I was quite scared while travelling during pregnancy. My biggest concern was whether I will find a loo at the right time or not? At that time, I did not know that bigger fears were soon on their way. Then after the birth of my baby, I was convinced that travelling with a baby is much more difficult than pregnancy. How will I feed him, burp him or make him sleep? And now that my baby has grown up to be a toddler, I do not know whether to take this phase as the worst or there is more in the years to come.
At least, I am convinced now that traveling with a baby was a lot easier as compared to traveling with a toddler. If you have one or if you have seen one in a neighbouring room in your hotel, you will know what I mean. They can be embarrassing, torturous and nothing like you had to call merrymakers. With my experience, I came up with these few pointers that have made my life a little easier while travelling with a toddler. Of course, you will learn more from your toddler and experience is the best teacher but it can be beneficial to keep these on the back of your mind. Because just in case out of all the hundreds of tricks that you have tried to calm down the tornado, by God’s grace one of these works. You might be aware of many of them and some of them would definitely take you by surprise.
1. Keep Your ambitions ZERO
I mean completely zero, not low. If you go with a list of ‘To – do’ and ‘Must see’, burn it or throw it out of the window. Nothing will progress as you plan. Just go, see how your toddler wants the day to be like and work accordingly.
2 There are No Holidays for their Schedules
If you think that it is a vacation and as your child is enjoying the park, you can delay his nap time or replace a meal with a snack, I am afraid you are calling a fire-spitting dragon out of his cave. They might look like they are doing fine without the nap or with the snack but they are not and you will come to know this soon when they get bored of the things that are presently keeping them occupied. Just transition them from high to low energy levels softly (that’s a very important point coming up as the next pointer) and put them to nap or feed them their meal.
3. Know About Transitions
Are you aware of that fundamental known as speed transition? Yes, deceleration it is!! And the downside of missing it is, yes jerks! Here the jerk will be on the mental wellbeing of the parents. Jokes apart, handling toddler is not an easy thing. Toddlers are like high energy balls and if you try to stop these speeding balls with your cold and still hands, you will get those unexpected jerks. So, move them out of their activities slowly, softly and skilfully. What I will advise is that make your vacation a Stay-cation because moving places frequently with the toddler can be tiring. Select someplace where you can put up in just one hotel or B-n-B and that too something centrally located (because you might need to run back for the nap times). Also, if you have your own private car, the public display of craziness will be much less.
4. Play a Devil in Disguise
If you have a flight to board and you want your toddler to sleep through the flight to give you a respite in that cramped space some thousands of miles above the earth, exhaust them at the airport. Let them go repeatedly on the travellators, escalators and create ruckus in the lobby, it will guarantee that both of you will be dead asleep in the flight.
5. Don’t Miss the Bassinet Facility Ever
I was glad to know that when kids below two years of age do not get an allotted seat, they get the benefit of a bed to sleep. A bassinet is a foldable basket that is attached to the partition wall in the flight and however small it is for a child under two, it is a blessing for the parents. And if you have enthusiastically followed the Point 4, believe me, that the size of the bassinet won’t matter at all. Your exhausted toddler is bound to sleep even in that cramped space.
6. Keep Your Nutrition Radar Down for the Holidays
Definitely. If this in-built radar is left on, it can be serious harm to your vacation. To be on the safer side, carry healthy snacks that are familiar to your child so that if he is not willing to try the local food (which is anytime better for health and for grooming them into non-fussy travellers) they can satisfy themselves with something familiar while you are satisfied with the nutrition index.
7. Hydration is Very Important
Generally, every parent these days carries a mineral water bottle for his/her child. So, this might come as a shocker but what I am going to say is worth trying. Quench their thirst with safe but locally available water. By doing this, apart from building immunity, you are also aiding digestion of the local cuisine your toddler seems to love.
8. In the End, Call it a Good Trip
I very well know that travelling with a toddler is not exactly like a dream vacation with all the things falling in place exactly in the same way that you desired them to be. But the good part is that you get to experience something new, which might get registered in the kid’s subconscious mind, to your surprise. And the best part is that next time when you travel together, both of you will be better at handling the situations that arise.
Also Read: How Travelling Benefits You Emotionally
The objectives of travelling keep on changing with age, phase, experience and moods. When you were a teenager, the motto to travel must have been very different as compared to the one when you travelled for the first time with your spouse. Similarly, travelling with your kids means spending more time with them. It means getting out of the routine and tasting a life that is completely different from the usual humdrum. All the crazy parts of the trip will eventually become fun memories. Believe me when I say this that that is what counts more, in the end. I will advise not to get intimidated and disappointed with the trip. Just learn your lessons, draw your own pointers and go for the next one because that’s how trips and life works. Happy travels to you!