Wednesday, August 3, 2011

VIVA LA VACATION: TRAVELING WITH A TODDLER

Now we have not traveled overseas and nor have we traveled on a plane for more than four hours, but I do consider our family to be pretty seasoned travelers. We have flown to Phoenix multiple times. We have driven to Phoenix. We have driven all over Montana. And, just this past week, we knocked San Jose and Santa Clara off our to-do list.
The first time I flew with Caderyn on a plane, he was 7 weeks old. He had just gotten out of the hospital after a nasty bout with RSV and I was terrified.
I sat down and got us all buckled up. Not so bad right!?
Not more than two seconds after they had closed the doors did Caderyn poop so much it leaked all up his back. Of course, I couldn't change him because we were traveling down the runway so I sat with him stinking and leaking in my lap for 45 minutes.
Then, the only place I could change him was at the very back between the two bathrooms on the floor.
Got him changed. Got back to the seat.
 He crapped all over again.
 But I couldn't change him again because we were starting to land. So I wrapped him in a blanket and waited until we were on the ground. Sounds stressful huh!
It was.
Since then, my traveling skills have evolved into a very amazing organization.

Here are some of my tips to traveling with a toddler:
1. Bring a backpack full of goodies.
Depending on the length of the trip, I will usually pack some of Caderyn's favorite snacks. I try to keep the variety very broad so he's surprised an fascinated with each new thing I bring out. For example, this trip I packed fun fruits, crunchy puffs (they are like Cheetos, but healthier), and Lucky Charms.

2. Purchase some new toys to bring out when your child gets restless.
My "restless toys" I call them. For when Caderyn starts to get fussy or frustrated with having to sit so long, I buys a few new toys. This year I visited Target and bought 4 new toys- not very expensive ones either. I calculated that for each hour we were flying he might need a toy to distract him. Worked like a charm and we didn't even use the 4th toy until two days later when we were on the ground.

3. DO DO DO invest in the traveling DVD players.
Caderyn watched movies while we were on the plane and he hardly made a peep. I bought him one new movie from the $5 bin thing at Target and he watched it continually almost the whole plane ride. He was quiet and calm and very happy. We also use this DVD player whenever we are in the car on a trip. I LOVE THIS THING and I'm sure Caderyn does too because we don't let him watch TV all that much.

4. Buy your toddler their own seat on the plane
A little more expensive, yes, but totally worth it. More than likely, you'll need to bring their car seat anyways to your destination. This is the second trip where we have bought Caderyn his own seat and strapped him into his car seat. I don't think we could travel any other way. He gets the window seat and rarely complains because he's strapped in there just like if he were in a car.

5. Just relax and go with the flow.
 The more you stress, the more stressed out your child gets. Just relax. If your child is going to be a stinker, even with all of the snacks, toys and movies, then he'll be a stinker. Don't worry what other people think. Children have to fly too and before you know it, you'll be on the ground. So just keep calm and carry on. 

Here are some traveling photos from our trip:
We went to the park to play before heading to the airport. Caderyn took a 2 hour nap on our connecting flight because he was so pooped from playing.


My very happy traveler.
Backpack is packed and he is ready to fly!

P.S. Because my child slept for two hours, he missed the whole flight and when he woke up we were on the ground. He had a meltdown because he was so upset he missed the flight and "wanted to go in the sky again."

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