Travelling With Toddlers
Travelling With Toddlers.
Travelling is always and adventure, but travelling with toddlers is a challenge. There are several points to take into account. The following list is not exhaustive but will help to plan a family vacation.
- Decide on the place. When you are travelling with toddlers you can take liberties on your destination. You do not need to choose Disneyland or theme parks as they are too young to enjoy all the attractions. It is a good time to choose "easy destinations" . For example, a beach holiday can be a good option, especially to a club that includes activities for young children and a crèche service. Mountain trips are also fun for toddlers and parents. Cities are more difficult, especially the crowded ones. However, if you choose a city, include in your itinerary plenty of parks and the zoo. We visited Rome with our 2 year old daughter and we all had a great time visiting outdoor attractions like the Roman Foro; we also visited the Roman zoo and plenty of lovely parks. It is the perfect opportunity to mix with the local parents and learn about the culture.
- Book nonstop flights whenever you can. Most airlines are very helpful if you let them know in advance that you are travelling with toddlers. You can get special seats and extra space to accommodate your angels. You can also request when booking your ticket special "baby meals". If you are having a long flight, is better to choose a night flight, that way your children will sleep for most of the trip.
- When travelling by plane Make sure one of your seats is an aisle seat. Your little one may like to see what’s out the window, but you’ll be happy you choose an aisle seat when you realize how many times your restless toddler wants to get up and walk or run around, asks for yet another item that’s stored in the overhead bin, or needs a trip to the bathroom.
- Pack light on nappies, baby food and toys. You do not need to pack loads of nappies and baby food. In most places (yes, even in third world countries!) you will find an equivalent of the nappies and baby food that your children eat at home.
- Pack plenty of clothes for your children, they will get dirty and you do not want to be doing any washing up when you are on holiday.
- If you are travelling by car, invest in a car video player for the children. Last year we travel the whole of Italy from North to South with our 5 and 2 year old children and they did not mind at all the long journeys as they were entertained watching their favourites DVDs.
- Meal times can be a problem, but this does not mean that you need to eat Mac Donalds every night! For me the best part of travelling is to taste the regional cuisine. Unfortunate with young children this is difficult. In France, Spain and Italy most restaurants do not even have baby sits, so it would be a good idea to travel with your own. We bought a portable baby sit from Mothercare -it doubles as a handbag- and it has been great. Also, children's menus in Europe can be very different to the food your child is used to -i.e. children in France are use to eating green beans instead of chips- but most restaurants will make allowances and prepare a small baby dish if you request it.
Travelling with toddlers and young children can be as stressful or enjoyable as you make it. A little bit of planning and knowing your child can make a world of difference.
Rough Guide to Travel with Babies & Young Children
Travel-Related Stress In Children
Remember that unfamiliar situations and moreover, a change in routine may be the cause for stress in children, especially those who have never travelled before. Whenever possible, it is a good idea to familiarize your toddler -in advance- with the food and language of the destination.
Do not forget your toddler's favorite toy and his special snack as it will help to calm him and to adjust to a new environment.
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