Traveling with a Toddler

My son in the cockpit with the USA3000 Airlines captain.

My son in the cockpit with the USA3000 Airlines captain.

Since I work so much, and have that “mommy guilt” complex, when I go away I always take my son. Honestly, since so many of the resorts have great kids clubs that he loves, it is truly a vacation for all of us.  Here are my top travel tips for traveling with a little one.

  1. 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 / or put it in the overhead bin.
  2. 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. 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. We also bring an assortment of small books, crayons, coloring books, small trucks or action figures travel well.
  3. We bring small juice boxes (keep an eye on the ounces to get thru security) but we bring the small “Juicy Juice” boxes and if they are for a toddler (4 and under) they get through security just fine. Also some small snacks that the child is familiar with.
  4. I also always bring lollypops. The sucking motion helps their ears while landing. I usually bring ring pops because they are also entertaining. I give it to my son about a half an hour before we land. Now he knows when he gets ring pop, we are almost there.
  5. Don’t forget the “Mommy Bag”. It is the necessities for what my son MAY need. For me it is a large plastic Ziploc bad that houses the 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.
  6. Make sure your child drinks a lot on vacation to avoid dehydration. I have always found in resort that there was no problem with food and drinks. Most resorts in Mexico & The Caribbean & Hawaii have plenty of juices and bottled water. They also have fancy (non alcoholic) drinks even for kids that he loved to order and drink from “strawberry dacquiries” and “spider mans” to  “mudslides”. He had fun with it so I never had to worry about dehydration. Most restaurants offer a good supply of foods your child will find “familiar” for all meals such as pancakes, fresh fruit, salad, crackers, rolls and the child friendly chicken nuggets, burgers, pizza and hotdogs. You wouldn’t let them eat like that every day at home, but on vacation if they do not like their dinner there is always a backup awaiting them on the buffet.
  7. Travel is very physical with a toddler or small child. Keep in mind the distances you have to walk. At home my son no longer is in a stroller. But if I am at a large resort or expect a lot of walking, I bring one. Last time I went away I bought an umbrella stroller for $10.00 before I left, and actually left it in resort when I was done with it.
  8. My son can swim, but he is not 100%. So that he is not dependent upon us in the pool, I bring a life jacket or arm “swimmies”. It gives us all peace of mind.
  9. When heading out into the sun – sunblock is very important!  The sun is different and stronger in different parts of the world. At home SPF 50 in the morning is usually fine, but on vacation I always buy the strongest I can find and put it on multiple times during the day. I start in the morning in the hotel room before the swimsuit is on.  – This may be the most important tip as not only is a bad sunburn dangerous to their health it can also ruin a trip for everyone.
  10. My last tip is a fun one.  Buy a keychain in resort that has the name of the destination or somewhere you visited. When you get home download the vacation pictures to a USB drive and attach that keychain to it. You know your vacation pictures are safe this way.  And down the road if you want to look for them, you can see by the keychain what pictures are on that drive.

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