Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tips for Traveling with a Toddler


Traveling via airplane with a toddler, that is.

A five hour and a half airplane ride. 

Oh yes!  We survived!  And it was the part of the trip I was most worried about.  It's not because Ethan hasn't flown on a plane before...because he has.  Many, many times.  It was just that we haven't traveled that far, for that long, with an eager walker, who is busy busy busy ALL the time, before!

But we made it.  And that was after a projectile vomit ride down to the airport.  Oh yes!  Here are the tips and tricks that helped along the way.




Travel Early.
Traveling early in the day, with a toddler, really is best.  Our flight wasn't even that early, it was at 9:30 am, but Ethan was dragging by his nap time and thankfully, with a little coaxing from Ryan, he was sleeping the last hour of the flight.  It was pure heaven!

Check your stroller at the gate.
We always travel with our BOB.  Sure, it's not an umbrella stroller, but it's so comfortable for Ethan at the airport and it folds up really easily at the gate.  The best part about having a quality stroller on vacation is that you can exercise and walk with ease once you get to your destination.  We took our stroller down to the pool every day and it was great for extra storage and provided a smooth ride for Ethan too.

Bring a blanket.
Maybe two.  And an extra change of clothes is always a good idea.  Ethan dragged his blanket all over the airport but despite how gross that sounds, it was the only thing that really comforted him on the plane.  AND it allowed him to sleep.  So it's definitely a necessity.

Provide lots and lots of snacks.
And it's even better if they are brand new snacks that your toddler has never tried before.  I stocked up at Target and it kept Ethan busy for tons and tons of minutes (ha!) trying new snacks.  He also loved the airplane snacks.  Oh and watered down juice.  And a banana is always a good idea too.

Board Books are your friend.
This is the part where we talk about distraction.  Really, that's the name of the game.  Distraction!  Because the plane is so loud, picture books are a lifesaver.  Ethan LOVES Brown Bear Brown Bear...and we don't even read the book.  I just point at the animals and we make the animal sounds together.  Genius.  Pick books that are bright and colorful, with animals and that are durable.  I promise you will thank me.

So are toys.
Also, buy a couple new toys.  We got a travel version of the Doodle Pro as well as some hot wheels.  Ethan loved driving them across the fold down tray.  Which bought us more precious minutes.  Also, totally random and not a toy, but Ryan brought his headphones and Ethan LOVED plugging it in the outlet on the arm rest and unplugging.  He would do it over and over and OVER again and then clap each time after.  It was awesome.

Download some new apps...and bring them out once you're more than halfway through your trip.
 The key really is to hold off as long as possible.  Wait until he tuckers out a bit and has the attention span to focus.  I find that in the beginning of the plane ride, they're so overwhelmed with all of the people, sights, and sounds that an app is virtually worthless.  But once you've hit the halfway mark, bust those apps out!  Ethan loves Peekaboo Fridge, Bubbles, Peek-a-Zoo Moo, Sago Mini Ocean, and Play Phone.  Like the board books, bright and colorful are the name of the game.  Don't depend on apps with sound because you really can't hear them at all.

Be prepared to be a jungle gym.
And last but not least, really prepare yourself to be a human playground.  Ethan climbed all over us and was busy pushing buttons, opening and closing the window shade, waving at everyone and jumping.  This probably sounds like a no-brainer, but Ryan and I really surrendered ourselves to Ethan and knowing that was the goal made the trip 1,000+ times easier.  I remember in the beginning of traveling with a little one, we would each bring our own magazines and expect to get a little nap in.  Wrong.  That's not going to happen and as long as that's your expectation, it actually makes the whole experience much more bearable.


See how easy it is?!  I'm even reading a magazine here!  Ha!

Questions?  Let me know!

xo natasha

30 comments:

  1. This came at perfect timing! We are taking Noah on his first plane ride at the end of the month. While it's only 3 hours I'm still nervous. Thanks for all the great tips! Did you bring your car seat for when you got there?

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    1. We rented a car and carseat when we got there. Highly recommend going that route if you can. Hauling a toddler carseat through an airport is HARD! They do make a great backpack if you do need to bring one though!

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  2. We are flying to CO with Cam in June, and I am already mentally preparing! The BOB is our bff in airports...it also frees our hands of our bags/snacks, which is nice!! I can totally relate to traveling with an infant who's not moving so much to traveling with a RUNNER....fingers crossed he falls asleep like Ethan did!!! PS HOW did you make that happen?? Haha

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  3. Great tips! The tip about waiting to use apps is SO true!

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  4. great tips! pinning this for the future. xo jillian - cornflake dreams

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  5. We are going on 6 hr flight with my toddler in a few months I'm already so stressed thank you for the app recommendations we were just talking about needing to find some before we go!

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  6. Just received my BOB and I am so excited about it!!! Great suggestions here!

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  7. These are awesome tips! I will do all of these when the time comes to travel with Weston! HAHA

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  8. great post! we have jonas' first flight coming up in april and of course im nervous. about the doodle pro-does ethan normally like coloring? jonas doesnt do a ton of coloring yet, so i wonder if we should get that or not.

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    1. Ethan's not a huge drawer, but he loves scribbling on the doodler. And the travel size is great b/c it's so small.

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  9. lol good tips! I was soooo wondering how this went! Were flying to DC in a couple months and it has been a long time since we've done a 5 hour flight with her...cocktail please! lol

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    1. Right?! A big glass of wine was definitely in order!! ;)

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  10. Great tips! My husband's family lives in Argentina and my family is in Italy, so a looooong (international) plane ride with our 7 month old is inevitable in the future. Did you get a ton of dirty looks in the airport? I'm most nervous about his formula/water situation of all things. Definitely good ideas here!

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    1. You know what? People were way more understanding than I was expecting. We did sit behind a couple that was annoyed that Ethan would kick the seat from time to time (understandably so!) but otherwise, people were pretty understanding.

      As for the formula/water, you can totally travel with those things through security, when you have a baby in tow. They're very flexible. And if your baby drinks whole milk, hit up a Starbucks at the airport and have them warm up some milk for you. That way you know it's fresh.

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  11. You and Ryan look so relaxed, I love it :) Sound like Ethan was a champ on the flight, that's awesome! :)

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  12. Great tips! We flew to Maui (close to where you stayed) with our 13 month old back in October, and he also was projective vomiting ON THE AIRPLANE the whole way home. It was awful...but he did sleep more, so that worked in our favor. Glad you had such a great trip!

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    1. Oh my goodness! That is AWFUL! You poor thing! I had to remind myself that it could have been worse...like on the airplane and thank goodness he didn't throw up any more after that. We blame car sickness!

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  13. Ha I love that picture of you three! Such an honest look at what a plane flight is like with a toddler!! Great tips!

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  14. I haven't flown with kids yet. I'm not ready for that anxiety...haha!

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  16. Oh this is great! Thank you thank you!!

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  17. Great tips! We've never taken our 18 month old son on an airplane yet mainly because I am terrified lol. He's super good and I'm sure it would be fine but I'm just paranoid! Have you taken Ethan on any long car rides? Is that comparable? Masons been on two 6+ hour car rides and done great but I'm afraid that the confinement of an airplane might be a problem... Or I would spend 6 hours walking up and down the aisles! Lol

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    1. The longest car ride we've been on is about 3 hours. I will say, that I think being in a carseat helps. Ethan is still a lap child on the plane which is nice because we don't pay for his seat, BUT it's so hard to keep him contained. I don't think we'll travel as much once we have to pay for his ticket, but then again, when we do, it will be nice that he has his own seat! ;)

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