Let’s be honest, travel itself can be stressful if not properly prepared, and traveling with your toddlers rarely makes it easy. The “no vacation” idea when bringing your toddlers to see the world always haunts us, parents, down.
But hey! Visiting new places, especially international ones, can give huge benefits to your toddlers and be the most rewarding experience families do together. Here are some easy tips to make your travel abroad with toddlers feel less stressed, less anxious, more fun, and create better memories!
Yes, we’ve seen lots of videos and news about how babies and even toddlers are no fun to bring on your flying vacation, but if you prepare in advance it can be as smooth a ride as possible. Babies and toddlers aren’t able to adjust to the change in air pressure on planes as most adults, which is why most babies cry on the flight. Giving a baby a bottle or a toddler a sippy cup during takeoff and landing can help naturally open their ears to the change of pressure. And while most airlines are free to fly any one under the age of two, there are many international airlines that provide discounted airfare for children between the ages of 2 and 11 (check our Instagram post on this hack). We also recommend pre-planning or purchasing your seat together. It will guarantee sitting together and avoid one fewer headache.
Stay at the place closer to action
If visiting smaller cities domestically with your own car or rental car, you can choose the Airbnb option just outside the city if you want to travel like a local, make an outing of it, and save a ton of money. But when traveling in a big city like London, Bangkok, Mexico City, and other international cities, it’s definitely worth it to stay closer to the places you and your toddlers want to explore. Doing so will give you more quality time at your destination, flexibility to return to your home base, and fewer travel taxis or buses with your toddlers.
Rule-bending parents principles
At home, we fairly have strict limits on screen time, sugar, processed foods, and purchases for our infants/toddlers. But we need to learn a bit of rule-bending so traveling with toddlers is more enjoyable. We can bend the rule with no long-term consequences, as long as we resume business as usual after the trip is over. Try to travel with no tight rules for your toddlers like what we have at home so it can be the time to loosen our rules and give them a “special day”. This gives them a chance to explore new things in a new place!
Over Planning ahead
This is one of the most important things when traveling with our toddlers. Over planning ahead starts with not only packing plenty of diapers, baby wipes, extra clothes, travel toys, and gadgets, and hotel reservations, but also route planning, paperwork like passports, immigration forms, rental car agreements, and other travel documents, visas, and attraction destinations with your toddlers. Is also important to think about the food they will eat, or preserving baby milk. Even though you have planned all of these necessities, now you may want to have the flexibility to have fun in many attractions, and try new foods and things that your family will love!
Set a realistic travel agenda
It’s natural when we’re traveling, especially to dream destinations you have never visited and you want to squeeze every last drop of experience, right? But when traveling with toddlers and young kids, you might want to adjust your expectations … and your pace a bit. Toss out the daily sightseeing schedule, slow things down, and make peace with not seeing everything or even a fraction of everything. This will make you consider your mobility, interest level and patience, sleep, eating schedules, adrenaline, crashes, sudden mood swings, and a variety of activities. This can be your chance to take a buffer day from your itinerary to rest and spend the day in your room playing with them and have full quality time with your family!
Respect your kid’s needs (& desires)
We understand that you’re the parents, the ones paying for the trips, and you’re the boss, right? Well, yes and no. We, parents, like to think we’re the boss, but it’s rarely the case when traveling with toddlers. Knowing this, it’s important to take into consideration and prioritize the needs of all family members. You can do this by giving your kids choices, respect to the almighty nap, mealtime, and bringing a favorite toy or blankie, or other choices that give your little ones a sense of vacation decision-making in a small way, and also brings a slice of home.
When traveling with toddlers, you may need to direct their attention to something else interesting on the spot! Another thing you want to consider is getting trusted travel insurance when traveling with your toddlers.
Parents, remember to try to take time to step back and appreciate the now. So often, we put so much time and effort into planning a trip that we forget to take the time to enjoy all that effort. Once on your way, stop planning. Take time to take it all in. Enjoy the experience, not for what it could have been or what it isn’t, but for what it is.
So take that trip. Life is short. This time is fleeting. Ready to plan a memorable trip of a lifetime for your little ones, but can’t seem to find the time? Luxotic Travel Planning will work with your budget to plan a great experience.