Normally, when I travel I am very “go with the flow.” I always figure as long as I have my passport, my tickets and a credit card, anything I forget I can always buy when I get to my destination. Then I started traveling with my son and quickly realized a little more planning was necessary.
Here are five suggestions based on my personal experiences:
The airplane ride — If you plan to bring a car seat on the plane, ensure it is FAA approved. It says it on the seat. Otherwise they will take it from you as you get on the plane and put it in the overhead bin.
Think of entertainment. I am amazed when I look around the plane and see unruly children who have nothing to entertain them. My son, since he pays for a seat, is entitled to a carry-on bag of his own. We always bring a backpack of items to amuse him on a flight and the ride to the hotel. I invested in a small DVD player for long rides. We also have an assortment of small books that he can bring. Crayons and coloring books are good. Small trucks or action figures travel well.
Food always helps — we bring small juice boxes (keep an eye on the ounces to get thru security).. Bring some small snacks that the child is familiar with for a long ride. If I have a morning flight, I pack cereal in a baggie and request milk as the in-flight drink so he can have breakfast on the flight. I also always bring lollipops. This helps his ears while landing. I usually bring ring pops because they are also entertaining. I give it to him about a half an hour before we land. Now he knows when he gets a ring pop on the airplane, we are almost there. Also, pack a similar supply of items in your suitcase for the ride home.
The “Mommy Bag” is filled with the necessities that we MAY need. It is a large plastic Ziploc bag that houses the travel-approved sized essentials JUST FOR HIM including children’s: Tylenol, Motrin, Pepto Bismol, Gas X, allergy medication, antibiotics, asthma medication, Vicks, aloe, band-aids and Q-tips. This bag goes in my carry-on when I go on vacation, and when I return, the contents get immediately updated and put in the cabinet so it is ready for the next vacation. Recently on a vacation, another mom I ran into said their daughter had developed an allergy at dinner and they were heading back to the room. I asked if she wanted some allergy medication and she responded, “no I have a bag” and I knew exactly what she was talking about.
NEVER pack prescription medication you need in your checked luggage, in case the bag is delayed. Also, don’t rebottle medication. Keep it in the original bottles to avoid any confusion at check–in and security. All prescriptions must be in the prescription bottle, and they must be prescribed to the person traveling.
Check back for more tips for traveling with toddlers.