We recently went on a vacation with our 18 months old toddler Emma. It was the first family vacation with Emma on board. The overall experience turned out pretty good. We discovered some DOs and DONTs when traveling with a toddler.
(I will list the items used on a seperate page with pictures. Look for the Travel Items tag on the menu bar above.)
- DO bring a safety blanket – Emma has this blanket that she really likes. We bought two of the exact same blankets, just in case. Pack one in the luggage and one in the carry-on bag. She’s used to sleep with this blanket on, so we gave her the blanket after the plane takes off and she fell asleep rightaway.
- DO use a small baby backpack and pack a travel size diaper cream, travel pack wipes and one diaper per every 3 hours of travel time. The toddler can carry her own backpack. (see pics on Travel Items page) You DON’T need your regular sized diaper bag. In fact, I did not need the regular sized diaper bag during the entire vacation.
- Make sure your child is well entertained. We had a 3 hour flight and occupied Emma with 1 hour nap as soon as the plane takes off, plenty of snacks after she wakes up, and an iPad filled with her favorite cartoons. Worked perfectly.
- DO prepare some of your child’s favorite drinks (juice, Pedialight, lemon water) during the flight. The most uncomfortable time is during descending. You can give them something to drink to ease the ear pain. You can try some ear plugs, but juice and soda worked fine for us.
- DO bring your daily wipes, cream, diapers and swim diapers. Pack these items along with the rest of your stuff and check the luggage. DON’T carry these on the plane due to security requirements nowadays.
- DO pack a standard crib padding for extra comfort, but it’s fine if you don’t have one. I don’t see the necesity of packing a crib-sheet since most hotel that provides cribs already have crib sheets.
- DO maintain your child’s regular sleep routine. Pack PJs.
- DO pack your sunblock lotion, preferably SPF 30+
- DO pack some baby proofing items – 4 or 5 plug covers should be good enough for a 5 day trip. They do not take up your luggage space.
- DO arrive at the airport 3 hours prior to your flight schedule.
- DO bring a infant carrier (if your child is under 12 months old), DON’T bring a car seat (if your child is over 12 months old)- Infant can’t move around or sit on their own needs the infant carrier that’s also an infant carseat. Emma is a toddler and she can sit, walk, and run around. Toddler car seats does give extra protection for your child but you don’t need it for the plane ride.
- Have dinner early – After the day full of activities, feed your child earlier than your normal schedule because they are tired. Our normal dinner time at home is around 7:30pm and Emma goes to bed at 9pm. But 7:30pm is too late for Emma when we were on vacation. She gets cranky around 5 or 6pm, so feed her early and put her to bed earlier to prevent tantrums.
Have a great vacation!