Do's and Don'ts of traveling with a toddler

Traveling with a toddler is easy. Ok, clearly, that’s a lie. It’s not easy.  It can be overwhelming but it is not as bad as you think.

In the last 24 months, my husband and I have taken Theo on almost 30 flights and 5 international flights. This equates to two international trips a year and occasional domestic flights and road trips in between. We take him everywhere we go despite the hassle because he’s worth it.

Here are some tips that we have gathered in our time at the airport! I hope this helps you the next time you bring the little one along on your trips! 

Do’s and Don’t of traveling with a infant or toddler:

1. Do ask for a FREE seat at the gate for the child on ANY flight. Children under 2 years old travel for free- yes, FREE. Whether traveling domestically or internationally, most gate attendants will give you a free seat if the flight is not overbooked. We’ve gotten free seats on most of our international flights. I would say we’ve gotten a free seat on maybe 60-70% of our domestic flights. It is really dependent on the destination, season and time of travel.

2. Do pack snacks for long flights. I always try to bring hard boiled eggs, veggies, nuts, cheese, fruits and even sandwiches (if time permits). I make one of those DYI Starbucks’s protein snack kits. These snacks are a lifesaver! It’s much healthier and save💰.

3. Do pack a baby carrier. This is a must through airport security and navigating through the terminals. It saves time and it’s lightweight! Baby carriers are much more convenient than dragging around a heavy duty stroller.

4. Do bring your own car seat. Strap the car seat on the plane if and when your child is non-mobile and willing to sleep and sit in a car seat for a long duration! However, once they are mobile, check the car seat at the gate. The extra seat allows for more space for his nap time.

5. Do book an overnight flight (or closest to baby’s sleep schedule). Generally, we try to book flights around 3-5pm. Theo’s bedtime is 8pm. This allows plenty of time to get situated on flights, have meals served and lights go out by 8pm. Theo just sleeps through the night.

6. Do pack breast milk or formula. Bring as much as you need as there is no limitation of liquids for children. I would recommend bringing only 3-4 servings of breast milk and just pump and feed as you go (for the breastfeeding mothers). Buy a compact lunch freezer bag and just add dry ice on the day of the trip to keep the milk nice and cold. Pack your breast pump for hotel use AND your hand held device in your purse as needed.

7. Don't pack stroller. You can always purchase an umbrella stroller at your destination. We only packed our stroller the first 1 year of Theo’s life. We realized we didn’t need it anymore on his last few flights as he can walk. Looking back, we really could have gotten away without a stroller and just use the baby carrier. 

8. Don’t bring a pack-n-play or crib. Most hotels offer a crib. You don’t wanna be carrying a pack-n-play AND a car seat AND a stroller AND your luggages. Traveling with your toddler shouldn’t be an Olympic sport.

9. Don’t pack a diaper bag! Who wants to carry more shit than they have to?? Bring one carry on bag (ie: backpack, purse) and pack 6-8 diapers, extra clothes, snacks and a few small, compact toys- hot wheels, puzzles, etc).

10. Don’t overpack! You don’t need to pack everything. Leave the toys at home! Pack enough diapers to last you a few days and just buy as you go. I promise they sell diapers, wipes and toys in every country. Book hotels with a laundromat close by or hotels that offer laundry service and do laundry frequently.

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