Contrary to popular belief, traveling the world with a toddler in tow is all very possible. Some parents make traveling with a child sound like living hell—but the truth is, most of them don’t know how to do it right.
Yes, traveling with a child can be tough, but don’t let the horror stories stop you from living out your travel dreams. If you want to start traveling the world with your toddler in tow, here are several tips that can make that endeavor much easier.
Packing light may be easier said than done when you’re traveling with a child, but it is certainly not impossible. Keeping your luggage light will not only make getting to and fro easier, but it can also reduce your expenses and give you more peace of mind.
Here are some tips on how you can pack light when traveling with a toddler:
- Do laundry. Bring fewer clothes and plan to do laundry wherever you are staying.
- Buy the essentials when you get there. For diapers, clothes, baby wipes, and other essentials, buy them at the local store when you get to your destination. Pack just enough to last you for the trip to get there.
- Ship items in advance. If you plan to stay long-term at a destination, consider shipping some clothes, toddler essentials, and large items (e.g., strollers, baby beds, etc.) in advance.
- Don’t overthink. Overthinking what you need can lead to overpacking. Keep it simple and pack only the essentials.
Be prepared to entertain
Toddlers get bored easily, and when they get bored, it’s either they throw a tantrum or bother you. To avoid this from happening, bring toys that they won’t easily get bored with, such as construction toys for kids. However, don’t bring too many toys to not go against the first tip, which is to keep your luggage light. Bring a few favorite toys, and then come up with other ways to entertain them during the trip.
For example, you can give them random items on a plane (but sanitize them first) like paper cups or tissue paper. Very young children can make playthings of anything anyway, and something as simple as transferring water from one cup to another can keep them entertained for a long time.
Choose the right accommodation
When picking out a place to stay with your child, always make sure that it is child-friendly. This means avoiding hostels, hotels marketed for couples, and other types of accommodation that won’t be ideal for your toddler.
Furthermore, pick a place that is highly accessible through public transport and is near all the essentials (supermarket, hospital, convenience stores, etc.). It is often challenging to take your toddler everywhere with you, but staying in a place that is a short distance away from everything can make moving around a lot easier.
Purchase a tracking device
One of the worst-case scenarios for a parent is losing your child—and it is way worse if it happens in a foreign place. As an extra precaution against this potential risk, buy a tracking device and ensure that your child always has it on their person whenever you go out. If they get separated from you, a tracking device can easily tell you their GPS location on your phone.
Establish a routine
Children thrive on structure. At very young ages, they require routine and consistency to feel safe and develop healthy habits. Traveling can certainly put them in for a loop, but this doesn’t mean you can’t give them a semblance of structure—no matter where you are in the world.
A great way to do this is to maintain consistent times for meals, baths, toothbrushing, and all of those routine tasks. Although there will be days when you can’t stick to the routine (e.g. when traveling from one destination to another), a little unpredictability won’t be too bad for your child. In fact, going off of their normal routine can help them grow and mature like a true adventurer.
You’ve probably already heard all the grisly details of parents traveling with their small children; the plane ordeals, the airport meltdowns, the picky eater habits at unfamiliar restaurants, and all that jazz. But although traveling with a toddler is often a challenge, it shouldn’t stop you from fulfilling your dream of traveling the world. And apart from helping you achieve your goals, traveling with your toddler can also help them grow and develop as a person.