Toddler Travel

We did it. Well I did it. Or is it Eli did it? Whatever. Eli AND I traveled across country by ourselves. Literally from one coast to another, with a stop each time. Making for an exhausted momma, a cranky baby/toddler and a whole lot of stuff in tow. But it was ALL worth it. Would I do it again, you ask? Yep. Once a month if I could! But I may be crazy. Here's my list of travel tips and tricks:

1. Be prepared for meltdowns: Your traveling with a babe people. Traveling as an adult is exhausting enough, but being a child and not knowing where you are, what is going on and your routine completely thrown off! You wonder how people ever give you weird looks, put yourself in the kids shoes. Perspective is a wonderful thing. But yes, be prepared for tears. They are GOING to happen, whether a lot or just a little, it's inevitable. So tell yourself, 'it's okay' and take a breath to keep going.

2. Buy your child a plane ticket: Yes it is expensive. Yes kids two and under are free. No this is NOT safe practice. In fact, many kiddos have been thrown out of their mothers arms during take off, landing and even random turbulence. Babies have been hurt (news articles here & here & here). Want to know why the FAA doesn't require you to buy your babe a ticket? Money. They know families wouldn't travel as much if they paid for all their kids. Money rules all (duh). But in all honesty, buying Eli a ticket was probably the smartest thing we did. He sat in his car seat and was MUCH happier. He was familiar with his seat and that was comforting. Cross country with a toddler is HARD. Cross country with a toddler by yourself is even HARDER. I was able to set him down and he slept in his seat. I even snoozed a little myself.
Plus checking your car seat makes it have 'unknown' history, which means a) it's not guaranteed to save your child's life in the event of an accident and b) you don't know how it's been handled. I've seen oxygen machines destroyed by the luggage people. Don't risk your child's life folks.

3. Snacks: You can't bring water in containers through security but you CAN bring snacks. I purchased a whole bunch of the pureed food pouches (which are less messy and MUCH easier then a spoon and jar) which literally saved us multiple times. I also had some fruit and crackers. He was happier and so was I. A lot of airlines don't provide much more then water and pretzels these days, so our bellies were happier and I was also at ease that Eli wasn't eating a whole bunch of crap on our trip.

4. GoGo Babyz: This little gadget made my life SO much easier transporting his car seat during layovers and to/from the plane. I was able to purchase ours off of craigslist, so keep an eye on there before your trip.

Purchase Here
5. Baby Carrier: I could have strapped Eli in his car seat throughout the air port but he was much happier being in my arms. While holding him (by myself) isn't realistic I used our ergo to carry him and have my hands free for our other stuff. You can go through security with baby strapped to you, so no worries there. We have the ergo brand, but there are many others similar as well. He was able to sleep on me throughout the airport and I had my hands free to eat when I needed to.
He's happy, I swear.  Purchase Here. 
6. Simplify: I had a car seat (attached to wheels), diaper bag and Eli inside the ergo. That's it. Everything I needed was in the diaper bag. I didn't bring an extra bag for myself. Inside our diaper bag for travel we had:
-Diapers: 5-6 total (always plan for extra)
-Extra change of clothes for Eli
-iPad/iPhone: loaded with games, books for me and shows for him (Daniel Tiger and Baby Signing Time)
-Charger: duh.
-My lightweight jacket (Eli wore a thick fleece. As you can see in photo above)
-Three toys he hadn't seen in a while

7. Patience: Overall, traveling is exhausting. No matter how much to simplify it, it's not easy. Throw in a kid and being by yourself...whewwwww mama needs a drink! Be prepared for anything and hope for the best. I did quite a bit of praying and talking to myself (people may have viewed me as crazy). Sympathize with other parents and between flights let your little one run around the air port to burn off energy.

Overall, I learned I have a lot more patience then I though. Eli really did better then expected and I've got the travel bug again! Good thing we are leaving again.

1 comment:

  1. On our last trip, we watched our bags leave the plane since we arrived early and no one was there to bring in the sky walk. We saw a car seat pretty much get thrown onto the conveyor belt out of the plane then kinda thrown onto the stack of luggage. If a car seat is supposed to be replaced after an accident as simple as a fender bender, I'm sure there is enough force for a checked in car seat to be rendered unusable.


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