Five on Friday: Toddler Travel Tips

~ Happy Friday Lovies ~

This felt like such a short week since Monday was a travel day and I couldn't get my *BLEEP* together to actually write a post until Wednesday.  However, getting settled back in from our trip has allowed me some perspective, so for today's Five on Friday I'd like to share with you my travel trips for flying with a toddler (most of these will probably work in a car too). 

Stroller/Car Seat System
This is an absolute must! Obviously if you are flying somewhere you will most likely need a car seat (unless you're visiting family that have one you can use).  When I was pregnant with Wake one of the big ticket items I really wanted was the Orbit Stroller System. I can't talk enough about how awesome this stroller is.  Not only is it incredibly user friendly but it's adaptable to every element of your life/needs.  The base adaptor on the stroller can fit every product Orbit makes; the bassinet, infant car seat, Toddler car seat, etc...  All we had to do this past weekend to keep W safe was strap him into his car seat, connect the car seat to the base, and off we went.  It also breaks down into two pieces which were really easy to check plane side.  This system saved our life this weekend!! 

If you don't have/want the Orbit then there are also car seat transporter's that fit most car seat brands and can be purchased at Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, Amazon, Target, etc... 

iPad/Nook/DVD player
Here's the one thing I've learned from traveling with a kid; if they are content...LET THEM BE! Don't offer toys, distractions, food, etc.... until they need it. You have to keep every card up your sleeve until it's needed.  Don't just offer things to your child because you're worried they might melt down, or you think this might distract them for longer.  W was perfectly content running around the terminal/gates & flirting with complete strangers as long as we would let him. He didn't need any distractions until we were on the plane (and he couldn't "move") or waiting to board while strapped into his seat.  We didn't turn on the iPad until it was a must

Now that I'm off my own personal soap box I would suggest that you pre-loaded the iPad with your childs favorite shows/movies/games; we did Thomas & Friends, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Despicable Me (he loves the minions), Chuggington, Peekaboo Barn, abc WOW, and Disney Junior Appisodes (click for links of these products).  Once Wake was showing signs of annoyance or distress we would get really excited and ask him if he wanted to watch a show or play a game?  This immediately re-focused his energies on something positive and then that's when we would turn on the show/game of his choice.  

Safety Item
This is pretty self-explanatory. Make sure you have a safety item for your child in case they get frightened during take off/landing, motion sick, sad, scared, etc...  Like tip #2 I wouldn't let them see/use the item unless it's needed, but this can be extremely soothing.  Luckily Wake never really got scared, but he was always wide-eyed and skeptical during take-off so we would give him his "lovie" (see below) and a bottle of milk (which remember you can't bring with'll have to buy it once you get through security).  Wake LOVES milk; he asks for it all the time and it always calms him down.  Sipping milk with lovie in his lap = peace...for a few seconds ;-).  On that same note, I would definitely recommend giving your child something to drink during take off (whether it's a safety item or not) because their swallowing will help pop their ears and relieve any pressure. 

New Toy
My SIL read about this and mentioned it to me; seemed genius!  Buy your toddler a new toy, something they've been wanting or you know they would love, and hide it from them until the trip. Then once you are on the plane (don't give it to them too early or while at the gate.  See tip #2), surprise them with their new toy.  Get excited and make a big deal about it.  This will again get them focused on something new & positive and will most likely hold their attention/keep them distracted for a longer period of time then usual.  
Toddler Toys for Travel
Last year when I flew with W (at 10 months old) we got him this pillow pet he had seen at Target once and gotten really excited about; he snuggled with it the whole vacation.  This time around we got a new book & a mini train.

A hungry child = an angry child.  I packed enough of Wake's favorite snacks to last a week because I just didn't know what to expect and I also didn't know what options the airports would have.  W is always hungry.  He loves to snack as he goes, so whenever he got fussy, and tips 2, 3, and/or 4 didn't work, we offered him food.  He always said yes.  Also, make sure you have plenty of water around to keep your little one hydrated and if you want add a toddler probiotic packet ONCE A DAY (no more than that or they'll get diarrhea & please read the directions first) during your trip to help keep your toddlers immune system up; airports & airplanes are like above ground cesspools.  

Travel food for toddlers

Okay Lovies, those are the five things that helped us travel with a toddler. I will say, it was not perfect...words like travel & toddler never mix. However, there are things you can do to help both you AND your baby survive the trip a little better.  It also helps if you make sure that you yourself are prepared.  Drink a lot of water, start taking Emergen-C or Airborne the night before your flight and once a day throughout your trip to help fight off bugs, eat healthy, get enough sleep the week leading up to your trip, etc...  There is nothing worse then being sick while flying; ask my husband, he had a bacterial stomach infection the entire vacation. No Bueno!!  

Thanks for reading & be sure to pin this article so you can share with your other mommy or mommy-to-be friends.  Have a great weekend!!
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