Travel Tips: Travelling with Toddlers and Infants
We just recently concluded a 3-day trip in Puerto Princesa, Palawan with our 4-month old baby when I got this message from a blog reader – “Missy, what are the tips you can share about travelling with toddlers and infants, especially during a plane ride?”
I am elated to learn that somehow, I am able to inspire others to travel. The fact that they reach out to me asking for advice about travelling with toddlers makes me feel “useful” as a travel blogger. Our FB chat lasted for almost an hour, and while I give details, tips and processes, I came to a realization – why not write an article detailing the do’s and don’ts of travelling with toddlers and infants so next time someone asks for advice, I can simply refer him/her to a link.
So here you go, I provided below the FAQs about travelling with toddlers and infants along with my answers, which are based from my very own experiences.
When did you decide to travel with your kid?
For me, travelling is next to breathing. It is my life, a blood that runs through my veins. When I was single, I promised myself that I will bring my family outdoors – we will travel together, climb together, discover together. So even before Skye’s conception, I have already wrote her name in the stars, sands, and air. I have already dreamed of her experiencing the essence of life through travelling.
Why are you travelling with your kid? Don’t you think travelling with toddlers is risky?
I travel with my daughter for her to better appreciate the world which, needless to say, is way bigger than our neighborhood. Travelling is the best way to teach children how to get along with diverse kinds of people. The travel experiences are opportunities for us, as parents, to teach our children the similarities and differences that are existent in the world they live in. When travelling with toddlers, we can teach them first-hand how to appreciate what they have, why there is no need to fear differences, how to celebrate life regardless of colors of people they encounter, and how important it is to understand the depth and beauty of nature. Travelling provides vast teaching opportunities for our children and there’s no substitute for it. We cannot provide better ways for Skye to fully understand and appreciate life but to travel.
Risky? Even sleeping can be deadly, eh?
How did you manage your first travel with your child?
PREPARATION AND PLANNING is on top of my list. I make sure I know about the place we are travelling to; the weather, the culture, the food, the availability of medical aid, bank, etc. in order to manage my expectations. This way, I would be able to bring and have necessary things handy should the need arise. It’s always better safe than sorry. Travelling with toddlers requires careful planning and a lot of time for preparation. Never go to the war field with only you guns and ammos, make sure to bring your food hydration.
After preparing and planning, I GET ORGANIZED. I make sure I have all the essentials stored in easy-to-access places (pockets, wallet, sling bag, etc.) so I do not have to squander so much time looking for things I (or my child) need/s.
Do you want your kid to be an avid traveler like you as well when she grows up?
Definitely! In fact, I wish when the time comes that she’s grown up and we’re already gray-haired, she will still be excited to tag us (me and my husband) along when she travels. That would be very exciting!
How do you manage to overcome the hassle that comes with travelling with infant?
One word – TOUCH
Having a constant skin-to-skin contact helps a lot in keeping our child secure and calm. I and my husband keep our baby near us all of the time. When she was below one year old, we carried a lot. Good thing that we were introduced to babywearing. We were able to travel smoothly from one place to another while keeping a skin-to-skin contact with our daughter.
Also, we talk to her before, during, and even after our trip as if she’s a consenting adult and not a helpless child. We talked to her even when she was just as wee as 4 months old (her first plane ride). Until now, we describe to her our experiences — our individual experiences of riding a plane or going through a road trip. With constant touching and talking, she becomes more independent and perceptive. She understands better why we do this or that. Always make your child a part of the activity and be clear that some things are expected of her even at an early age.
When Skye was 4 months, we went to Puerto Princesa, Palawan. That was her first plane ride. Before our trip, we told her that her ears might hurt during the plane ride and that is normal. All she needs to do is “dede” (breastfeed) so she will not feel the pain that much, and she did! She was so behaved the whole flight. Maybe she wasn’t able to understand yet what we were telling but we told her anyway.
No matter how young your child is, talk to her/him the way you talk to a full-grown person. Explain what to expect and assure him/her that no matter what, you will stay by his/her side. Believe me that simple practice can move mountain!
What are your techniques or life hacks you have learned/researched to make your life easier when traveling with your kid? Any specific tips you can give?
Keep them busy. Cuddle them. Talk to them.
I am a breastfeeding mother and that is a very great advantage. I can easily comfort my baby during flight or travel. Breastfeeding my baby during take-off or landing can help her equalize her eardrums since she cannot do it naturally. If you are not a breastfeeding mother, just give your baby something to suck during plane ride, lollipops for toddlers can do miracles!
Since I am a healthy “walking pacifier,” I do not worry about my baby feeling hungry or fussy. I can easily offer my bosom and presto! She calms up so quickly. One important tip: Never ever forget to bring “power bars” wherever you go.
Also, learn babywearing! Bring a cloth carrier or a sling when travelling. It does not take up much room in your luggage but it can be your life-saver! Babywearing can keep your baby “attached” to you and still free your hands to do some stuff.
Until when do you plan to travel with your kid/s?
As long as they want. As long as we can.
Don’t you think bringing your child will spoil your moment as husband and wife?
No. Not at all. Travelling with our child actually provides us more quality time with each other as it sets us in a good and comfortable mood to freely discuss our plans. We are not worrying of anything because our precious child is with us, sharing the moment.
I think when we travel with our daughter, we do one of the most important parenting activities. Traveling as a family is the best way to strengthen our relationship as husband and wife; parents and kid/s. It inevitably provides a host of many teachable moments. And since kids easily get tired when travelling (much more infant/s), the husband and wife can take advantage of the child/ren’s nap time to have their needed quality time. Besides, our children are only young for some time, when they grow older and plan to travel on their own, you will regret that you did not bring them (children) with you when you had your chance.
How does traveling with your child change your perception about traveling?
Travelling used to be so easy, smooth, and time-efficient. Now, I have a child strapped to my chest while roaming around a foreign land or conversing with a stranger, or eating alien food.
With our little one in tow, travel has become difficult, rough, time-consuming, and uncomfortable — but IT’S WAY HAPPIER than before!
My baby serves as a great ambassador who can easily act as a magnet for strangers. Starting a conversation with total strangers is way easier when you have a cute little munchkin clinging by your side! There is an unspoken universal rule that says “Help a woman with a child in any way you can.” So yeah, when I am with Skye, I can easily ask for help anywhere and everywhere. She’s a bubbly lucky charm!
Thank you for dropping by!
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