Traveling with toddlers can be both tiring and extremely rewarding—there’s nothing quite like seeing the world through tiny, curious eyes. Through mostly trial-and-error (heavy on the error), I’ve determined that there are certain things that we must bring when traveling with our 2-yr-old. Here’s our list of “must-haves.”
• A small backpack. Most toddlers love to feel “in control” of their things and surroundings. A great way to help them with this is to bring along a small backpack in which they can carry lightweight items. You can help your toddler thing through what he or she needs to put in the backpack each day (kleenex, snacks, etc.) thereby training young travelers to pack and be entirely responsible for their own bags someday.
• Wet wipes, bug spray, sunscreen. It’s easy to forget these basics (trust me!) and, fortunately, it’s also easy to find them in most destinations. Whether you think ahead and bring them from home or purchase them on-site, wet wipes, bug spray and sunscreen are all necessities. (Now that I carry them all the time, I can’t remember what I ever did before wet wipes!)
• A frozen water bottle and light snacks. Bring a reusable water bottle and, if possible, freeze water in it every night. Remove it from the freezer in the morning and bring it along as you’re sightseeing. When your toddler becomes thirsty, you’ll have ice-cold water to offer her. To maintain your little traveler’s blood sugar, pack a variety of healthy snacks (dried fruit, crackers, etc.) to munch as you embark on your daily adventures.
• Distractions. Traveling inevitably involves periods of waiting around and/or long flights/train rides. Be sure to bring along favorite lightweight books, sewing cards, portable art supplies, and apps/games to keep your wee one happy and occupied.
• Your sense of humor and flexibility. The difficult moments that are sure to arise when traveling with a toddler are much more bearable if you can see the humor in things. Stay relaxed and flexible when it comes to your travel plans and circumstances. Chances are, your toddler will pick up on your laid-back vibe and (hopefully) follow suit. Even if he doesn’t, at least you’ll be happier if you take a relaxed approach to your family travels.
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