TODDLER TRAVEL HACKS
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Toddler Travel Demystified
Toddler travel is tough. Like, reaaaaally tough. Flying with a two year old has got to be one of the biggest challenges I’ve had parenting yet! Sleep schedule? Out the window! Eating anything? Forget it! Everything is new and exciting and new and exciting until EVERYTHING IS AWFUL and your toddler is having a meltdown no less than 5 minutes into the trip. I’ve been there.
One thing I have come to appreciate is a good toddler travel hack. The endless closing and unclosing of the seat tray on the airplane can really only buy you about 30 seconds of bliss before your little tot-monster realizes he is EXCRUCIATINGLY hungry and tired all at the same time.
Below is my list of the best tips and tricks I use traveling with a toddler:
The YumBox is one of my favourite toddler inventions of all time. It’s cute, practical, and highly appealing to easily distracted toddlers. This thing is great for storing travel food for toddlers on your vacation. My son has always been a picky eater, and this lunch box has really helped me to get him to try new foods (although we are still working on the colour green). The yumbox is also perfect for vacations and it’s currently on the “DO NOT FORGET OR LIFE WILL BE AWFUL” section of my packing list.
We make use of the YumBox throughout our trip. We fill it up with extra-appealing snacks for distractions on the plane or in line-ups. On a long flight with a toddler, unlimited snacks is key! If we are staying at a resort, we will fill the YumBox up at breakfast and keep it in our bag for snacking all day long. On trips where we have our own kitchen, we buy healthy snacks and divide them into the YumBox every morning. The YumBox has either 4 or 6 compartments allowing for a nice variety of snacks you know your toddler will eat, and some good stuff to sneak in as well. The container is leak proof and you can put liquids such as yogurt in the compartments. It is a must-have!
The yumbox is also great for the beach! Check on my beach packing post here.
This is another toddler travel invention I simply can’t live without. Wherever I go, servers are always impressed with these toddler approved straws and cup toppers. The silicone toppers will turn any cup into a straw cup or sippy cup without the bulk of actually bringing your sippy cup along. If your kids are anything like mine, they have to do it ALL BY THEMSELVES, and the siliskins allow kids to use adult cups without spilling a gallon of water in the process.
I bought this off of a Kickstarter campaign and it certainly falls under the category of “Why didn’t I come up with that?!” For long road trips, this toddler travel hack is a must. It keeps the head supported when kids fall asleep with no awful head slump. The top strap on the no-bob model prevents the strap from going up too high or too low. My son loves the “pandie strap” and often requests it to be put on when he’s ready for a long snooze. Win-Win!
On our last trip to Mexico we used a Baby Gear delivery service (Baja Baby) to deliver some items to our resort. This is one of the best toddler travel hacks I’ve found yet! We ordered a swing for our baby (swing = more than 20 mins of continuous sleep for newborns), and we ordered sand toys for our eldest son. They delivered us a huge Tupperware container full of amazing sand toys, diggers and dump trucks and my son was in heaven. Diggers and dump trucks = at LEAST 30 minutes of uninterrupted “me time” on the beach. The delivery process was so simple, the stuff was in our room when we arrived and it was picked up as we left. I will definitely use this service again next time I am in Mexico. Baby gear rental is available almost anywhere you travel, see https://travelmamas.com/shop/rent-baby-travel-gear/ for more ideas!
Of course family vacations are about bonding and spending quality time together as a family. But they also have to be a bit about relaxing, right?! Sometimes our vacations feel like non-stop GO GO GO and then I check my watch and it’s only 9:30 am. For us, some downtime is a must and my son certainly loves the iPad for a little R&R. Although this case can be a bit bulky if you are tight on space, its perfect for toddlers who tend not to be careful with their things. It also stands up on its own for viewing on tables or on the seat tray of an airplane. Our travel mantra goes something like “Wallet? Keys? Passports? iPad?”
If you are looking for some high-quality, education-focused iPad apps, check out my post HERE.
At the end of a long day on vacation, I love to catch some live music, eat some good food and decompress. Thankfully, we always bring our full-size double stroller (see below) and both our kids have had lots of practice sleeping in the stroller during the evening hours. These kids earphones allow us to enjoy adult time, and keep the kids sleeping. They are also great for attending loud events like concerts, sporting events, and fireworks.
If I can bring a full stroller on vacation I will always bring it. Umbrella strollers just don’t cut it as a travel stroller for toddlers IMO. Full-size strollers also serve multiple functions such as luggage carriers, beach stuff carriers, napping devices, and kid restraining devices. I usually bring my UppaBaby vista, as tandem strollers are typically easier in narrow spaces, and it folds up nicely for the plane. I personally skip the stroller bag (too bulky!) and I have never had a problem with damage to my stroller on an airplane.
8. A noise machine and a video baby monitor.
We have this noise machine at home in our boy’s room and we usually make the effort to pack it on vacation. As the boys are often sleeping in the same room as us, the noise machine helps to dampen down any outside noise. After almost 4 years of sleeping with the sound of the noise machine on the baby monitor, I can’t sleep without it! If bringing a noise machine isn’t an option due to space, YouTube offers a nice selection of white noise videos on loop that will do the trick as well.
Depending on the set-up while on vacation, consider bringing your video baby monitor along. At resorts with swim-out rooms, or if you are staying in a villa or house, having the monitor on allows you some freedom to relax during everyone’s favorite time of the day: NAP TIME! We have also used iCloud baby monitor over the wifi network if we weren’t able to bring our monitor along. With two apple devices you can watch a live stream over wifi of your kid asleep while you are enjoying the sun (or sunset like below).
Looking for the best travel car seat for toddlers?
Check out my post HERE
Looking for the best toddler travel bed?
Check out my post HERE
Looking for the best travel toys for toddlers?
Check out my post HERE
Here’s to a great vacation everyone! xo Kate