Traveling with a toddler for the first time? Scared of the unknown ahead? Worried what to pack, how to choose the hotel and weather to bring your mother-in-law or not? Worry no more. This handy list of 10 essentials to Toddler Travel will make planning your trip a breeze of fresh ocean air.
Pack all the necessities.
When packing for a vacation with a toddler make sure you allocate at least two suitcases for diapers, toys, snacks, bottles, thick clothes, thin clothes, summer clothes, winter clothes and more diapers. And then one more suitcase for medicine and emergency supplies. Make sure you are ready for allergies, fever, bug bites, diarrhea, poisoning, nausea, bruises, nuclear war and the end of the world. If you have space left for adult clothes – you are not prepared enough. Watch a couple of episodes of Dr. House and pack some more.
Forget about the enjoyable flight
Remember the times when you started your trip with a glass of champagne in the lounge before leisurely boarding the plane. Then while en route to your happy place, enjoying a quick meal before drifting off to sleep or watching a movie. Well, with a toddler it changes ever so slightly. If you manage through security without a major tantrum and reach your seat, be prepared to have enough cartoons, snacks, toys and child-friendly passengers around you. If yo are able to sneak in a glass of wine in between entertaining your toddler and calming the old lady behind you, your experience will be a slightly less painful one.
Chose a child-friendly hotel
Forget about funky, chic hotels with deep pools, strong alcohol and adult entertainment. Your criteria will now need to include a shallow sea, ankle-deep pools and plenty of pasta and bread for dinner. Make sure the resort has a kids club that is open 24/7 and a bar that is in close proximity to the kiddie pool. Bonus points go to hotels with free nannies and soundproof walls.
Adjust your sleeping schedule
I know you always secretly dreamed of seeing the sun rising over the ocean while throwing a coin into the waters and dreaming of your future together. Luckily, you will now have the opportunity to do so every single day of your vacation! The only difference will be that your future will now be jumping up and down on the bed and you and your loved one will be throwing a coin to see who will get the privilege of sleeping for an extra hour.
Be ready to get sandy
Long gone will be the days when you spent your vacation on a lounge chair by the pool with a piña colada in one hand and a book in the other. I now strongly suggest you familiarize yourself with the yet unknown area of the resort – the beach, because for your toddler it manifests as one giant sandbox with an unlimited amount of mud. Besides, once you get used to finding sand in the most unlikely of body parts you will actually have fun!
Learn to eat fast
On a positive note, you will no longer need to stand in line to reserve the a la carte restaurants. That is because you will most likely not get a chance to eat in one and the buffet will become your best friend. Make sure you inspect the buffet in advance and are prepared to produce rice, bread, fruit and cake within minutes of sitting down. Then you will have another couple of minutes to find something you want to eat and consume it. Most likely you will not finish your plate by the time your toddler is done picking at the rice in which case be prepared with an unlimited supply of cartoons on a charged iPad. You didn’t forget to bring the iPad, right?
Hope for clouds
Skin cancer will be the least of your worries when vacationing with a toddler as your body will doubtfully see any sun. The dreaded cloudy week will be your dream come true because of the ability to enjoy the day with your child without waking up at 5am to reserve a shaded lounge and constantly reapplying SPF100.
Forget about extreme excursions
Most of us enjoy a good zip lining adventure or a day on the catamaran with unlimited rum during our vacations. Fortunately for your insurance agent, those will be out of the question. Unless you want your toddler to experience seasickness while strapped on a boat with a bunch of drunken strangers or clipped onto a fragile-looking zip line, I suggest keeping fun activities to throwing sand at people and peeing in the pool.
Bring as much help as you can
Vacation with a toddler is probably the most un-romantic holiday imaginable. And as such, don’t think twice about bringing along grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and pets. Remember all the things you have ever done for them and use it to your advantage. Blackmail, threats and begging are all allowed. Promise everyone sunshine, ocean and alcohol. When everyone is securely checked into the hotel only then do you provide everyone with their daily mandatory child-caring tasks for the week.
The most important part of vacationing with a toddler is to actually enjoy it! After all, how many times will you see the authentic awe and happiness that is your child when they see the ocean for the first (or tenth) time? A vacation with a toddler is surely no romantic getaway filled with dinners on the beach and partying. It’s is so much more. It is the time you spend with your family; it is the making of memories; it is the pure happiness that only a child can bring.
At the end of the day, you can always start planning your adult vacation once you get back.
About the Author: Maria Petrov is the the owner and designer of her jewelry Line MariaP Jewellery, blog writer, mom and active admin of Toronto Mommies group. You can find Maria on her Facebook Page.