Tips for traveling with toddlers
There’s no denying it – the reality of taking your young kids on vacation can be tough! Traveling with toddlers could be really challenging.
This period in their lives is filled with potty training, learning to walk, learning to communicate, and becoming filled with a new curiosity for everything around them.
In spite of these challenges you may face, whoever said that having children stops you from traveling was wrong!
Traveling with your children doesn’t have to mean two weeks of tantrums – it can be an amazing experience, where you’ll create everlasting memories as a family.
Here are our top tips for incorporating your toddlers into the travel that you’ve always enjoyed.
Before the Adventure Begins
Prepare your Paperwork
If you’re traveling to a country where you need a visa, check to see if the requirements are the same for the kids as well.
If you have adopted children, investigate to see if you’ll need to bring adoption papers with you as proof, or if you’re traveling alone, check to be sure if you need to get written consent from the other parent.
Arrange Emergency Cards or Bracelets
It can be valuable to purchase an emergency bracelet for your children, which shows your contact information if they get lost, as well as important medical information.
These silicone bracelets from The ID Band Co, are durable and waterproof, and come in a range of colors.
If you or your kids have any allergies, it’s worth considering an allergy card, which can translate your allergies in up to 43 different languages.
Get them Adjusted
If you are traveling with toddlers for the first time, prepare them by playing ‘airplane games’ at home, leading up to the flight. This could make them feel more comfortable, or even excited, about their first airborne journey!
You can also get them ready for the vacation by introducing them to your destination through maps, pictures, and mini history and wildlife lessons to acclimatize them – or even experiment with new flavors from local recipes in your home kitchen!
Try a Vacation or Timeshare Rental
Vacation and timeshare rentals are a great option, and are a perfect accommodation option for families!
For instance, you'll be able to find in Cancun awesome resorts with daily kids club, keeping the little ones entertained with activities such as, arts and crafts– and providing you with some well-deserved time to yourselves!
Vacation rentals can serve as a spacious, contained, and safe place for the entire family, like Krystal Cancun’s ample family studios, offering everything you could need with all the luxuries of a 5-star hotel, and the privacy of home – check out our rentals page for more information.
Avoid a Jam-packed Itinerary
As a parent, you’ll have to be flexible with your plans, but also be aware of your child’s (likely short) attention span – don’t plan more than one thing each day, and if you want to do some sightseeing, make sure there is something they’ll love later on in the day and can look forward to.
You can use an app such as TripIt to visualize your itinerary and find a balance of activities, relaxation, and sightseeing that works for everyone!
Be realistic about what you can cover, and go for an overall slower pace.
It can be refreshing to watch your child experience a new country or culture for the first time, and you’ll take more notice of the little things.
Getting on Your Way
Pack for the Plane
Make sure that everyone is wearing loose, comfortable clothing on the plane, with plenty of layers to put on or take off depending on temperature.
Check to see if your airline provides travel pillows or blankets, and if not then pack your own to make for a more pleasant flight!
Make sure you have emergency essentials, including wet wipes, sick bags, and pull-ups: even if your little one is toilet trained, this could be a real life saver on a delayed flight!
When traveling with toddlers, let them choose one cuddly toy to bring (just not their favorite in case it gets lost), and pack some extra entertainment, such as picture books, or a coloring book to keep them busy on the flight.
Check-in online as early as possible, to ensure that you can all sit together, which will make the flight easier on everyone.
Bonus pro-tip – call your airline far in advance to see if you can reserve the front row of economy, which the airline often blocks off for families at no extra charge!
Play Equipment-free Games
Games are a must for preventing boredom on long journeys.
Start by looking out of the plane window and enjoying the view! Pointing out tiny cars, fields, buildings, mountains, or clouds could easily burn half an hour of flight time, and they’ll be amazed by their first flying experience!
After this, you can try equipment-free games to reduce the weight of your carry-on, such as Eye-Spy, or 20 questions. No-equipment games are great for the whole holiday, as they are easy to play on the move!
For instance, a daily treasure hunt where they must find a list of objects – such as a leaf, a heart-shaped rock, or a coconut – will be a great idea when traveling with toddlers and it will allow you to enjoy the day’s activities.
Once You're There
Consider the Climate
If it’s hot, remember to take plenty of water out and about with you, and encourage your toddlers to drink frequently.
Make sure they’re wearing sunscreen all over, and are dressed appropriately, including a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
If you’re out for the day, make regular stops where they can sit in the shade – you’ll likely welcome the rest as well.
Take Advantage of Family Discounts
Most tourist attractions or tours will offer a lower price for a child or family ticket.
Attractions such as Selvatica or Xcaret Park in Mexico offer discounted child admission, and often have online family deals that can save you some money on a family day out!
Make Regular Toilet Stops
If you’re spending the day exploring the local wildlife or the city, or even just heading to the beach, you’ll be surprised by how much easier things will feel if you research the available toilet stops on your route in advance.
Make these stops regularly, and even if they insist that they ‘don’t need to go’, take them anyway – better safe than sorry!
Tell a Story
Research the history of the places you’re visiting and turn it into an interesting narrative for the kids as you walk around.
If there’s a cool story involved, they’re more likely to be invested, and before you know it they’ll be hooked on sightseeing and all the great stories and adventures that comes with it!
Stop for Ice Cream
Just do it. Trust us, it works every time.
Find Creative Ways to Remember Your Trip
Take plenty of photographs for the family album that you’ll pore over for years to come, but find other ways to remember your vacation as well – perhaps bring home a souvenir, an item of furniture or clothing, a badge, or a toy.
Consider keeping a scrapbook journal that you can all contribute to with journal entries, doodles, stamps, postcards, tickets, travel maps, and foreign language words you’ve learnt.
Your kids will really appreciate the group interactivity, and will probably enjoy having a project to work on, that they can look back on when they’re older.
Despite the challenges it can sometimes present, we strongly encourage traveling with toddlers!
Seeing them encounter travel for the first time, and explore everything with such innocence, curiosity, and wonder, will be an incredible experience for you. It may even force you to stop and appreciate the little things.
Plus, you’ll be making memories as a family that you’ll cherish for the rest of your lives!
For more family-friendly travel tips check out the rest of our blog !