Take Your Toddler Overseas and Still Have a Great Trip
So, you’ve decided you want to embark on a trip overseas and take your toddler. While some may think you’ve lost your mind to even bring up the topic of flying with toddlers, there are plenty of families out there that travel with toddlers and live to tell about it. Yes, it will be a little more challenging with your little one tagging along, but it also has the potential to be more rewarding. Traveling with toddlers overseas is entirely possible if you change the expectations of your trip and consider the needs of your child.
For many families, the thought of staying home and not going anywhere while you wait for your toddlers to grow up isn’t feasible. Instead, these families subscribe to the philosophy that says take your toddlers with you. This way, you can truly enjoy yourself on adventures that include all of the members of your young family. Here are some helpful tips to know along the way.
Prepare for the Flight
Once you’ve made the decision to go on an overseas trip with your toddler, the first hurdle to think about is the flight. Flying with toddlers isn’t easy, but don’t let that fact deter you from going on your trip. You’ll just have to prepare ahead of time to make this stage of your adventure less daunting. After you’ve booked your ticket, be sure to reserve one for your toddler as well, even if he is younger than two. Not only is it safer, but your arms will be much more comfortable. In your carry-on bag, here is your essential packing list for a flight with a toddler:
- Plenty of Diapers and Wipes
- An Extra Change of Clothes
- Familiar Snacks
- A Sippy Cup of Water
- A Tablet
- Sticker Books
- Small Wrapped Toys
- Mess-Free Markers and Paper
Rent an Apartment or Villa
Once you arrive at your exotic destination, skip the hotel room and opt for an apartment or villa rental. You’ll get much more space to relax in, along with at least one separate bedroom to help your toddler settle down for the night. The best thing about an apartment rental is having a kitchen. Instead of going out to eat for every meal, you can save money and your sanity by having more meals at home.
Settle in Like a Local
Staying in an apartment or house for your trip should have you start to feel more like a local instead of a tourist. Traveling with toddlers provides you with a unique invitation into the local’s daily routine. Because you have a kitchen, you’ll need to shop at a grocery store and settle into a new temporary lifestyle for your family. In most places overseas, children are cherished and offer more opportunities to connect with the people around you and learn more about the culture.
Slow Down and Enjoy the Scenery
Being in a new country means you’ll want to spend plenty of time sightseeing. If you traveled before having children, you’ll notice a big difference in the pace of your trip when a toddler is involved. Your itinerary of sights may need to shrink a bit to keep things more realistic for your little one. The key is to do whatever you can to avoid meltdowns and serious overtiredness. That means, instead of whizzing through three or four tourist attractions each day, focus on one big one and take your time to really explore and enjoy it.
Bring a Sturdy Stroller
A trip to an exciting foreign city means you may have to put in miles of walking to see everything. Bring a lightweight umbrella stroller so your toddler can sit back and relax while you journey through each area. And, you may even get lucky enough to find your little angel napping peacefully in the stroller for a little while. Don’t worry about your stroller’s ability to get through old city sidewalks and subways. The cobblestones of old Europe have been polished and smoothed to make walking not as difficult as it sounds, and most cities have plenty of elevator access along their public transportation routes if you look carefully.
Pick a Variety of Sites to Visit
It’s also essential to create an itinerary that has a little something for everyone. With a toddler, you’ll have to mix your daily to-do list up each day. It may be best to alternate important cultural or historical sites with trips to the playground or water park. With toddlers, you can even look for simple kid-friendly spots to spend some time at, such as parks or fun modern art museums that employ bright colors and unique shapes.
Add Breaks Into Your Day for Naps
During your trip, you may find things get a little tough when your toddler starts to get either tired or hungry. For the hunger, make sure you have a constant supply of snacks and treats to dole out when you first start to hear whimpering. Being tired can be tough on toddlers because they won’t exactly let you know. If a few cat naps in the stroller aren’t cutting it, you may need to break up your day to include an afternoon nap. Take advantage of the break and catch some shut eye yourself before going out again for dinner.
Look for Those Familiar Eating Spots
No overseas trip with toddlers would be complete without those familiar golden arches. If your toddler is a picky eater normally at home, take a wild guess as to whether or not he’ll eat any of the local fare. While some parents are pleasantly surprised about their child’s willingness to try new foods, many parents of toddlers struggle with getting their kids to eat on a trip overseas. Try looking for American staples, such as McDonald’s or Pizza Hut, in your overseas destination and stop by for a quick lunch one day to give your toddler something they recognize. Stressing out over your child’s eating habits is worse than a few fast food meals on vacation.
Taking an overseas trip with a toddler is totally possible if you are realistic about what kind of trip it will be. Forget about being a tourist and consider yourself an adventurer with your toddler by your side. You can get more tips and stories about overseas travel if you follow KAMO on Twitter at @kamo_family, on Facebook or by finding kamofamily on Instagram.