My husband and I love traveling. We didn’t stop once we had Dylan. We do things differently, but we do travel quiet a bit with our boy. He has probably been to more places than I have, and he has been on a plane a lot. A lot of people ask me if I’m afraid of traveling with a toddler.
I am not! I’ve been always comfortable actually, since the first time we traveled when he was five months old. It doesn’t mean it’s easy, but I try to make as much comfortable as I can for him and, of course, for me and everyone else around too. I think that’s the key, don’t freak out too much. Most of the trips we take it’s my husband, Dylan, and me. A few trips though, like the next one we’re taking, it’s just Dylan and me flying to another country. And you know what? It will be fine and I won’t (try to) stress out.
Travel with what you know your child loves
I have a few things up my sleeve that usually help Dylan be entertained on the plane and at the airport. I’m an advocate to carry fewer things than necessary, so I refuse to carry tons of toys I don’t know if he will like or not, or things that will entertain him for only a few minutes. I think this is another good thing I’ve learned with travels: know what your kid likes and go with that. Dylan loves cars, stickers, and now that he is 2 and a half years old, he plays games on the iPad.
I’m going to confess that the iPad has been absolutely my best friend on trips. I found amazing apps, mostly apps that you have to pay for it, and it keeps Dylan so entertained. The games are super cute and educational. The free apps usually aren’t that good, have a lot of ads, and crash easily. So if you’re traveling and you’re going to use the iPad, buy the good apps and you won’t regret it.
My favorite apps for toddlers
SAGO MINI WORLD – So many cool games. You pay annually and the games are updated every month. Dylan loves planting seeds, watering the plants, and then feeding the right animal with the right food on one game. He also love building robots with this app and feeding them.
HOMER – I love this app. It might be my favorite! Unfortunately, it just works with Wi-Fi, so we use when we’re at the airport, but not when we’re airborne. It tracks your kids progress and the games are always upgraded as well. We love the pantone colors song, the audio books, and the brain games. Dylan has made some great progress with this app and I highly recommend.
Kiko’s Thinking Time – This app says it’s for 4+ years, but we love it. So many logic and memory games and shapes to match and learn. Dylan doesn’t get all the games yet, but he loves it and keeps trying until he gets it right. He also laughs do hard with some of the games, not sure why.
Elmo loves ABCs and Elmo loves 123 – Well, it’s Elmo and friends teaching ABCs and 123s! Dylan loves the puzzles from this app and I love that you can always make puzzles with more and more pieces, so it gets a bit harder.
All those apps allow you do have a seven-day free trial at least, so it’s a great way to test it out. For free apps I actually like the PBS one. It has little games with all characters from cartoons that PBS plays, and you can watch a bunch of episodes.
Besides these apps we have some other silly ones and I have the Amazon app, where you can download a few movies and TV shoes to watch offline. Currently, Dylan loves Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (it’s free with Amazon Prime), Trolls, Zootopia, and Monsters, Inc.
Non-electronic travel tips
Does any other kid obsess over stickers? Dylan does, so I make sure to have some in my bag for the plane ride. My favorites are the Melissa & Doug reusable stickers that he can use anywhere, many times. Besides that I take snacks — lots of snacks. I play safe with snacks, too, and I’m not going to freak out if he not eating everything he is supposed to. I always bring dry fruits, cookies, lollipops, fig bars, and any snack Dylan is into lately. One bar I love to take that’s very filling for kids is the Kind Pressed Bars — easy to pack, full of protein and fiber.
If your kid has a little stuffed animal he/she loves it and fells safe, calms down when hugging it, don’t forget that. We take “Bubbies”, Dylan’s bunny that he loves and sleeps with it every time.
Keep kids safe on the plane
One more thing that a lot of people don’t know about and it’s a great safety tip: the airplane harness for toddlers! We’ve been getting Dylan his own seat since he was one year old. We usually take long flights and it’s more comfortable for him and for us. We found this harness that is approved by the FAA and it works out great. To tell you the truth, it would be really cool if all the airlines provided this, but unfortunately they don’t. We often get flight attendants coming to us and saying how much they love that we use that. We use this harness.
And last, but not least, always try to enjoy your flight. Try to make comfortable not just for you kid, but for yourself too. Traveling, in general, is tiring, so don’t put pressure on yourself. Bring things that will make you and your kid comfortable and happy. Don’t try to force anything. Have a wonderful trip!
What are your favorite travel tips for toddlers?
Fernanda Seelos contributed this post as a guest writer. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, 2 year old son, and two kittens. Originally from Brazil, Fernanda has lived here for over 11 years. She and her family love the on-the-go city life. They love to travel, especially with their toddler, which isn’t an easy task, but always fun. She enjoys sharing their lifestyle on social media, and you can see more from Fernanda on her blog and her Instagram.