Saturday, February 11, 2012

Getting Ready for Toddler Travelling

I haven't travelled very far with a toddler. I haven't taken a toddler on an airplane before. I have been on planes with parents who have brought their babies/toddlers on a trip. And sometimes those babies have screamed for the entire duration of the flight. I did not want to be one of those parents, or for my toddler to be one of those toddlers. Mostly because babies on flights are not typically crying tears of joy, and I didn't want Jaden's experience on the plane to be a miserable one. When the baby aint happy, aint nobody least on airplanes anyway.

I read a bunch of articles about making travelling easier on little ones. The only thing that I seemed to be able to control was providing Jaden with something special and something familiar. I chose to do this by making a special travel sack.

Since I'm not tricky enough to come up with my own sewing pattern, I turned to blogland for a tutorial on how to make a hobo sac and found a fantastic one at Dana Made It. Here's how my travel sack turned out.

I used some of the same material I made Jaden's toddler bibs out of,  Cars on white from the Ready Set Go collection from Robert Kauffman. Such super cute material! And it is 100% organic cotton. I really love this fabric.

After it was made, I stuffed it with Jaden's favorite toys.

And then I let him play with it for a few days so he could get used to it as being his. I thought I would get him occupied with it once we had boarded the plane and settled in our seats, but Jaden was more interested in other things, particularly what was outside of the airplane window.

He wanted to see who else was on the plane. There was another toddler in the seat in front of Jaden. He spent a few minutes baby chatting with his airplane friend through the crack between the seat and the window.

He finally settled in Daddy's lap and played some games on the Nexus.

Once the flight took off, things went pretty smoothly. He wouldn't drink from his sippy cup and experienced a little discomfort in his ears, but he did well after only one or two little screams. He even eventually became interested in the toys his sack was holding for him and occupied himself for the flight. Travelling with a toddler wasn't as bad as I had anticipated! (so far, so good!)

While we were in Orlando, we pushed him everywhere in a new stroller. We already had two strollers, but one was way too big, and the other was a basic umbrella stroller. I wanted something compact to carry and comfortable for Jaden. So we bought this one:


It was perfect for our trip. It folds and unfolds pretty easily. When folded up, it was small enough to fit in the trunk of our rental car, and to take with us on the monorail and other people moving transportation in the parks of Disney World. With a padded, reclining seat, tray, and sunshade it had all of the comfort Jaden needed. The basket and the parent tray also came in very handy for carting around toddler essentials (diaper, wipes, sippy cups) and jackets for when it got chilly. Having it was a huge factor in the success of our vacation.

The most important thing I learned when travelling with a toddler is to be prepared in advance for every situation. Bring something that is familiar and special to them. Make sure they are comfortable and well fed. Make sure that some of the activities planned are kid-centric. And always always pack at least one extra set of clothing wherever you go.

Jaden's travel sack now goes with us wherever we go. He loves having it in his lap when we are in the car. Overall, he's a pretty good traveller these days!


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