I have spent a large portion of this past year travelling with my toddler. This includes travelling to Calgary to visit in-laws, overseas to Italy for my husband’s HLTA, weddings, a trip to the U.S. to visit my sister (see previous blog entry), and now we are in England for my husband’s work and a vacation. So, I thought I might share some of my tried and true travel tips.
I was quite nervous the first time my husband and I took my son on a trip (I also had dogs in-tow which are basically furry toddlers). And even more nervous the first time I did it alone. So in true internet/research-junky fashion, I googled every travel website and mom-blog I could find about travelling with babies, dogs, toddlers, etc. There are literally hundreds. I made lists of my favourite websites and tips. Some turned out to be great, some, not so much. To spare you some time, I thought I would share tips that worked for me.
When travelling outside Canada, I have discovered that many places are not baby-friendly, i.e. no change tables in the washrooms, no high chairs in restaurants, and sometimes no cribs in hotel rooms. Of course you don’t want to pack a change pad, high chair, and portable crib, as that would leave no room to shop and bring stuff back. But--maybe that’s just me.
There are a few products out there for that can act as a portable high chair, but I found one product that also attaches to you (handy on the plane) and has an extension to attach to a bed if you don’t have a crib at the hotel. It has been a life-saver and takes up less room in your suitcase then a pair of jeans. It’s called the Wiggle Wrapper. Just google it.
You really don’t want to over-pack, so whenever possible eliminate items that you know you can pick up when you arrive. Diapers are a great example. Pack for a couple days, then pick up more on the other end. Formula, cereal, foods etc. also take up space and can generally be found wherever you go. Check out the place you are going to online and look up your brands (if brand loyal). This is extremely handy to do in advance especially when travelling to a country where you don’t speak the language. I also use travel size shampoo/conditioner bottles for my dish soap and detergent for quick cleans in the hotel room.
Believe it or not, the best travel advice comes from my husband, and I have since passed it on to my friends when they were nervous about travelling with their baby. So here it is: “All you need is the baby and your passport, anything else you forget we can get it there.”
Travelling with a baby or a toddler isn’t easy, but I highly recommend it. Think of it this way: you can have a rough day at home with your baby and you wake up the next day and you’re still at home. Or you can have a tough drive or flight (sometimes no issues at all), but wake up somewhere wonderful where you don’t have to worry about cooking or cleaning (or work), and then all you have to do is enjoy the time with your family (plus kids under 2 years fly for free). Happy Travelling!