Travelers of any age take on extra stress while away from home. Even family vacations and fun trips can be especially difficult on young children. To make your family’s next trip easier, consider these tips for traveling with toddlers:
1. Plan Your Trip to Accommodate Your Toddler’s Routine
One of the most upsetting things about travel is the disruption of regular routine. Some of this disruption is unavoidable, but by planning ahead, you can keep the disruption at a minimum. Plan stops and breaks around your child’s usual routine. Make sure you will be arriving at your accommodations in time for your toddler to get to bed at close to the normal time. As much as possible, schedule meals to coincide with your toddler’s usual meal schedule.
2. Pack Dry, Healthy Snacks
Your toddler will be happier if her or his tummy isn’t rumbling. When traveling with little ones, always bring along healthy, dry snacks to enjoy. Cut up fruit and vegetables are healthy and easy for little ones to enjoy. You can pack a cooler with these, cheese sticks and other goodies for the entire family to enjoy.
3. Plan to Visit a Toddler-Friendly Vacation Destination
Lengthy art lectures and places where “don’t touch” is the general rule won’t go over well with your toddler. Instead, choose a location with plenty of interactive activities. Toddlers that have a fascination with the Wild West might enjoy a trip to Chickasaw Country in Oklahoma or Dodge City in Kansas. Toddler-friendly amusement parks like the Disney resorts are also a great choice for families with young children.
4. Bring Nighttime Rituals with You
Many toddlers have a specific nighttime ritual that helps them relax and fall asleep. Bring items from home along with you in order to recreate this ritual at your hotel. Remember to pack your child’s special stuffed animal and any special bedtime storybooks. A portable nightlight that your child uses at home might also help your toddler sleep better at the hotel. You can even bring along your child’s bedding to help create your special home away from home.
5. Carry Water with You
Your child will be less fussy when she or he feels comfortable. Make sure that your toddler remains properly hydrated whenever you travel. Always bring along a water bottle for your toddler as well as for each other family member. If you will be traveling through the desert or in locations where water might be difficult to find, pack chilled water bottles in a cooler. Dehydration can cause serious discomfort and health problems for anyone, and the risk for toddlers is significant. Pay special attention to make sure your toddler is getting enough water to drink if you are traveling in the car on a summer’s day or spending a hot afternoon in the sun.
Family vacations provide opportunities for fun together. During these times, you can make memories to last a lifetime. Make sure those memories are good by planning ahead. When you follow these tips to keep your toddler happy and comfortable, everyone will have a better time on the family trip.