FIND YOUR NEAREST STORE
Come in and visit us in one of our many stores
Travel is an education – especially for young ones. Fear of the unknown and concern about what might happen can cloud your judgement when debating whether to hit the road with your toddler in tow.
So I’ve compiled some useful advice from first-hand experience to help put your mind at ease.
Remember the days when you used to travel on a whim? Jumping on the next flight to Bali at short notice, with a plan to overland to Jakarta by a certain date. It feels like another life.
A young one comes with a little more planning. You could decide to do this for every day of your trip before leaving your home country, or make it a nightly task when the youngster’s asleep. This latter strategy helps keep you on your toes and leave you still feeling like there is an opportunity for spontaneity in your travels, while still reducing the risk of things going pear-shape the next day (an easy cause for tantrums for adults and toddlers alike).
Stuck in a blisteringly hot, noisy foreign city with a bunch of heavy bags (and a toddler) to carry? That’s a situation you’ll likely want to avoid.
Start with weight. Lay out everything you think you’ll need to travel comfortably so you can get a visual take on what you really need. Set out the number of bags you plan on lugging about and invest in some packing cubes! They’re brilliant for compacting and organizing your gear.
Link to pack light
Pack your bags well before your travel begins. Then unpack and repack. Use this process to reconsider whether or not you need some items.
You’ll have to determine how much weight you assign to:
Mail home any items you buy that you don’t need to travel with, like souvenirs or excess toys. Also, pack a ‘foldaway’ bag for transitional times when you’ve bought some local goodies but can’t yet post them.
Anticipation – it’s one of your best friends when travelling with a toddler. Try and get your kid excited about more than just what they’ll see on your adventures, like discovering new toys and books along the way. Ensure these toys and books pack small and weigh little.
Lego or 3D puzzles are great because they can pack small and are only limited by your child’s imagination.
Tip: don’t play all your cards at once. Reveal these new goodies over the course of your travels, especially at moments of boredom or stress.
Most toddlers take at least one nap a day so work your schedule around this. Consider how you’ll use your accommodation as a base retreat once or twice a day.
Variables like the weather, public transport and whether you need a pram will come into your thinking. For instance, if you aren’t taking a pram, walking distances and how you break those up might need some additional organising.
Can you use public transport? Is the country you’re exploring cheap enough to jump in a cab and reset at your lodging if things go pear-shaped?
Not long ago, I took my own toddler on a trip to Hanoi, Vietnam. An example of planning a day with my toddler (pram in hand) in that heaving, bustling city was:
The cheapest form of transport isn’t necessarily the best when you’ve got a toddler on board. Those memorable days of refusing to pay for any public transport and walking everywhere around a new city may be over.
Daily planning will be the key towards managing how much you spend on public transport. When setting out to walk from A to B, think about how that walk could be broken up if your kid gets tired or bored of walking. Is there a park, playground, café with toys or any wildlife on route?
A huge positive is that most toddlers are obsessed with different kinds of transport. Play that up by:
The saying goes, ‘you can never have too many wipes’ but in reality, you’ll need to figure out the optimal amount to carry.
Go through the process of packing your toddler’s daypack before you hit the road. You’ll obviously need:
Ideally opt for natural, biodegradable and compostable baby wipes that won’t weigh on you as you travel.
Planes, trains and automobiles – all exciting machines for a growing toddler with a fast-developing brain – are all part of the fun of travel. It’s about the journey as well as the destination, so slow down, have patience and enjoy taking in the sights through your kids’ eyes.
For any toddler, flying is going to be one of the most exciting things they can do in their young lives – it’s exciting and hard for them to fully comprehend. Forget about the ‘adult’ issues and focus on the fun aspects of flying. Talk about it a lot in the lead up to the day, getting your kids excited about being in the plane and on all the little things that they will encounter. There will be less chance of a tantrum once those engines start firing off and will help you focus on what is important.
Your journey through the air will be smoother if you:
In 2015, the Lorrimer family packed up their belongings and headed on a trip around Australia. The adventure hasn't stopped. Check out their story below.
More from the Summit Journal...
From a few months to a lifetime, travel can be an entire way of life.
Toddlers don't have to mean the end of spontaneity in your travels.