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Traveling with a Toddler

Traveling a far distance with a toddler can be a daunting experience. After having taken my one year-old on several cross-country flights and a week-long road trip, I felt it would be nice to share some of our successes and failures in case there are any parents out there who are gearing up to bravely take their little ones on their first big trip.

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As far as places to stay go, I can’t stress enough how much more convenient it is to find a hotel that either offers suites with a kitchenette, which is ideal, or a room that has a refrigerator. Your toddler is going to need somewhere for their milk and other perishable snacks and food. This is beyond difficult to deal with when you are limited to ice machines and coolers. Having experienced both options, I would gladly pay a few extra dollars for the luxury of the refrigerator amenity.

When it comes to flying, there are some things to consider. We have successfully maneuvered our baby boy through long flights and flights with layovers. There are benefits to both depending on what kind of kid you have. A flight with layover gives you the opportunity to stretch your legs and take a break from the plane atmosphere. A direct flight makes for a much shorter day of travel. While a layover can be a nice break, it can also make for a super long day because switching planes takes an hour at least.

No matter what kind of flight you choose, you will have to deal with cabin pressure during take off and landing. We use a couple tricks that have helped along the way. We give our baby a dose of infant pain reliever before we board the plane. We have a beverage ready to go during our taxi because drinking can help relieve the build up of pressure. Obviously, breastfeeding moms would do that instead. By doing these things we have been able to avoid being those parents holding the screaming child.

Flying may not be an option for you, but the good news is, it isn’t impossible to take your toddler on long drives either. Our baby has logged thousands of miles in his car seat and except for the occasional vomit or diaper explosion, he has done really well. Entertainment is a huge factor in this planning aspect. Interactive toys have served our needs where distance has been a concern. We load up our backseat with several cause and effect toys, the kind that make music and light up seem to keep his interest the longest. We also come prepared with snacks and drinks so that any hunger-induced fussing can easily be curbed. As your baby gets older, high tech gadgets can take the place of toys, but they aren’t necessary.

No matter what sort of traveling you have ahead of you, it is important to be ready for any situation that arises. Always have a spare set of clothes that are easily accessible. Double check that you have enough food and drink to last you to your destination, you may not be able to predict how available food will be when your little one gets hungry. Always error on the side of too much when it comes to preparation. For example, if you think you will need five diapers, pack eight to ten.

These are only a few suggestions that have aided my husband and I in having happy family vacations and fun travel. If you have things you have found helpful, feel free to share them with us!

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