My son was twenty months old when we traveled with him the first time on a plane internationally. This experience made me realize that there are a lot of things to consider when traveling with a toddler. As a parent, our instinct is to make them as comfortable as possible.
When we traveled internationally, our route was an hour drive from our home to Los Angeles International Airport. Then from Los Angeles to Hong Kong and from there to Mactan Airport Cebu, Philippines. It was quiet a long haul. We had two hours drive time, 14 hours in the air, 2 hours lay over in Hong Kong and another 2 hours from Hong Kong to Philippines and then to our hotel. Total travel time of over 20 hours from door to door.
How did we manage it?
Here are few of the things that worked for us when we traveled with our toddler!
Aside from the travel date that we had decided on, my husband and I talked about beforehand what was the best time of day to start our trip. Most of the tips I read suggested that we fly during the day. However, for a 18-hour long haul flight, we’d rather let our little one sleep during the travel for a stress-free flight. So, we opted to book the ticket with a departure around 11 in the evening. This gave us to keep him awake before the boarding making him very sleepy.
If you want to book your ticket in advance, the bulk head is the best seat for a toddler. The extra leg room gives him some space to play on the floor and the seats are usually close to the rest room for easy changing. The bulk head also means there is no one sitting in front of you to bother.
It was a big help! With all the walking in the airports, a stroller can be your best friend. As much as possible, we went as minimal as possible. We brought a cheap umbrella stroller from Walmart. It was a big help until we realized it wouldn’t turn on smooth surfaces. Our advice is to spend the extra money and get a quality one. Check out Zoe XLC Best V2 travel stroller which we love and you might love it too!
This is one tip that I’ve read from Parents.com which is truly a help. With my son, I packed a mini bag for him with a coloring book to color, crayon, a couple of Legos and some toy cars. I gave them to him one at a time, whenever he is bored with the first toy.
My son was so used to having milk before bed. We tried to bring one, but it was taken away at the security before boarding. Luckily, the crew provides it. On the other hand, you can always get a milk from a store at the airport departures.
Though these are provided by the cabin crew, you’ll never know what or when your kid/s wants to eat. The airline that we were on provides kids meals, but they didn’t have the cereal he loves which I forgot to bring. So, on our way back to the US, I have his cereal with me and I just asked for milk.
My son is so mad about his blanket. When we booked our flights, we also booked a seat for him so he can lay down entirely while his feet are in my lap. Aside from his blanket, we also brought half of his Boppy pillow, so he would sleep as comfortably as possible. I think throughout my pregnancy until now, this boppy pillow has been the most worth it baby haul we bought.
When we decided to get an evening flight, I dressed my son with his pajamas on the way to the airport and for the entire flight. I had extra clothes for him to change into when we arrived at Hong Kong Airport.
Download his/her favorite shows. It would help to keep him/her entertained for a couple of hours.
During the packing, we decided to pack as light as possible. For 14 days in the Philippines, our stuff fit in one big suitcase. One thing that helped me packing is the Baggail Packing cube which segregates specific stuff we brought with us. We had two Back Packs, a tote bag and a stroller. That’s all for carry-ons.
List of the things we have in our carry-on bags for our son
- 1 changing clothes
- 4 diapers
What do you do when you travel with your child?