Flying with a toddler is usually more complicated than flying with a baby or children above the age of five years. The fundamental issues with flying with a toddler are that they are too young to understand the challenges of flying, and they are constantly moving about. They are also prone to crying (loudly) and have extremely short attention spans.
As a toddler parent, it is impossible to foresee a meltdown, and no amount of preparation can help if your toddler decides to wail at the top of their lungs. However, being prepared is much better than not when it comes to how to travel with your toddler, whether it’s a road trip or plane flight. Toddlers are too unpredictable to hope that they will smile and coo like angels throughout the trip. Before we get into the planning part of the flying process, you should ensure everything else is taken care of in advance. It is best to get immigration advice about the necessary documentation and paperwork required and all the copies and travel papers you will need to keep on you if you plan to stay abroad a while. If only one parent is traveling abroad with a toddler — even for a quick trip to another country — it’s important to have documentation that shows both parents have agreed to the trip. It is also critical to have all the visa information to ensure you are not halted at immigration checkpoints anywhere.
Let us look at some tips to help you travel with your toddler.
Get to the Airport Early
Getting to the airport early allows you to pass through check-in, customs, and immigration in peace. It also allows your toddler to get used to the new sights and sounds, smells, and people around. Many toddlers feel anxious about new places and seeing new people (mainly if your toddler is used to being at home during the coronavirus pandemic). Airports can get overwhelming and cause unexpected pooping and peeing from the anxiety. It is best to be well prepared, stay stress-free, and ensure you have enough time to take care of everything. If you are unsure about the paperwork and documentation you may need to keep on you, it is best to speak to US immigration lawyers and be prepared for any surprises. Doing this will ensure you take your time, have all the documentation ready, and not stress about your baby.
Divide and Conquer
Suppose you are traveling with your partner or spouse. In that case, it is best to let one person get on board first, sanitize the seats, gate-check the stroller, stow the carry-ons, and manage everything in-flight while the other person entertains the toddler and any other children at the departure gate. Most airlines prefer having parents board young children first, but that means getting a restless toddler surrounded by noisy people putting up their bags. Instead, it is best to enter last and quickly claim your seats once your partner has arranged and set everything else up. It is ideal to board first with the kids if you are traveling alone since you will have no other choice. However, if you are hard-pressed for space, you may need to request other passengers for someplace to keep the toys, extra diapers, and other small things.
Ship Everything Else
If you are migrating and have someone there to collect items, it is best to ship all your toddler’s belongings so you do not have to worry about finding their preferred toys and clothes in a new place. Many stores also offer curbside pick-up offers, so you can book everything in advance, and someone could go pick it up for you before you arrive. It is best to only keep the essentials while traveling –diapers, baby wipes, antibacterial multi-surface astringent and wipes, extra clothes, and blankets.
Keep The Toddler Entertained
Necessities like favorite snacks, dry foods, and some drinks will keep your toddler happy during the flight. It is best to include all the favorite foods and beverages while on the flight. Not getting their favorite food and being forced to eat or drink something else may result in a meltdown.
You should also pack their favored toys, blanket, and pajamas. One tip that works is gift wrapping inexpensive toys in tissues or paper and giving them to the baby to unwrap. The excitement of getting a gift, coupled with their short attention space, helps keep them entertained for a few minutes each time. These gifts need not be expensive. They just have to be creative – a red crayon, a blue crayon, a small toy car, a box of band-aids, a new packet of stickers, and so on will keep your toddler entertained endlessly on the flight. You will only need to carry a garbage bag to chuck all the excess wrapping paper from the gifts, food wrappers, and juice boxes.