International Travel With A Toddler

Sounds scary, I know and  now imagine flying with your one year-old by yourself! I can’t tell you how many nights before our departure I had been laying in bed thinking how I was going to survive those 10 hours stuck on a plane with my quite active baby. I had spent time reading other posts and with great relief I can now share my own successful story about our international travel with my toddler and hope you can find my tips and tricks useful if you have an upcoming trip!

The reason for another trip by myself to Germany from Dallas, TX was a family reunion/ trip for my grandparents 80th birthday last year and I’m so glad my husband encouraged me to go. The first time I took Luca was when he was only 5 months old and he slept a whole lot more than now. But honestly it went better than back in October! Here are seven tips that made the traveling so much easier for me, Luca and everyone else on the plane 🙂

  1. Snacks: The power of food is incredible! At the time of the flight some of his favorite foods were (cut) grapes, strawberries, pouches, and puffs. I found it helpful to place snacks in this Munchkin snack cup which make it more interesting getting food out and helps with food spillage! Anything that would occupy Luca for even 5 minutes is a win!
  2. Fly over night: I know, some flights are set for day or night but if possible choose a flight in the late afternoon! We departed a little after 4 pm and spend about 2 1/2 hours playing, snacking, eating dinner, getting “bed-ready”  and going to sleep at the usual bed time. We got very lucky with having two extra seats next to use so Luca slept for a good 5 hours and only woke up an hour before landing. I actually got to eat dinner in peace and watch a movie!
  3. Window seat: We actually didn’t get to sit by the window but I know he was so interested in seeing what was going on outside the plane. It worked out well for us sitting in the middle with two extra seats but that’s not the norm. I had booked his ticket as a “lap child” which you are able to do until your child is two years old and was worried I’d be stuck with him on my lap for the whole ride (which did happen on the way back home). But if you are on a full plane having the window and the view as a distraction can be helpful!
  4. Blanket fort: As mentioned before on the plane ride home we didn’t get so lucky and were stuck in the middle row in the very center seat, and I thought this is never going to work out! Luca is usually very active and loves crawling, scooting around and can’t get enough from walking alongside me. But when it was time for his nap and everything around us was still bright, noisy and cramped it was a good option to hold a blanket over us to create a calmer and darker environment. And lucky enough we had two successful naps on my lap during a 10 hour flight that left at 11 am.
  5. Night time routine: Another trick that worked out really well for our over night flight was keeping our regular bed routine. Leaving at 4.15 pm left us with exactly 3 hours before bedtime. We played, snacked, and had dinner, and then “got ready for bed”. We went to the lavatory, changed into Pj’s, brushed teeth and back in our seat I nursed him and he fell right asleep. I held him a little longer than usually to make sure he was deep asleep and moved him on the empty seats next to us.
  6. Favorite lovey/ stuffed animal: That’s probably a no-brainer but being in a new environment with lots of new noises, people and smells can be difficult for the little ones, so bringing something familiar like a stuffed animal, favorite toys, or loveys can comfort them.
  7. Child friendly music, TV show or game on iPad/iPhone: This is my last point because I only wanted to have that option as “if nothing else helps” and emergency. We don’t allow any screen time on the TV or phone but I was willing to make an exception if there were to be a meltdown. Luckily we didn’t even use my phone at all on the way to Europe, only going back to the States he watched the first part of a Curious George and sort of played with the apps. What was helpful were these LilGadgets headphones for children and the following apps: Little Fox, Bloom Tunes, and My First Words available in the App Store.

I hope you find this post helpful for an upcoming trip! Let me know if you have anymore tips and tricks we have another trip coming up in July with my husband’s family. Hope everyone has an amazing weekend!

xoxo, Lisa

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