Travelling with a toddler can be a tricky and daunting task. Sometimes just packing and planning the logistics of a trip to the in laws leaves me sweating and writing long lists the night before so we don’t forget Florence’s favourite cuddly toy. But travelling further a field, whether it is by car, boat or plane, and taking your first steps away from your comfort zone can be a testing time for all involved.
I remember feeling really overwhelmed when Rob and I took Florence away for the first time a few months ago, even though it was just a little beach holiday a few hours drive away. You secretly wish you could just be teleported there without having to endure the rigmarole of packing up the car, keeping a baby entertained as you go and worrying about nappy-changing-pitstops and any tears or tantrums that may occur en route. I am pleased to report however that our latest trip was pretty successful and bar an unavoidable traffic jam and lots of crumbs in the car seat, it gave us confidence to tackle some new adventures together very soon. So I thought I would share with you some of my travel hacks/tips I followed prior and during our trip to make the journey as seamless as possible.
1. In the lead up to your travels, start writing lists! I love a good list and I found this invaluable so we didn’t forget anything! I use to run through our routine during the day and the lead up to bed and make a note of anything that we needed to bring for Florence – such as her Sleepyhead, night light, cutlery, certain books she likes to read, bath toys…
2. Plan your journey. It sounds obvious but if you are travelling by car and have the luxury of leaving at any time then pick a time when your baby or toddler might need a nap. If they like sleeping in the car then you hopefully will be able to get a good few miles under your belt whilst they snooze. Also check your route before you leave to avoid getting caught up in any nightmarish traffic jams.
3. Stroller or sling? Thinking about your travels around once you have reached your destination is paramount with a little one and the big question is sling or stroller? If you still have a little baby I would definitely say sling but if you are travelling with a toddler who will be running around one minute and then catching a ride the next, then a lightweight stroller is the answer. The Baby Jogger City Tour was our transport of choice and it is fantastic. So light, compact and easy to put up and down in seconds. Best of all, it folds up into its own little rucksack that is cabin hold size – so perfect if you are travelling by plane.
4. Snacks. Snacks are always the answer when met with a impatient or slightly disgruntled baby, yes? Make sure you pack up a car bag that is with you in the car rather than the boot so all relevant distractions are at easy-reaching. Pick snacks that are easy to feed/let your baby feed themselves but also wont make too much mess (or is that just me who fears crumbs in the car seat??) Rice crackers, popcorn and dried fruit are always a good option.
5. Sit in the back with your baby. If there is more than one of us travelling with our little one, then I like to sit in the back with Florence to keep her company and entertained. I find she is much more amenable on long journeys if she has one of us in the back with her to play with/pass her food/sing ‘Head, shoulders, knees and toes’ with for the umpteenth time .
6. If your child is at the age where they can easily be entertained with games then pop some new bits in your car bag to keep them distracted. I find colouring is a good option – just pack a big notepad and a few pencils to scribble with. Also bring along a child-friendly CD and get everyone involved with singing a rendition of ‘The Wheels on the Bus’…
7. If all else fails, ensure you have plenty of battery life on your phone for some episodes of Peppa Pig!
If you are a seasoned traveller with a little one then please do pop any tips or advice down in the comments, I would love to hear from you!