Travelling with your toddler.
I could just leave that sentence right there on its own and watch every mom ever roll her eyes so far back into her head she catches a glimpse of her brain.
It’s no easy feat that’s for sure … but it is (mostly) worth it, so I have jotted down some of my own tips that may (or may not) assist you in the “journey”.
It’s really just about GETTING there without totally sweating through your clothes, getting escorted off the flight with a wild animal dangling off your arm, or being indefinitely flagged at the border.
As many of you mamas already know, entertaining little humans is a skill that requires a lot of patience and all kinds of prep. I keep ongoing lists a week before departure to make sure everything is covered – because if we board a plane and there’s no fucking lovey, I’m screwed.
I hope my notes save you from any cranky (and often louder than you wish) episodes – although nothing is a guarantee here.
(Look at those taunting toddler eyes…)
So cheers girl! To having yourself a successful departure and arrival without having to resort to tears or miniature bottles of red. If you were an avid traveller before, you should still be one now! Everyone will make it – promise.
TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL TODDLER TRAVEL:
- Two words: Global Entry. If you’re O.K. getting your eyes scanned (whatever, they know all about you from the internet anyways) go ahead and apply for Nexus. This VIP access will save you hours in lines and ensure your sanity doesn’t get left behind at security.
- Try to book around the baby’s schedule – seriously. Get that nap time in there and shave off an hour or two of your total flight time. Factor in delays and stay away from late flights, cause you know an overtired toddler give zero fucks about uncontrollable circumstances and will make it KNOWN.
- I usually aim for shorter flights at this age mostly for my own sanity (2-5 hours is our happy place) – having said that, I know many ambitious mamas who have crossed the globe and I assure you they are still alive. (Also please send me your secrets ’cause I wanna go to Greece). We also like to book an extra seat if points can cover it, because it’s hard to drink wine and watch foreign films when you’re a human bed.
- Don’t over pack toys. Just bring the go-tos and a few different activity options. Let’s be real, a jacked up iPad with every episode of *insert kid show du jour* will likely be the winner anyways. But you may be surprised what they actually get busy with – in our case, it was the emergency-landing pamphlet.
- There’s also something called the iPad pillow – look it up.
- Wear breathable, comfy clothes for easy toddler abuse. They can (and will) treat your body like a rock climbing wall and your high-waisted raw denim and boot of the season will not help your cause. Boy fit denim or black sweats, a loose sweater or top and a pair of classic sneakers and you’re good to go. Pair with black-AF shades to avoid most human interaction.
- Get to the airport with plenty of time to spare so it seems more like a playful and fun adventure and less like Speed (the bad movie with Keanu Reeves that you all saw in 1994). Rushed situations almost get slammed by Murphy’s Law, so you’ll probably be “randomly selected” for a check right when your kid starts shitting his pants and you feel your period start.
- Bring an umbrella stroller. It’ll keep the psycho contained at check-in so you don’t appear to be the frazzled mother you really are. And get it in black.
- Pee before you board, cause there’s a very good chance you ain’t moving for a while and a 26 lb, sweaty child is the last thing you need on top of a full bladder. And you know you’re holding it in and not waking the beast.
- Baby wipes need to be within reach at all times, and always pack an extra outfit, because if your kid shits up the back, you don’t wanna be THAT GUY hand washing poo in a tiny bathroom.
- Other Diaper Bag Essentials include: Hylands Teething Pills, Polysporin, Hyland’s Cold / Cough Syrup, Coryzalia and Camilia, Mickey Bandaids, Qtips, Baby Advil, Hylands Allergy, a Thermometer, and a little relief for mama (Seriously, this Saje Peppermint Halo Headache Remedy is a miracle worker and smells like a high end spa.) PS: I love the LeSportsac Ryan Diaper Bag – crazy durable, lightweight & comes in Black.
- If you do travel during nap time, make sure you bring some familiar crib things so baby can connect the dots. Hand over the lovey they cannot live without, along with a soother and watch your spawn squirm into oblivion.
- Don’t expect your kid to eat his usual meals and just pack a shit ton of snacks for grazing. Now’s not the time for his “favourite” roasted garlic pasta as it’ll likely end up rolling to the end of the aisle. Now is the time for Goldfish in all their glory.
- In the case of a mild meltdown, stay calm and distract. I always find playing into it and loud shooshing (or body slamming them) makes it worse. Energy is everything here – keep your shit together.
- And do not stress about other passengers; they have ear buds and a long list of newly released movies to choose from . They too were the asshole kid on the plane once – remind them of that with your eyes. If it gets really ugly, buy those around you a drink. And get two for yourself.
- Oh yeah, some things to do for you! Even though the likelihood of reading is next to nil, have some of your own stuff within reach is key to feel human. Face mist, a lipstick you can blot on your lips and cheeks upon landing, a travel perfume, and some secret snacks. Bonus tip: start wearing a watch again because fiddling with your phone might end with a baby face phone smash that no-one is prepared for.
And on that not – you gotta take a chance and if you really want to go somewhere with your lil’ one, you should! Travel is priceless and even if they are too young to soak all of it up, I know there are those of you out there who need it to feel alive. By including them in your worldly adventures, there’s a good chance you’ll raise some cultured and well travelled human beings.
And those folks on the plane that you’re still worried about? Fuck ‘em. You’ll never see them again anyway.
Happy Travels! xx
Photos by Aleksandra Jassem
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