Packing is so overwhelming when you are traveling with a toddler. I feel like I need to pack my whole house and I still end up forgetting things. We always check our bags because it is really difficult to get through the airport and catch a connection with a toddler, all of her things and our bags. It just isn't very realistic. Plus it is one less thing to keep track of and that is extremely helpful. The less the better.
My number one thing to bring is the Ergo. I seriously don't leave home without the Ergo. It has saved me so many times! When you are traveling and not on a schedule it means naps on the go and having her in the Ergo to nap is wonderful. I also love the Ergo to get us through the airport in a timely manner. You know toddlers like to take their time, look at everything, wave and say hi to everyone. While it is super cute, it is not time conducive to making a connection in 30 mins.
Last time we went to Colorado I traveled with Kinley alone. I went to the dollar store and found a TON of things for her. I wanted her to have some new toys that would be new and interesting to her when we were on the plane. I did not have a seat for her since we decided to go at last minute. This time we have purchased a seat. Luckily there were a few empty seats on the plane and she was able to sit in the seat and do her own thing. Having her own bag was helpful and I think it made her feel special because it was hers. One of her favorite new toys I brought this last time was this easy DIY craft I made. I took an old spice jar (after cleaning and sanitizing it) then took pipe cleaners and cut them to fit in the jar. She loved putting the pipe cleaners in the jar, having to get them in the holes. We made up several different games while putting them in, counting them and naming the colors. I think that took up an hour.
Lots and lots of snacks!!! You never know how long you are going to be stuck on the runway or if you are going to have time to grab food or drinks in between connections. I learned this past time you can bring liquids through security if they are for the kiddos. I had always brought breast milk because the last times I was pumping but this time I brought her cups full of milk and water. They tested it, but gave me no hassle. It was honestly a breeze. I can only hope it is that easy this next time. I can't even begin to tell you how many snacks I brought. I had a whole bag full of snacks, plus Kinley likes to eat so I needed to be prepared. I also brought some dum dums, though I never gave her any because she was so good and content with the healthier options I brought.
Previous trips I would nurse her on the way up and down to help with the pressure in her ears. But we are done nursing now so we use a binki when flying. It was challenging nursing in such tight quarters so I definitely don't miss that. She still gets a bink at night time and in the car so when we are traveling I let her have it in the plane. I would rather her suck on a binki than her ears hurt from the pressure. I have dealt with that and it is awful! I don't want her to go through that. So with that being said I make sure I have a baggie full of binkis because we all know they are the first to fall on the floor.
She did so awesome when her and I flew last time so I am not making many changes when we fly later this week. We are bringing her car seat since we purchased a seat for her. We also bought a smaller backpack so she could carry it herself through the airport if there is time for her to walk. She is so proud to do things on her own so we encourage her to be independent.
If anyone has any other tips for traveling with a toddler I would love to hear. Share your experience in the comments!
1: Bring a carrier. I can't stress this enough! Especially if you are traveling alone. It is so much easier to wear them and not have to worry about a stroller.
2. Pick a window seat. Who doesn't like to look out the window Also I bought cheap window clings that kept her busy for a good hour! She loved them.
3. Purchase a seat if it is in your budget. #1 reason it is safer! And secondly it is nice for them to have their own space and be able to sleep in their car seat if they fall asleep. I recently learned that if you have a car seat that won't fit (if you want it rear facing and it won't fit) you can request to be moved to a seat it will fit in.
4. SNACKS! This might be the most important one! Toddlers love food. And if you have options they won't get bored. You can also bring any liquids for them through security. We brought her milk and water and had no issues.
5. Toys, books and crayons! I also bought a $1 pack of Minnie stickers and she loved them. I like to have one new toy so it keeps her occupied longer than something she has been playing with for months at home. The dollar store has great options for this. I got a few things that she loved. Educational too.
6. Kinley still uses a binki when she sleeps. I let her have it when we fly to help with her ears and to save everyone else's ears. I also bring her Wooly lamb she loves.
7. Bring a change of clothes for you and the kiddo. On our last flight Kinley threw up all over me and we still had a flight to go. Thankfully I had a sweatshirt I could change into. If not it would've been awful.