It’s hot. You’re confined to an uncomfortable seat. You’re bored. Maybe hungry. You want to get up and do something, but you can’t. For an undetermined amount of time. You’re tired. And you’re 2…
If we think travel is tough on us, what must it be like for a little person who doesn’t understand one bit of it and, by the way, didn’t really give her/his stamp of approval to this itinerary.
We know travel is worth it. We get to see friends and family, and experience new places, smells, sites and tastes. So, we continue to do it. With every new stage of development we try our best to make the journey fun or at least manageable for everyone involved. Traveling with a 2 year old (or nearly 2 as the case may be) is much different than traveling with a 1 year old and we want to be armed with a “discovery bag” full of options to keep things running along smoothly. So, here it is, my top 5 travel tips for Travel at 2…
2. Bring some portable activities. These packable sticker books are fantastic, reusable and a steal: http://www.amazon.com/Little-Airport-Sticker-Activity-Dover/dp/0486412725/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1344974156&sr=1-3&keywords=dover+activity+book Add a small sketch pad and a baggie filled with crayons for more fun.
3. Bring snuggly items for that nap you’re hoping for. Favorite blankets and this type of compressible packing pillow helped seal the deal for us: http://www.rei.com/product/794982/rei-backpacker-pillow
4. Bring a brand new toy. I Spy Bags are fun for travel and they are lightweight: http://www.etsy.com/listing/106042408/i-spy-bag-mini-with-sewn-word-list-and
5. Lastly, when all else fails…Ipad. We aren’t video/tv fans for our toddler but when it comes to travel, we bend the rules. Here are great headphones for little ears: http://www.amazon.com/Kidz-Gear-Wired-Headphones-Kids/dp/B0007NWL70 (I recommend practicing with them to get your child used to wearing these prior to travel). I searched high and low for a video I felt was sweet, slow-moving and accessible and the winner for us was “Kipper the Dog”! It comes as a series of 8 minute stories, so there are multiple places to stop the show and transition into something else. If you are looking for Ipad games, we have found the Apps by Duck Duck Moose to be pretty straight forward, educational and least annoying 🙂 : http://www.duckduckmoosedesign.com/educational-iphone-itouch-apps-for-kids/fish-school/ And, of course, there are so many books to download as well, your entire library is now portable!
Traveling with a little one can add a whole other level of stress but with some careful planning you can make things a bit easier on yourself and those around you! Here are some things that have helped me on my many travels!
have as much other gear waiting on the other side as possible. borrow a car seat/stroller (from a dependable source, of course).
if you use diapers.com (if you haven’t, try them out, they’re awesome!), place an order and have it shipped to your destination for diapers/wipes/food, even bibs and extra pacifiers and soap, etc. or have your family/friends get all that for you in advance.
if you’re planning on checking luggage, share one big bag (max size they’ll allow) with all your travel companions so you don’t have a bunch of roller suitcases to deal with and you don’t rack up a bunch of baggage fees.
bring extra pacifiers in case they drop on floor and also hand/face wipes and pacifier wipes. also, have those pacifier clips handy! do not rinse anything using the bathroom water on the plane, it may not be potable or sanitary. use bottled water instead.
bring some organic hand sanitizer and wipe down arm rests and tray.
nurse, bottle or pacifier at take off/landing to help with ear pain resulting from pressure changes.
bring any carrier that you wear him/her in, in case you need to walk/bounce the aisle with her/him.
bring a hat or scarf that you could cover her/his eyes with to block light and help him/her sleep and I love a hooded towel, also, to use as a blanket for the naps because it provides a bit of cushioning for under that little noggin.
dress the babe in layers. sometimes it’s freezing, sometimes it’s boiling. and the comfier, the better, even pj’s.
snacks and toys, snacks and toys, snacks and new toys. and books. and obviously, blankies/lovies. toys that don’t have lots of small parts that can easily fall on floor are obviously best. even better if it’s something brand new that s/he’s never seen before 🙂
consider night flights when s/he’s more likely to sleep
I don’t like to use a lot of wasteful packaging, but in this case, gallon size ziptop bags can keep that diaper bag organized!
I love “little noses” saline drops to help with dry air and I’ve heard saline can also clear out viruses that try to cultivate in throat/nose.
an inflatable pillow might be helpful to cushion between your arm and the armrests after 5 hours of holding him!
if you’re breastfeeding…after about 4 mos, my baby got really particular about how and when he nursed in public, so I bought a manual pump to bring on board and pumped under my nursing cover to bottle feed him.
if you bring on breast milk or formula (which you are legally able to do, even beyond 3 ounces, just make bottles visible), they will make you put it through x-ray and then they’ll also test it again afterwards manually.
I don’t love e-games, but in a pinch on a long flight, this app is not too flashy and has some learning involved, too: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fish-school-hd-by-duck-duck/id367567922?mt=8. I’ve also heard great things about this video: http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/movie/pid/5944683/a/That’s+How+We+Build+A+House.htm for being slow-moving and fascinating.
I have found that other travelers are generally pretty nice, so if s/he gets fussy, don’t freak out. and the white noise of the plane may just help with sleep!