The holidays and you can forget about that quick weekend trip by yourself. This is a trip for the whole family and oh yeah….you officially have a toddler in tow. This was my life story just a few weeks ago, so here goes my recommendations for taking on the daunting task of a toddler on an airplane. I hope you are ready…
Wheels up and we are taking off…
My son is officially TWO and is the most active BOY child on the face of the earth (at least that is my definition). As I planned my trip I tried to think of everything possible that would make the flight and transportation as easy as possible. I knew I needed activities (yes, multiple activities) to keep him busy, snacks that would appease him (but NO sugar) and comfortable clothing that was easily accessible to change a pull up in less than 3 minutes. Now, I have traveled with my son as an infant, but now that he is a bonafied toddler and the “Terrific Twos” are in full effect; life sure is different.
Now that I seemed to have perfected this traveling thing (yeah, I am probably giving myself too much credit)…it is time to share my secrets with all of you! Here are my must haves toddler travel.
As I began to plan our trip, I decided to invest in a new lightweight stroller that was great for toddlers. My son is on the tall side, so I needed something that would accommodate his height. In day-to-day life I noticed that there was a huge variety of strollers out there that looked nice, but where they actually functional. Now where do I begin? Well, I googled every possible phrase out there dealing with toddlers and strollers. I read every possible review on any mommy blog I could find and searched on all shopping websites for reviews too. I wrote a list of must have features and features I would like to have. After a month of searching and comparing, I decided on the Chicco Liteway Stroller. When we took it out the box and assembled it, I knew we made the right decision. I was thoroughly pleased with the features of this stroller and super excited to use it. Some of the features that were important to me where: lightweight, easy to close, reclining seat, 5 point seatbelt, undercarriage storage, handles that are comfortable for a tall person, and accommodate the rapid growth of a seemingly tall toddler.
Now this was pretty easy, I know what keeps my son busy and what he actually likes. So I picked a couple of his favorite activities that would be suitable for the plane ride.
I picked up a couple of coloring activity packs (one for going and one for coming). Included in the activity pack is a coloring book, stickers and crayons. Now be prepared to bend over 5 million times to pick the crayons up off of the floor once they roll off of the tray table. Now these activity packs may be the cheapest item you have to buy for your trip. Both Target and Dollar Tree sell these activity packs for a dollar, yes I said one dollar. Who thought you could get a coloring book, crayons and stickers for little and nothing. I actually keep these on hand at home.
Then there is the handy dandy iPad. Oh yes, do not leave home without this! The iPad is equivalent to a passport in our house! Please please please, remember to load your iPad with the necessary apps, tv shows, movies or anything else your child may need. There are two more pertinent pieces that go along with this. Number one, be sure to protect the iPad with a kid friendly case, I use the iGuy case from Speck. My son is able to hold the iPad well and it is protected when it falls because we all know this is inevitable. Finally, in order for your munchkin to hear…be sure to get a pair of headphones. I personally am paranoid of cords around my son and the dangers they present, so I used a pair of bluetooth enabled headphones from Jabra that I have had for some time. Now they are not made for children, but they work well. Unfortunately, the model I have is no longer available, but they have great options out there.
Then there is the old fashioned favorite book. You can never go wrong with this. Whatever your child’s favorite book may be, don’t forget it. I promise it won’t let you down. Currently, my son is in love with the book Red Truck by Kersten Hamilton.
Finally, you must have something to put all of these items in. Your little one will feel like an official traveler when you give them their own backpack to carry on the plane. Our household is obsessed with the Zoo Packs from Skip Hop. I bought a new one just so that he would have an official travel bag.
Be sure to pick up some prepackaged or bags to package your toddler’s favorite snacks. This will alleviate unhealthy snacks and junk food in the airport. I also made sure to pack a covered cup/juice bottle from home so that we didn’t have any disasters on the plane with the cups offered by the airline.
I recommend dressing your little one in layers so that you are prepared for the excessive coldness on the plane. My son wore a button up with a t shirt underneath since we were heeded to a warm climate. I even had a lightweight blanket just in case he fell asleep and needed a little more warmth. This really came in handy.
So there you have it….my list of must haves for the adventure we call traveling. My last tip is for Mommy Dearest. Invest in a good back pack for yourself. you will need your arms to be free to navigate the airport and plane with your little one. I used this opportunity to buy an awesome Vera Bradley laptop backpack in plum crazy. It was a necessity right???
Well I hope this has helped you prepare for your holiday travel!