I am just like all you parents out there, we were stressing out about a long haul flight with a toddler. After a wonderful memorable family adventure with Kendall this past month, we’ve gotten better on how to pack and handle different situations during the trip. So, I thought I’d share with you some of my tips for traveling abroad with a toddler.
1. Packing. I recommend to bring only the essentials and anything that you think you can’t buy at your destination. Pack into the large suitcase to check-it. I know we will wash our clothes on our trip, so we only packed a few days worth of clothes. However, I packed extra diapers and clothes for my toddler. The toddler clothes are small so they do not take up much of the space. We had two carry-on bags. One carry-on had 15 hours worth of diapers and wipies that I put in the overhead. The other carry-on is my diaper bag that I kept underneath the seat. It has a few diapers, clothes and toys in it and Zip-loc bags for soiled clothes. I brought a box of Zip-loc bags with me as it is my best friend. It can truly seal the soiled clothes. Don’t forget to bring backup outfits for both you and your husband for unexpected delays and accidents from your toddler.
- Health Kit: We brought children’s Tylenol and children’s Benadryl (please be sure to consult your child’s doctor for dosage guidelines), and noseFrida the mucus sucker.
- Toy: I packed a few new mini books, her favorite, and new small toys, puppets, teether, window clings and stickers to play and explore. She also watched the in-flight TV, movies, kids app and old videos on our phones. We broke all the rules! I also kept the plastic cups on the flight for her to play with. The cup made a great toy for her.
- Food: If you are nursing your baby then it is easier and best for your baby. My toddler is eating solid food so we brought rice puffs, cheerios and ordered kid’s meal when we booked our tickets. You can also request for in-flight snacks like fresh fruit, dried fruits and crackers. We were impressed by the kid’s meal on Cathy Pacific as the meals were healthy with a lot of steamed vegetable, baked meat and they were tasty too. Of course, we may have had more than a few bites of her meal it was tasty!
2. Plane Ride. We purchased a seat and a Safety 1St Guide 65 car seat for my toddler on the long haul flight. We felt it is the safest way to travel for my toddler. The car seat is light and it is easy to install on the plane and the luggage cart. Plan ahead of time with your partner or family member on different tasks before and after the plane ride. For example, have your partner to disassemble the luggage cart from the car seat, place it in the overhead, install the car seat into the row and in the meanwhile you keep your toddler entertain. Things can get chaotic before take off and land but you’ll be fine because you are working with your partner as a team. The pacifier with a clip-on or a bottle to suck on will help to relieve the ear pressure during take off and landing.
3. Car and City Rides. We didn’t bring the stroller as we borrowed one from my sister. We used the Ergo baby carrier everywhere in the cab, subway and in the airport. We loved having it with us so just in case we need to put her to nap. She naps so well in the carrier. Daddy got very fit! 4. Jetlag. Jetlag is a very common problem when travelling especially for long haul flights, flights over 10 hours. We recommend this strategy…always try to stay on the same schedule that you keep at home when you arrive at your destination. Try to avoid taking any naps the first couple of days as that will mess up your inner clock so it may be tricky but try to go to sleep at your normal time of the day. This also applies when you come back home as well which can be even more difficult to adjust especially when you are traveling east instead of west. For some reason jet lag is easier when traveling west than when traveling east. Must have something to do with traveling with or against the setting and rising sun. My husband is an admitted expert in this department…hmmmm.
5. Others: We love our BabyBjorn Travel Crib light but we decided to use the hotel crib and it worked out great for us. The kids headphone would be great to have if your toddler is interested in in-flight entertainment.
Don’t over think. Relax. Don’t dread too much about the trip as this can be picked up by toddler. Just be flexible for any unexpected events because they will happen. Again, you’ll be fine because you have thought of everything and have a wonderful adventure with your family!For more travel read: Travel to Hong Kong and Traveling with Babies.