We are only one day away from heading off to Sesame Place (enter to win tickets here!) and I couldn’t be more excited!
My husband and I would love to be big travelers, but we’re just not. Our jobs and budget don’t allow it, so we try to take advantage of local attractions and focus on short trips whenever we can. We always loved the freedom that came with road trips when we were dating, but flying by the seat of our pants is a thing of the past. Traveling with a toddler is a whole different animal.
Pack early. This one goes without saying, so start packing bags as soon as possible, and toss items in as you think of them. When in doubt, bring it! The one thing you think you won’t need is undoubtedly the first thing you will need. Think your little stinker is past the “blowout” stage? Think again. My bag is already piling up with extra pants, a new toy for the hotel room, Tropical Sands SPF 50 sunscreen, spare flip-flops, kitchen sink, etc, etc…
Sleep is key. Going into a trip well-rested is important, but the key to making travel easier is to consider your child’s sleep patterns when you plan your drive. Plan to leave either early in the morning, late at night, or during naptime so your little one is likely to spend much of the drive asleep. Dressing them in jammies for the drive is also a great idea, along with bringing a pillow of favorite lovey. If they’re wrapped up in the feeling of sleep, they’re apt to drift off peacefully. The sleeping schedule of a child can be incompatible with that of an adult at times. This can make these trips especially difficult when there is more than one of them! To make dealing with them slightly more manageable, you may want to bring a nanny or an au pair along for the visit. A friend of mine recently used the services of a Cultural Care Au Pair, which she said really helped keep the trip as stress-free as possible. After all, there is no shame in asking for a little bit of extra help.
Bring the bag o’ fun! A dedicated bag (or Trunki!) full of goodies that are only available during travel time can spark a special interest. Small games or puzzles that require thought and concentration can help time pass more quickly, especially if they’re not toys your child sees every day. Even something simple like pipe cleaners can buy you a lot of peaceful travel time!
Plan for snack attacks. A snack can cure “car cabin fever” in mere moments, so stock up! Healthy snacks are hard to find on the road, so stock up on things like berries, apple slices with cheese, squeezable yogurt and bottles of water. Save non-perishables for later in the trip (single servings of hummus, trail mix, snack bars, etc.) Oh, and Revolution Foods Mash-ups. I never leave home without one.
Don’t underestimate the power of the iPhone. If you have mobile service, you have the world at your fingertips. Elmo? Nemo? A “little hot dog, hot dog, hot diggety dog”? They’re all right there. I was never a fan of letting my son near my phone for health and safety reasons, but as he got older I realized a few minutes now and then could really save the day. When all else fails, this is a surefire hit (and it works even better if it seems like a special treat. I’m withholding mine for a few days before our trip so it seems new again, just in case.)
Do you have some helpful “traveling with a toddler” tips? Share them below!