We just returned from a trip to Vermont to visit my old high school and my grandmother’s summer cabin, which has been a part of summers in our family for some 60 years now. Our last trip as a family was a bit rough and not all that relaxing, so I was nervous about more travel, this time across the country. This trip, however, turned out to be fun for all three of us, and we all came home feeling refreshed. Why the difference? I think it was part luck, part adjusted attitude and expectations, and part experience from past trips.
I wrote a travel tips post last fall after a trip when BabyC was 11 months old, and I think I still agree with most of those. However, traveling with a 19-month-old is a bit different, and I thought I’d share some of the lessons learned along the way.
Don’t expect your toddler to nap on the plane. This used to be the holy grail of travel for me. We used to plan flights around nap time. We’d try to keep our time in the airport exciting and stimulating so that BabyC would sleep on the flight, and that actually worked pretty well most of the time. But now that BabyC is a toddler, this strategy has backfired on us a few times, and we’ve adopted a new one: Encourage sleep whenever she’s tired. It is better to board a plane with a cheerful, well-rested toddler and spend the entire flight playing games and singing songs and looking out the window than to have an over-tired, over-stimulated toddler who fights sleep with every ounce of remaining energy. When BabyC sleeps on planes, we love it, but we no longer count on it. My Two Hats published a post on Travel with Toddlers just before we left for this trip, and she included the same tip, which was a timely reminder for us.
Don’t expect an iPad to entertain a toddler for a flight. At least not my toddler. Read more