m concerned about, or would you leave the laptop in the checked bag?
I would love to hear from you on other things you’d bring along, your favorite clothing choices for traveling, snack ideas, and anything else you have to offer!