Let me take a deep breath. Traveling with a toddler is equal parts challenging and adorable. First of all, toddlers require their own set of everything. If you want to roll your luggage, the toddler wants to roll their own luggage too. Wearing a backpack? They want one too. Ordering a Frappuccino, and you know your toddler is going to want their own version of the “Baby Frappuccino.” Whatever you thought you needed for baby, double it now that you have an opinionated toddler whose tastes change as quickly as their nap schedule.
If your flight is leaving before 9am, I will not judge you for purchasing a bag of Frito’s or that bag of Skittles to keep the peace. I don’t know a single parent that hasn’t used bribery to get their child to get from Point A to B, and Hudson News has everything your child could ever hope for when it comes to processed food bribery.
My nearly two year old protests almost everything that isn’t her idea, and somehow we have managed to trek 200,000 miles together. Much of this success has come in the form of babywearing and packing minimally. A slight bit of bribery has also gotten us through that extra 500 miles.
Here are my top five tips for getting through the airport with confidence as the proud owner (err, parent) of a toddler.
1. Curbside check-in is something that the Gods sent to down from Heaven. Drop all of that luggage off, pack your stroller in a travel bag and let the airline take care of the rest. Tip the nice guy $5 and be on your way.
2. Wear that toddler. We swear by babywearing for quick-ups and downs. At 28 lbs, Luella still has plenty of room left to grow and can get up and down as easily as it is for her to say “I no want to.” Some of my favorite carriers include the Ergobaby 360, Tula Toddler or a woven wrap from Tekhni Wovens.
3. The airport newsstand is your friend. Everything is NEW for your toddler. Suck it up and spend the $20 on snacks, a new book and maybe even a Beanie Boo. Everything that was once exciting to them will be boring once you are on your flight. The new items you grabbed at the airport will keep their toddler mind and hands occupied until you land.
4. Pack diapers, wipes and a lightweight outfit in an easy to reach spot. Since you packed light, you don’t want to dig through your bag to find what you need during a mid-flight diaper change, so keep all of those essentials in either a ziplock or a Jujube Be Quick attached to the shoulder strap of your Ergobaby diaper bag.
5. Board last. Because you took my advice and packed lightly, you won’t have to worry about overhead space. Boarding last allows your little one to get out all of their energy so they will sleep on that plane.