Its probably the toughest of the toddler years to plan travel in – the dreaded terrible twos. The good news is, it can be managed and enjoyed. If it gives you some confidence, we have traveled with Sara to Singapore (2.3 yrs) and Brazil (2.8 yrs) and she loved it, as did we.
SO here are some of the top tips to have a great vacation, toddler in tow..
1. Be prepared to give in to a tantrum or 7 over a period of 2 weeks. Schedules get messed up with travel, you don’t get to sleep or eat or play as you/your toddler are used to and crabbiness does make an appearance. A 2 yo knows what she wants and is not familiar with the concept of public embarrassment!So if you see a tantrum coming, plan to head it off in advance with some distraction (gems and gummy bears work for us) or just give in.
2. Snacking – stock up on favored munchies like chocos, chocolate milk, biscuits, nuts and raisins and the occasional gummy bear and lolly pop (prefer the chocolate ones to the sugar candy which will ruin the day with more hunger pangs and too much energy). Hunger causes more tantrums than any other trigger and its tough to get the right foods at the right time every-time, particularly if you’re jet lagged. So keep favorite munchies close at hand.
3. Stroller – the one thing you think is not needed and most missed. Yes she like to run around all day and yes she can well walk when she wants but holidays are different. Besides it helps to have a place to dump extra food, shopping bags, your bag (its tiring to carry that on a long day). If you haven’t already, invest in a light-weight stroller (airlines allow no more than 10 kgs). If you are likely to travel a lot to Europe, get one with large wheels which goes well on the cobble stones, our small wheeled Chicco barely survives.
4. Plan a toddler friendly activity at least every alternate day. Whether its swimming, beach, play area or similar, do something that she will enjoy whole-heartedly and feel satisfied about. She’s on holiday too 🙂
5. DO NOT go near a water body, if you dont plan to allow the child in. They’re in love with water at this age. Whether its the swimming pool or the beach or the river, they HAVE TO go in (Sara actually jumped into the Amazon river). So if you dont plan to get into the sea, do not go to the beach, you’re sure to have a very disgruntled child otherwise.
6. Choose at least 2-3 days in a hotel/hostel where you will be able to leave a sleeping child and go out to dinner – in the same hotel or a little further. The kiddo is likely tired from the day and will sleep early and its your holiday too, so get some alone time. HOWEVER, do choose a place that will take the responsibility seriously. like proper childminder services or where the room entrance is visible from your dinner table.
7. Carry some of the child’s comfort objects like a favorite teddy or pillow or similar to help with sleeping routine. We had just taken S off the bottle (yes yes very late and all that) so sleep time was a bit of a challenge, but getting her own cot in the room and special pillow and blankets, which most hotels will provide, helped.
8. Plan your days with a light schedule, you won’t be able to leave for at least 2 hours after waking; and without the afternoon naps, the day will end sooner. So the city has much more to offer than one can cover? so what, at least you’re in the city 🙂
9. Use the hotel breakfast well. We blatantly carried some empty boxes around and packed fruits, boiled eggs, bread butter sandwiches from the breakfast spread, since S insisted on eating at odd times.
10. Lastly, relax. its just a holiday, if you don’t change clothes twice, eat more candy than usual, don’t party every night it wont really matter. A relaxed face makes for better photos 🙂