Traveling with a Toddler | TIP THREE +
Earlier this week, as I packed for our trip home for the holidays, I decided it would be nice to share some tips for traveling with a toddler that we've learned over the past 18 months. Today I'm sharing TIP THREE and more, but you can still check out TIP ONE (snacks) & TIP TWO (my comfortable carrier) here on the blog.
Did you guess TIP THREE?
TIP THREE - A Backpack Diaper Bag
With all of our traveling I decided to invest in a backpack diaper bag. I knew I wanted a bag that I could carry on my shoulders, that held everything comfortably, and was easy to keep organized. I needed something that I could access and easily manage when traveling alone.
I'd been eyeing the Ju-Ju-Be diaper bags and researched several others, too. In the end I went with my instinct and purchased this Ju-Ju-Be Be Right Back Backpack. Part of my decision to invest in this particular brand was based on my lunch bag that I shared in tip one. Since our Ju-Ju-Be insulated "fuel cell" has lasted so well over the past nine years, I felt justified in spending the extra money to purchase my Ju-Ju-Be backpack.
I love it. I use it as my everyday diaper bag and will do a more complete review of this bag soon. For this post though, my tip is simply to have a diaper bag that is easy to carry hands free for traveling!
Now that you have my top three tangible tips for traveling with a toddler, here are just a few more traveling tip basics from our own experiences...
STROLLERS/ CAR SEAT/ DIAPER BAG--As far as I'm aware, you can take a stroller, car seat, and a diaper bag with no extra charge on all flights. American Airlines is the only airline that I know of that makes you check a stroller over 20 lbs, which includes most all jogger strollers. Otherwise, you can take your stroller to the gate with you. Once we used the stroller to haul most of our stuff with us to the gate, while I carried Emmajean in her carrier.
BABY FOOD/ BOTTLES --You can take baby food pouches and bottles through security, but they may make you step aside for extra testing. Usually, it doesn't take too much extra time, so I opt to take our own. Sometimes I empty her water and take the empty bottle, then fill it up with fresh water when we get through security. That just keeps them from messing with her sippy cup/bottle and speeds up the check. It was super easy to travel when she was tiny and only nursing-- I didn't have to take anything extra for food and she nursed on the flight and slept the whole way!
PACK LIGHT -- I've always packed more than I've actually used at the airport. Your kids will be entertained by all of the different people to watch and the bustle of the airport. We only need a couple of books, a favorite stuffed animal, snacks, an extra outfit, diapers, wipes, and milk/water, teether, and a baby blanket. I have a "mommy pocket" on the front of my diaper bag that I pack with my wallet, cell, sunglasses, and a few cough drops or gum for me for the trip. Don't feel like you have to overload your diaper bag to travel. Your back will thank me!!
CHECK A BAG -- I usually pack one large suitcase for me and Emmajean, and I check it, so I have the least possible things to keep up with. In my experience, it's worth the extra money to check our bag when traveling with our baby...especially if I'm traveling solo with her. I don't worry too much about paying extra to check a bag, since you don't have to buy a ticket for a child under two years of age who's traveling on your lap. It's no secret that being able to travel with Emmajean on my lap for free has meant more trips for me and E.
**KEEP CALM --- my most important tip ever. If your little one starts to get fussy, don't panic. If you remain calm, they will calm down too. Remember the basics, swaddle, diversion, check their diaper, and when they're old enough --have a lollipop on hand! ;) Quick story: E's very first flight at three months old I was super nervous. As soon as we boarded and sat down on the plane, she started to scream like she had never screamed before. I had Gima Dawn with me and neither of us expected it or could do anything to calm her. I immediately tried to nurse her and it was a disaster. In the heat of the moment, I briefly panicked, then I took a breath, let myself know we were going to get through this, and I swaddled her. After swaddling, she calmed down, nursed, and slept the rest of the trip, including the layover. That first 5 minutes on the plane may have been the loudest she's ever been, but it gave me the confidence in future scenarios that if I remain calm she will calm down, too.
So that's about all I can think of for now! I'll let you know if anything else comes to mind and update you after our flight home in a few weeks!
It's hard living a 1000 miles away from my family, but we've been fortunate to be able to spend lots of time in NC since we moved. It's been a blessing to travel with Emmajean over the last year and half and she's been one awesome little traveler!
Thanks for checking in to see my top three tips for #travelingwithatoddler! We wish you all the best in your travels!
Jillian (& Emmajean)
Have you flown with a lap child? What's your best flight tip for traveling with a toddler? Do you have a favorite diaper bag?
PS I didn't receive any compensation for sharing my love for ju-ju-be with you!