Traveling with children between the ages of 9 months to 2 years can be very challenging. Do you purchase a seat for them? Do they ride as lap children? Did your child recently start walking and suddenly they won’t sit still for more than 5 seconds at a time? And that just covers the plane ride. What about EVERYTHING else that you need to do when traveling such as packing, bringing all of the necessities, making sure you have enough creature comforts for your little one? The thought of all of this is bound to cause anxiety in even the most organized, calm and prepared parent. Imagine what the rest of us feel!
This year my husband and I are traveling across the country with our 17 month old to visit his family in Atlanta. This will be the first plane ride she will be taking since she was 6 months old…back when she would sleep on one of us for an extended period of time without fussing or wanting to explore everything and anything. I want to take some time to share with you some of the things that we are doing to prepare for this trip:
Try to pack at least the weekend before
Packing ahead will not only save you the stress and time of last minute chaos, but it will also allow you time to figure out what you already have and what you may need to run out and get either before you leave, or when you get to your destination. Also, remember that most airlines will allow you to check car seats, strollers and pack-n-plays at no charge (please check with your airline to confirm this)…these are GREAT places to pack extra items that you need that either won’t fit in your luggage or are taking up space that you would rather have for yourself. Those car seat bags typically have extra space in them…load ‘em up with clothes and toys that you don’t want to squeeze in your luggage.
Create little ‘to-go’ diaper bags
We did this when we first traveled with my daughter and it was really a life saver. In a gallon sized ziplock baggie place 1 diaper, a ‘snack sized baggie’ filled with a couple of wipes, and an individual packet of whatever cream or lotion you use (we use Aquaphor and they sell individual packets). It all folds down to the size and thickness of 1 diaper that you can place in your diaper bag or carry-on bag. Pack about 4-6 of these (depending on how long your flight is) and then also bring a package of wipes…just in case of a blowout. You can also prepack a couple of changes of clothes. Now, when it’s time to change your little one, all you need to bring to the bathroom is the small baggie of supplies rather than your HUGE diaper bag.
Bring plenty of entertainment
My daughter is definitely in the exploration phase of play and she loves to try to figure out the way things work. Knowing this I have purchased a couple of lightweight, noise-free toys that should keep her busy for a bit. In addition, she LOVES to watch a particular video on YouTube. My internet-savvy mother did some research for me and found a way to Download YouTube videos onto my iPad and Phone (https://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch001750.htm). Plus, I purchased some ‘over the ear’ headphones for my daughter that we are getting her used to wearing before we get on the plane.
If you’re traveling within the US, remember that you are within the US.
Most likely anything you need will be at any grocery store or convenience store close by. If you’re staying with family, ask them to purchase diapers, wipes, formula, milk, etc. for you before you arrive so you don’t have the schlep them with you. If you need to go out once you arrive that’s ok. If for 3-7 days your child is put in Huggies rather than Pampers, it’s not the end of the world. Yes, it’s not what you’re used to, but it is good enough. It will get the job done.
Most importantly, remember to breathe and enjoy your time with family and friends. The travel part is just a means to an end…and that end is quality time spent with loved ones. If you give yourself enough time and breathe I promise you will get through it.