Travelling with your toddler made easy

Tips to make holidays and travel with your toddler stress-free

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Here’s what other mums suggest when you’re travelling with your toddler, to make your family holiday as relaxing as possible…

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Plan ahead when travelling with your toddler

“My tip is to send things ahead. We’ve sent a box of heavy things, such as food, formula and nappies, to the hotel so we don’t have to carry them in our luggage and as most of it will be used during the holiday, we won’t have to carry it back. On a trip to Bali we left behind things we wouldn’t need again – such as toys and clothes my son had grown out of – which really helped some local people.”

Natalie, 33, mum to Callum, 3, and Katie, 7 weeks

Keep your routine and familiarity

“I try to keep to the same routine on holiday as at home. Ethan is used to having his bath at 7pm, but we like to eat out while we’re away, so we pop him into his pyjamas after his bath, then put him in the buggy with his bottle. By the time we’ve walked to the restaurant he’s finished his milk and dozed off, so it works perfectly.”

Anna, 34, mum to Tom, 9, Ethan, 2, and Lee, 9 months

“We went away when Matilda was 6 months old and I found the easiest thing to do was to travel as close to her nap times as possible and to get her into her usual routine as soon as we landed. I also took her sleeping bag and a cuddly toy, so she had things that smelt of home.”

Rachel, 35, mum to Matilda, 3, and Asher, 6 months

“To help Julia settle to sleep in a new room we brought the sheets that had been on her bed at home.”

Sharon, 29, mum to Julia, 17 months

Flying with your toddler

“I took Julia on holiday to Gran Canaria when she was 16 months. For the flight I brought her lots of new things to play with, such as crayons, fuzzy felts, stickers and building blocks, and I wrapped them up so it took her a while to open them.”

Sharon, 29, mum to Julia, 17 months

How to prevent travel sickness

“Stick a strip of Micropore tape (available from chemists, for around £1.99) behind the bottom half of both ears. It works for us.”

Lucy, 35, mum to Darcy, 4, and Edward, 2

“We play games that keep them looking ahead out of the front window, rather than the side windows (which seem to make them sick). Try the game where you have to be the first one to spot a bridge, lorry, the sea, etc.”

Carrie, 32, mum to Oscar, 5, Natalie, 3, and Kyran, 2

“Always carry a packet of ginger biscuits on a journey. My children won’t take ginger in any other form, but they’ll never refuse a biscuit and it seems to help settle their tummies.”

Deborah, 29, mum to Kellie, 3, and Sam, 18 months

Coping with boredom on long journeys

Whether it’s driving or flying, travel for your toddler can be pretty boring. While you want to keep your toddler entertained, you don’t want to buy a load of new toys just for travelling.

There’s a cheaper option to keep your toddler entertained on the journey that’s just as effective, says Thomas Lynch of Thomson/First Choice holidays. “Hide away a couple of popular toys a month before you go away, then bring them back out again on the day you’re travelling.”

But what if you have to travel light? “If you’re going by plane, just pack some crayons and ask for a sick bag for the kids to draw on – these tend to be made of white paper and I often use them to scribble notes on myself,” says Thomas.

If you’re travelling by car, the essential item to pack is a ball, according to Andy Taylor, the AA’s Patrol Man of the Year.

“Plan your stops so you park somewhere off the motorway where there’s a patch of green,” says Andy. “Then let the kids have a kick-about for 10 minutes or so, to let off steam and tire them out. If you’re travelling for more than three hours I’d advise stopping every two hours.”

“And if you’re travelling with a very young toddler, the key is not what to pack but when to travel,” says Andy.

Will my toddler get jetlag?

  • Your child will generally deal better with jet lag than an adult so don’t worry too much
  • The more time zones you cross, the longer it takes to adapt
  • Travelling east to west is generally easier on the body than west to east
  • Don’t be tempted to give your child an antihistamine to make him drowsy – it may make it harder for him to adjust to the new time zone
  • During the flight, make sure your child drinks lots of water or diluted juice and eats healthy snacks
  • Once you arrive, keep your child up until the new location’s bedtime and wake him at the right time the next morning
  • Have meals at the correct times for the new time zone (except for a baby, who should be fed on demand)
  • Plan outdoor activities for the first few days – exposure to sunlight will help you all adjust to the new time zone
  • Get your child moving – having plenty of exercise will help you all get over jetlag

Mum’s Story:

“Regular stops are the answer”

“I have found that traveling with my two runs a lot smoother (although takes a lot longer) when you make a stop regularly. Once the kids start to winge, you know your time is limited. Let them knock themselves out for half an hour then you can have a peaceful ride for longer.”

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Merissa, 34, mum to Megan and Madeline, both 4

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