After our baby was born, itchy feet of ours could not wait any longer and we headed with Ayaan on his first 400 miles road trip to Wales when he was 6 weeks old. We did not stop after that!!
Travelling with a baby/toddler is piece of cake!! Shocked !! Don’t be, I am kidding. Truth is it is not easy but it is not even the hardest task you will ever do. With prior planning and tricks to keep them busy & entertain will do the magic. And you will never have to think about taking a travel break.
Ayaan is turning 2 in next two weeks and he has already visited 8 countries. We want to raise him wild and free. We are lucky that he gets adapted to new places, weather & people quickly. He loves to smile, run around and explore.
We are no experts in travelling with little ones, but here is some tips & tricks we have learnt over the last 2 years of travelling with our little explorer.
Give your little ones enough breaks to unwind the built up energy on road trips
Give your baby enough breaks on those long road trips. If he/she is young and cannot sit or walk yet, carry a sheet and lie them on it to freely move their hands & legs 🙂 And if they are walking, let them be kids – Run like a wild cat [of course keep an eye for safety]
Air Travel – Let those wings fly
Give yourself a good time for security, check-ins etc. Their tantrums may kick in anytime. Most airports these days are equipped with kids-play area. So while he is busy playing, treat yourself with a warm cup of coffee. Believe me you will need the kick of that caffeine once aboard on a plane 🙂 If there isn’t one, let them do their sprints or laps near the boarding gate. You do not want to get on board with a superman/superwoman who is ready to conquer word like Now.
Bring lots of snack.
A running around toddler means refuelling his energy meter from time to time. So carry a lot of snacks, We generally carry oat cakes, fruits bars, raisins, nuts to fulfill the sudden hunger pangs. A happy baby always equals to happy parent.
Entertainment is another key for happiness
On a road, plane, train, hotel or a walk – your toddler will need entertainment. Now I do not mean handover your phone or ipad to them. Bring them but use them as a last resort. No judgement -there is nothing wrong in showing them a couple of ryhmes or a story to get that sanity back . Bring along his favourite book, cars, colours, stickers, any other small that your little one loves. On our recent trip, we carried a book of 5000 stickers and Ayaan couldn’t be much happier. Sing rhymes and read stories to them.
Exploring the world
Baby/Toddler brain is an explorer in making and travel could be a perfect ingredient. Let them run around bare feet to feel the sand & grass, let them swim in the lake or play with water fountain. This is going to make them inquisitive, stronger and a better immunity. Be watchful but do not stop them from trying new things. We fall, we Get up & we Learn.
Follow your little ones routine of sleep/food or forget the “normal”
Now this one is totally dependant on your style of parenting. We like to stick to our son’s sleep and food routine wherever possible. With Ayaan, he gets cranky if he has not been fed or slept properly. So we plan out few things around his scedule and we have early nights in most of the time. Frankly we do not want to party anymore until midnight either 🙂
Invest in a good baby carrier
Buy a god quality baby carrier for those walks & hikes or even for a simple stroll. Life will be much easier and you both will enjoy your time outside as well. We have one from Osprey for long walks and another one from iangel that we generally use for in city walks.
Duty of care, but do not beat yourself up.
This is one of the most important bit and something that basically keeps us all away from the idea of travelling.
As a parent, we want our kid to be at the best of his behavior – no crying/tantrums, tidiness, physical boundaries etc. But fact is kids are very unpredictable and you will not have necessary control on every reaction. If you do fall in a tantrum situation or a sudden cry, apologize to fellow passengers (non-guilty way) and try to settle down your kid. Never ever shout at them in public ( you do not want them to learn shouting is OK) Let them cry for a bit, diver their attention , those 5 minutes might feel like 5 hours. Help them learn about acceptable behavior & manners . Most of the people around you will be understanding and sympathetic , will pass a silent message of “It is OK”. But if you were not around those bunch of people, do not worry you did what you could.
Remember next time you are sitting close to parents with young kids, just give them a nodding smile making them believe that it is all OK 🙂
We know a lot of you are travelling, any advises for us to add to the list?