I share 10 tips for travelling with a toddler over at Yummy Mummy’s World. These are not always foolproof, but this is what has worked for us lately.
1. Pack light
Haha, I know that is basically impossible with kids. It’s ridiculous how much luggage you need with children. However stick to the essentials! Invest in a light weight stroller. Check if car seats and travel cots can be collected at the other end rather than flying with them. Leave behind all the bulky toys and just take a few small and versatile things. Remember there are always new novelties to be found on holiday.
2. Take a home comfort
We have a little soft toy dog who comes everywhere with us. He has moved around the world with us from the UK to China to Finland. He makes my daughter feel comforted when everything else is a little strange and unfamiliar.
By this I mean relax your house rules and use whatever technology, tv, iPads or treats you might need to make the journey a little easier on yourself. After all it’s meant to be a family break right?
4. Go to YOUR restaurants
You probably spend many days at home eating alone with your kids or in kiddy friendly cafes. When travelling we like to enjoy civilised, grown up restaurants, eating good food and drinking good coffee. To keep our daughter entertained she has her own small bag of characters who she sits at the table with and tells stories to. It works pretty well and now our toddler has a diverse palate like we do. She is not a fussy eater and tries most things!
5. Give them THEIR TIME
The kids are out of routine, probably wondering what on earth is going on, and where they are. Schedule some of their own activities, things that they would normally enjoy at home. For example the park or playground in the morning to burn off some of that energy. Your day will be better for it in the long run!
6. Eat early
What we can no longer do is eat late and spend the evening out enjoying a bottle of wine. Those days are pretty much gone – for now. The thing you can look forward to is having dinner done early, the kids tucked up in bed, and then you’ll get a little quite time to enjoy that glass of wine back at your accomodation. That’s the bliss!
7. Separate rooms
For the above point to happen you need accommodation with a seperate sleeping to living areas, unless you want to be sipping wine in the dark. Hotels are pretty much out for now. Renting an apartment with a bit of space works best.
8. Plan around naps
We roughly plan around that crucial nap! When is she going to sleep? If you need to drive that day then plan to be on the road during nap time. If you have things to do, get up and out early, then back to the accomodation for nap time. Or have a slow morning, a relaxing brunch with an early nap then get out and about immediately after they wake.
9. On Jet lag
Probably the hardest thing is when the children want to start the day at 1am. We set a time that we feel is acceptable to ‘give up’ and get up, and until that time we persist with putting our daughter back to bed. For us, it’s 4am if the time change is drastic like the 10 hour difference in Seattle. I know a 4am start is early but each day should get gradually a little easier and remember it’s a pretty confusing time for them too.
10. Coffee & Cake (for YOU not them)
You are going to need it! Probably you will feel even more wrecked than you do at home. You will need some kind of kick to get by. For us it’s coffee and cake
You’re on a vacation of sorts so treat yourself!
If you have a younger baby I have shared a few ideas previously on travelling with babies here>
Good luck to all those mums and dads travelling with little ones over the holiday season. I for one know it can be hard work. In the spirit of the season I will soon be featuring some inspirational stories from other expat mothers. Pop back here or sign up for emails to catch their travel with children stories.