Friday 5: Tips for a Smooth Ride when Traveling with a Toddler
We’ve never shied away from traveling with Levi in tow. We want him to enjoy exploring the world as much as we do, so we’ve always thought it a good idea to start him young! Whether by train, plane or automobile, we’ve had a lot of success (AKA minimal meltdowns) in that regard so I want to share a few tips based off of what we’ve learned about traveling with a toddler.
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1. Bring a Toy and Their Favorite Snack
Bring a toy they’re never seen before or bring along “special” toys they are only allowed to play with when you’re on the go. Try these:
Levi LOVES this one…but for the sake of everyone, don’t bring this on a plane. This one is strictly for our car 😀
Either one of these (we have both) work well! Sometimes Levi gets a little scared when we’re traveling at night and I’ve found that the soft glow of a lantern has helped tremendously.
The Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Lantern plays music and has a few educational activities the kids can do but it does not stay “on”.
With an LED light and an auto-off 30 minute timer the Skip Hop Zoo Take Along Nightlight is perfect for road trips. If we’re leaving at night, I turn it on and don’t have to worry about turning it off once Levi falls asleep.
2. Schedule Stops
Schedule stops so that they don’t get restless. We like to schedule our stops at points of interest so we can take the opportunity to explore/stretch our legs and grab a snack. But be sure to take the extra time into account. If it’s a longer trip, that may mean we spread the driving time over 2 days. For an 8 hour trip, we will do 4 hours in the evening on one day, stay over night at the halfway point, and then the last 4 hours the next morning.
3. Be Prepared
We have items that stay in the car at all times. They are compact and are by far some of the best/most useful kid items we own. They make last minute trips a breeze. Check them out:
This folds down to the size of a carry-on (I think it’s actually smaller than your average carry-on suitcase), is light-weight, and stays nicely contained in it’s own little bag when folded up. Most people seem astonished when the stroller suddenly “disappears” when we go to places that having a stroller is cumbersome. If you fly a lot, this is the stroller for you. Seriously.
4. Screen Time
Bring a tablet or portable DVD player. Levi is obsessed with Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Since we like to limit his screen time, this is a special treat for him. If using a tablet, be sure to download episodes or movies beforehand (Amazon Prime is great for that). Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial Once you download the episode, you can watch it for 48 hours without having to connect to wi-fi.I will say though, that we usually reserve the screen time for airplanes or “total meltdowns 10 minutes from our destination” moments.
Put that tablet to use again! Download several children’s apps before your trip. Even as a 1 year old with a short attention span, Levi has been fascinated by the cause and effect aspects of the touch screen. Try these apps for starters: