A long-haul flight with a toddler might sound like many people’s idea of hell, but it doesn’t have to be as stressful as it sounds – and the fun and adventures that await you and your little one are well worth the hassle. So, in order to make travelling with a toddler just that little bit easier, here are 8 things you absolutely need to remember:
Always pack extra outfits
Overpacking is often discouraged as an adult, but when it comes to toddlers, the more outfit options the better! Toddlers find new and creative ways to destroy their clothing every day, so if you’re wondering whether to pack that extra t-shirt or not, then the answer is you should!
If your toddler is currently potty training, then take a few spare sets of clothes in your hand luggage too in case of accidents. If you’re only at the beginning of your toilet training journey, you could also consider taking some pull-up nappies for when the seatbelt sign is turned on.
Baby wipes are your best friend
Between touching everything they see, eating like tiny wild animals and those runny noses that toddlers are so famous for, wet wipes and hand sanitiser are going to be your best friend – so make sure that you keep at least two packs in your hand luggage (ideally in a side pocket for easy-access.)
Just remember that wet wipes are the number one thing plumbers recommend against flushing. Wet wipes contribute to over 90% of all sewer blockages in the UK, so make sure you’re discarding them properly.
Give yourself plenty of time
It doesn’t matter if you’re heading to the end of the road or to the other side of the world, travelling with toddlers takes at least twice as long as when you’re alone, so allow time for all that exploring, investigating… and toilet breaks.
When it comes to keeping little ones quiet and still on long flights or drives, snacks are even more coveted than toys – so make sure you have a range of healthy ones at hand at all times. Fruit, breadsticks, crackers, carrot sticks, raisins and cucumber are all great options for toddlers to much one, and remember to give them something to drink or a toddler-friendly sized lollipop to suck on during take-off and landing to help if the change in atmospheric pressure hurts their ears.
Pack as many small activities as you can
Travelling can be boring for adults, let alone children so make sure to pack as many small activities to keep them entertained as possible. Colouring books, pens, sticker books, puzzles, drawing paper, story books, card games – anything little that isn’t going to upset them if it gets lost in the travelling chaos.
Download your apps in advance
Whilst it’s completely understandable that many parents only allow their children to use electronic devices during certain periods, long flights are definitely an occasion to break your screen time rules. Stock up child-friendly apps and/or downloaded films beforehand as long flight with delays and there only so much colouring your child can do.
Keep your toddler safe in the sun
If you’re jetting off to warmer pastures it should go without saying that your toddler is going to need a very high SPF sun cream applied regularly, or a thorough application of a once-a-day sunscreen, (that are a little more expensive, but save you having to wrestle your little one at intervals throughout the day!) Hats are also vital – and though your toddler will delight in taking it off as soon as you put it on, persist and keep explaining that they need to wear them whenever they are outside.
Don’t forget your first aid supplies
Whether you’re planning a chilled holiday by the pool or an adventure-packed exploration, toddlers have a way of finding ways to bump, scratch and bruise themselves – so, a well-stocked first-aid kit is important. Include plenty of plasters, antiseptic cream, antihistamine for mosquito bites and stings, a thermometer, insect repellent and both Calpol and Nurofen. It’s also important to take out travel health insurance for the whole family before you jet off.