Traveling with Toddlers
Zoey's first trip was at 8 weeks old. Now, at 16 months, it takes a little more preparation and planning to have a smooth flight or road trip, but there are definitely things that help make it easier.
1. Check your bags (and carseat) if possible so that your hands are free! The less you have to carry, the easier it is to wrangle your kid.
2. Bring lots of toys, snacks, books, and movies to keep them constantly entertained. I like to pack toys that she only gets on planes, so they seem "special" and keep her interested for longer. For snacks, we pack pretzels, popcorn, fruit leather, apple sauce packs, yogurt bites, and crackers. Last, we make sure to download her favorite movies on her iPad so Zoey can watch them without using WiFi. The week before a trip, she doesn't get to watch those movies at home, so it makes them special and exciting during the entire vacation.
3. Let them walk and wiggle in your row, or in the walkway. If we get the entire row, Matt and I move our legs to the sides and let Zoey stand between our chairs and the row in front of us. If there's not room for that, I take Zoey for a walk down the isle when we're able. Also let them run around before the flight to get out as much energy as they can.
4. Earplane earplugs are great for helping with the pressure changes during take off and landing. We used them around 6 months with Zoey, but she's gotten used to the pressure changes and no longer needs them.
1. Mountain Buggy Nano Stroller. This stroller is 13lbs, fits in the TSA xray machine, airplane overhead bins, and has a strap to carry it when folded. Originally this was going to be a stroller just for traveling, but has now become our everyday one too.
2. Doggie bags! It sounds weird, but these biodegradable bags are great for dirty diapers in the hotel room, dirty clothes, motion sickness, garbage until you get to a trash can, etc. We always find a use for them.
3. Water bottle adapters have saved my sanity! Instead of keeping track of a sippy cup, this adapter lets Zoey drink from my water bottle without backwashing. Since I always have a water bottle on our trips, especially at the Disney parks, these work so well for us.
4. Sanitizer spray by The Honest Company. Zoey is a thumb sucker, so I'm paranoid about her touching everything. This spray has been so great because we're not wasting as many wipes, and Zoey thinks it's a fun game to rub her hands together after using it.
I started working with a sleep consultant the week we brought Zoey home from the hospital. We've had a very rigid schedule in order to get her sleeping from 8pm-8am with no middle of the night wake ups since she was 12 weeks old. When we go on vacation, this schedule goes out the window! Zoey is very easily adaptable and does well with little cat naps throughout the day for about a week, but towards the end of the trip, she is always ready to get back on her schedule (she starts to get cranky and more dramatic than usual).
When we're at a Disney park, we usually take a few hours in the afternoon to go to the hotel to nap so she's able to stay up later. It's also a good way to beat the heat and the high crowds, as well as book some fast passes for later. When we're not traveling to the parks, we usually plan on cat naps in the car or stroller with the white noise from the iPad. Remember that they're little though, and try not to push them past their limits. Once the babies get upset, the trip isn't fun for anyone.