Thursday, 14 July 2011
Toddler Travel Tips
To follow on from my previous post this week, I wanted to talk a bit about preparing for travel with a toddler. Before you set off on your journey there are a few things you can do to help make the experience run more smoothly:
Talk about the journey a couple of days in advance. Explain what's going to happen, the transport you'll be taking, how long it'll take and what it'll be like (for example, I told my son that our 10 hour flight would mean he wouldn't get to run around like he usually does in any given day, that it would involve a long time sitting on the aeroplane, that he'd have lunch and his nap on there). Repeat the explanation the next day and in the lead up to your departure to get them used to the idea and what to expect.
Pack early. You probably already do this but starting to pack for a trip well in advance makes the process less stressful. It also gives you time to go and get any last-minute things you might need. You are likely to be more organised about what you pack and avoid over-packing or taking unnecessary items. Keep a list of what goes into the suitcase so you can keep track of what has been packed.
Think small! Whether clothing or your bag of toys for the journey, you want to keep things to a minimum. It's no fun carrying heavy bags when you are travelling. You can still have a good variety of toys and activities for your child without them taking up much space. Look out for small notebooks / colouring books / packs of crayons, mini tubs of playdough and small fun toys that can all be easily stored in a small bag to take on board a plane, train or in the car. With clothing, consider if there will be any washing facilities at your destination so you can take less or otherwise try to plan outfits with mix and match tops and bottoms.
Plan toys and activities in advance. A week or so before you leave for your holiday, pack away a few of your child's favourite small toys and books so they are forced to play with other things before you leave. That way they appreciate having their favourite toys on the journey all the more. Wrap up a couple of toys too (they don't have to be new) for them to open on the journey. It will help provide extra interest and excitement in them.
Watch what your child eats. The day before you travel and the morning of your departure, pay particular care to what your child eats. You don't want them hyper on a sugar rush, you don't want them to eat anything that might cause an upset stomach. If they are prone to constipation that causes them discomfort, give them a healthy dose of fruit to avoid it or if they are the opposite, limit their fruit intake! Healthy and nutritious food will make a difference to their behaviour and disposition on your travel day so it's worth bearing in mind.
Prepare some healthy snacks. Likewise with snacks that you pack for your journey, make sensible choices as to what they will be nibbling on. You also want to think about snacks that transport well and won't leak, smell or go off! You can still take some fresh fruit and vegetables but they will need to be eaten first. Crackers, nuts and raisins (obviously not if there is any choking or allergy risk), rice cakes, unsalted breadsticks and that kind of thing are all good options. Whilst it is good to break up a journey with frequent snacks, don't go crazy like one of my friends did. She gave her son so many snacks on their long train journey that he ended up being sick!
Travel with a toddler doesn't need to be something you dread. Some thought and preparation beforehand helps everyone feel calmer and appreciate the experience all the more. It should be something to enjoy together as a family so tell your child all about your upcoming holiday and the fun things you have planned to do together. Remember that young children are fascinated by the simplest things and love watching what is going on in their surroundings. Make the most of that and talk to them about each stage of your journey and the environment around them, point out things, ecnourage their observation and have a great holiday!
Do you have any other toddler travel tips to add my list above?