Going on holidays with a toddler is basically just parenting in a different location, with a toddler that turns into a beast….
Toddlers are creatures of habit and thrive on predictability. Holidays can really throw them out as they can involve changes in routines, long car trips, changes in location, people, weather, and differing time zones.
I will never forget the deflated feeling that I had after coming home from a “holiday” that mostly involved my toddler not sleeping, clinging to me like a koala for the ENTIRE trip, and having huge meltdowns. I returned home feeling exhausted and kind of resentful that the not so cheap and elusive getaway didn’t involve rest, but rather more work!
If you are tired and wondering how to holiday with a toddler, you have landed in the right place.
Over the years we have created a simple list of tried and tested survival tips on how to holiday with a toddler, as well as make it much more enjoyable and bearable!
Here are our top 6 survival tips;
-Plan holidays for the toddler phase of life
-Prepare your toddler in advance.
-Create a holiday rhythm over routine.
-Bring familiar objects and activities.
-Provide security through consistent boundaries and empathy.
Flying with a toddler and our toddler packing list
Flights with toddlers can be really hit and miss. Ideally, if you can book your flight around sleep times so that at least part of your trip is relaxing, then this would be a great start. Unfortunately, even if you do this, it won’t always work out. Besides the nappy bag and snacks, ensure you have our toddler holiday packing list on hand;
- Get yourself a baby carrier or a light weight travel stroller to make the carting around part of travel a little bit easier
- During the “waiting time”, besides eating, there isn’t a whole lot to do. Try sitting near the window so your little one can look at the planes coming and going, or find a little area to get their energy out before boarding. Some airports have small play areas which is FAB!
- Pack a small collection of light, and quiet, “new” or “haven’t seen for a while” toys. This could include fidgets, matchbox car, puzzle, and books.
- Always download Bluey, Wiggles, Playschool or any of your toddlers fave shows so they are ready to go when as as needed!
- Sit your toddler in the window seat, this can keep them quite happily entertained during the tricky parts of take off and landing.
- Most importantly, DO NOT worry about the person in front of you that keeps looking over their shoulder- stuff ’em’!
Eating out on holidays and enjoying day tours with your toddler
There are some important tools of trade for outings. You will need;
- A sticky bowl and catchy bib!
- Pick restaurants with playgrounds and take the iPad or phone, if screentime is the difference between eating your dinner or going hungry, we would say 5 mins is totally fine.
- Book age-appropriate outings, you will need to make sacrifices
- If naps need to happen whilst out, they probably won’t happen the way you want them too but will even out…. eventually.
Long car trips with toddlers
Let me repeat- toys, stops to get energy out, plan around naps if possible and screens ready to go as needed!
Our final thoughts on travelling with a toddler;
Expect to have a toddler who sleeps less, clings more and has the usual battles like getting dressed or wearing hats (with slightly more emotional meltdowns!). These times in your lives are fleeting and remember, it will get easier. So, the big question, is traveling with a toddler worth it? Yes, absolutely. The memories you make are well worth it (just follow our tips!)