Traveling With Toddlers: How To Thrive at 10,000 Feet

Yep, we’re about to take the journey (AGAIN) that maybe some of you mom’s and dad’s have before and that is- traveling over 7,000 miles with a toddler!!!

Ahhhh, did that make anyone else just cringe? Or grab for the puke bag?

Wouldn’t it just be easier to travel that distance once he’s older? We get this question a lot.

Maybe. But easier isn’t always better, especially when you have family between two main countries and only get to see them 2x a year.

Traveling with a toddler doesn’t HAVE to be as exhausting and stressful as it sounds. A sports analogy Chey’s dad always reminded her of that she can apply to 31480034 things in life is: “A good defense is the best offense.”

Bascially, BE PREPARED – as BEST you can. Prep for the worst, and expect the best!

This will now be our toddler’s FORTH trip across the world with our special little man (2 solo with mama & now 2 with Daddy’s too), and with all these trips, we’ve learned a lot of DOs and DONTs along the way that we wanted to share with you.

First up…

DO bring your husband!

Haha, we HAD to put this one first – especially since our son’s first two trips between Europe and the States, Chey did alone. This time around, she is SO thankful to know she will have that second set of hands. If you find yourself, like she did before, traveling alone with a baby or toddler, do yourself (and your little one) a favor and ask for and accept all help. Whether it’s another mama waiting in line with you or a friendly flight attendant, allow others to help you. This is NOT the time to activate your Super Woman status and try to do it all. You’ll be so happy later on during the travel for the extra hands, extra napkin or extra set of eyes you had from that kind stranger.

DO pack MORE than enough diapers, wipes & sets of clothes

There are some things you do NOT want to run out of & have to scour an airport for and that is diapers, wipes & extra sets of clothes. Even if your little doesn’t have hardly any “accidents” anymore, pack extra. You don’t want a sudden blow out, when your plane is about to land, and you have no clean clothes or an extra diaper to put him in. We’ve been there. Done that.

DO NOT pack too many toys

Ok, here’s your first DON’T! Write this one down: Remember, often times, kids favorite toys are the NON toys. In most airports & air planes, there are a lot of free pamplets, napkins, spoons, forkc & etc. that your little one will love to discover and play with. You don’t want to scramble around for your passport at check-in while trying to get around the 12 blocks, 3 books & extra soft giraffe you packed in the diaper bag. If this sounds realistic, it’s because Chey has been there too. #JustDontDoit

DO bring snacks for baby AND yourself

Chey is a HUGE planner & likes to be as prepared as possible. With all of her traveling, she’s learned to not RELY on airlines to have food you may enjoy or give it to you when hunger suddenly strikes. You don’t want a famished baby relying on others for their food. When our son was 3 months old, Chey packed 2 days worth of milk & bottles in his diaper bag (again – just in case!) Then, as he’s gotten older, we are still packing ample amount of snacks for him (and ourselves) to get us through the long flights.

Some of our go-to favorites are: rice crackers, granola bars, dried fruit, nuts & fresh fruit – which only lasts for the first few hours. Side note: If your baby still requires milk, you can ask the airline employees to keep a bottle cold or even bring you warm water if necessary.

DO bring an extra plastic bag for old diapers & wet clothes

Sometimes our babies will poop, pee or make other bodily fluids at the most inopportune times. For the moments you aren’t able to get to a trash can, bring an extra plastic bag to hold trash temporarily until you can properly dispose of it later.

DO bring your stroller with you to the gate

Chey has had so many mom’s ask her whether they should BRING the stroller with them through the airport or check it. She will ALWAYS say: BRING IT! Every airplane we’ve flown on allowed has allowed us to bring it all the way to the gate. They then put it under the plane for us. It is always ready when we get off the plane to make our next layover or at my final destination. When our son was younger & Chey flew when he was 3 & 8 months old, she also brought the car seat with her on the plane. In that way, he had a safe seat to sit in (and sleep in) for the flight.

On a side note: If your baby is still under 20 lbs., ask for the baby cot! It is a GOD SEND on long flights. It’s a cot that attaches in the seat or on the airplane wall & gives your way a “bassinet” type of bed to lie in to sleep on the plane. This may even just allow mommy or daddy to catch a few winks too.

DO NOT sweat the small stuff

Your baby might cry. He might pull out all the pamplets out of the seats one by one (true story). She may puke on the person in the seat next to you (we hope not), and he may tickle the feet of the person trying to sleep on the plane. Take a deep breathe when these things happen, and just let it go. Let your baby crawl where you typically wouldn’t. Let them watch a show on your phone or eat a few too many airplane crackers. This is the time for you to relax and focus on a safe & happy flight – NOT to win the “Mom or Dad Of The Year” award.

And most of all…DO NOT forget to have fun!

Take pictures when you can – or ask another friendly mama you meet to take one of you & your family. It may feel like an experience you just can’t wait to end – but aim to enjoy it and relish in all the memories you are making.

Do you have any questions for us?

Did we miss something?

Comment below or come ask away & say HEY on our Instagram: @TheCleymans

Looking forward to chatting with you soon & sharing photos from our trips to the USA!

-Kim & Cheyanne Cleyman

Published by Kim & Cheyanne Cleyman

Married Belgian-American couple living in Europe helping families connect through fitness across cultures and continents; with a passion for well-being - mind, body, heart and soul.

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