Picture yourself on a beach, elegantly reclining on a daybed with the sun beaming warmth onto you,waves crashing, iced tea in hand…. then a handful of sand is thrown in your face! This is what holidaying with a toddler is like, or as how I have recently discovered after returning from a summer holiday to Lebanon and Greece. It was an enjoyable yet challenging experience in more ways than one, especially whilst being pregnant with number 2. So, I would like to impart with you some handy items you may like to take on board that may make the long flights, changes in time zone and foreign environment more manageable for yourself and your toddler.
For the Flight:
Most flights outside Australia are long ones where you’re exposed to a change in air pressure and dry air. To manage the change in pressure I always made sure I had Isaac’s water bottle and a small snack handy for take off and landing, to ensure the pressure in his ears was stabilised. A good non-spill water bottle is what you need, and I would recommend the Contigo Kids Strike Bottle as it easily opens at the push of a button for your toddler and even when opened doesn’t spill but provides enough flow of water through a straw. You can find this water bottle at most supermarkets and home stores. Its also important your little one is warm and comfortable, so pick comfy clothes and footwear like their pyjamas or a tracksuit, robe and slippers.
Keeping Isaac entertained for the 19 hours of flying to our destination and 30+ hours flying back was a daunting task. I had packed a few of his small favourite toys but in the end it was whatever would keep him happy and seated and quiet the longest, and by far the trusty iPad with all his favourite shows downloaded onto it (incase there was no wifi on the plane) was our saving grace. On the plane he had as much tv as he wanted and all normal restrictions flew out the window, so be prepared for rules to be broken.
Another thing to keep in mind when travelling with a toddler under two, is you have the option of not paying the fair of a child but having them seated on your lap. However no food will be provided and your 12-23 month old still requires solid foods, so you will need to organise all meals yourself. I had organised a schedule based on the time of day it was in Australia and where we were on the flight. This schedule mapped out the meals Isaac needed and I would make sure that he was offered them at the normal times he would be eating at home. I also pencilled in his regular nap schedule so I would be aware of when I would need to put him to sleep. Sandwiches and lots of your toddlers favourite healthy snacks, milk and water is enough to keep there tummies full and to keep feeding hassle free. If you bring food to be warmed most airlines will warm it for your little one as long as it is stored in a microwave proof container. Just keep in mind, that keeping food cool may be a problem, as you’re not entitled to take an ice brick through customs unless it is being used to cool medicines or breastmilk. Packing long life milk and food not requiring refrigeration are better options.
An important carry on for your toddler is having enough nappies, nappy sacks and wet ones for the flight. Putting a couple of each into a separate bag came in handy when he needed a nappy change and had to try carry Isaac whilst simultaneously carrying all the things I need. As a barrier cream I used Curash Nappy Rash Spray. This I found was a great product when you’re away and on the go, which made application quick, easy and hands free.
The dry air on the flight causes the skin, nose and throat to dry up, so drinking plenty of water is vital for yourself especially if you are pregnant and for your little one. Another handy item for the flight was the Sukin Hydrating Mist Toner. It comes in a convenient 50mL bottle, perfect for carry on and I would spray it on for myself and Isaac to keep our faces feeling fresh. It also came in handy at our destinations, as a cooling spray from the summer heat.
During pregnancy our sinuses are much more sensitive, so when you’re taking a 24+ hour flight they will be even more so. Fess Frequent Flyer Nasal Spray is a handy product, again appropriate as a carry on, to keep the nasal passage moisturised and help with any congestion you may experience whilst flying. Also ensure that you have a pair of flight socks on for the duration of the flight. I used Scholl Ladies Flight Socks which I found very effective at reducing swelling in my feet and ankles.
For the trip:
I used the following medicines/toiletries bag checklist for Isaac to pack for the trip (besides the usual nappy change items). Most I didn’t have to use (thankfully) but it gave me peace of mind knowing that I had these on hand in case.
- Panadol Children 1 month
- 2 years Liquid: for any fevers and pain.
- Nurofen for Children Baby 3+ months Liquid: for any fevers and pain
- Childrens Claratyne
- 1- 12 years Syrup: for any symptoms or signs of allergy such as rash, watery eyes, sneezing etc.
- Digital Thermometer
- Sunsense Kids 50+ Roll on Sunscreen
- Gaia Hair and Body Wash (Can also be used in the bath if you have one in the hotel room)
- Gaia Baby Massage Oil
Make sure you pack a lot of snacks and packaged drinks for your little one that they are familiar with. Keep toys to minimum but select the most effective ones that keep them entertained when you’re on the go.
Remember to keep a positive outlook and relax, you’d be surprised how adaptable your toddler can be at times, if you prioritise their basic needs of food and sleep. I hope you find this post helpful and possibly even as a source of encouragement to keep adventuring!