We recently got back from our first family holiday with our lovely toddler. We went to the Welsh coast, near Tenby. The downside of travelling to this beautiful place is the very long car journey. It took us 5 hours to get there in the car, and 6.5 hours to get back (because we got stuck in traffic). I was quite nervous to be travelling that far with a young toddler, but he did very well. He was perfect on the way out, and on the way back got a bit antsy near the end, but all in all it went very well. So I thought I would share my top toddler travelling tips, in case anyone is going on a car, train or plane journey with a toddler and needs to find ways to entertain them plus a couple of tips from some of the things I wish I had done.
1. Comfort – the first thing I did was change the car seat into the recline position, added a head rest, had a blanket nearby, and made sure there was plenty of space around his feet. It is a long journey so comfort is important.
2. Sit in the back seat with him – that way I can play games with him, pass him food and toys more easily.
3. Hide some of his toys, before the trip, then bring them out for the journey.
4. Buy a new toy, especially for the trip. I found this LeapFrog My Discovery House at my local NCT Nearly new sale. It kept him quiet for over an hour, I couldn’t believe it.
5. Pack a mixture of food and snacks, in little pots that he has to open (keep him entertained as well as feeding him), including some of his favourite foods. Nate loves fruit so we packed a mixture.
6. Download some iPhone, iPad or smartphone apps for him to play with. Nate’s favourite apps include:
Peekaboo Barn (there is a free version, although I have upgraded to the paid one because it is his favourite game)
Baby TV (free app, has actual episodes from their channel as well as games)
My Zoo Animals (free app, this is better on the iPad than the iPhone, due to a bigger screen)
7. Show a movie/favourite TV show on a portable DVD player, we have this cheap and cheerful one from amazon, it does the job and you can buy the headrest for it to sit in too.
8. Don’t underestimate the simplicity of plain paper and crayons, while mummy was “drawing” (aka doing a crossword) Nate wanted to be drawing too.
9. Electronic games – hmmm a lot of technology mentioned already but I just had to pack Nate’s electronic games, such as his learning laptop and his electronic alphabet game, all a bit noisy but are educational and keep him somewhat busy.
10. Books – read to him or let him read and point to himself. Nate’s favourite book at the moment is Choo Choo Clickety Clack it is all about different transport, and he is obsessed with transport.
11. Puzzles – I took some wooden puzzles as well as some 2 piece jigsaw puzzle of animals. These 2 piece puzzles are just right for Nate at 21 months.
12. A tub of play doh and a tool to manipulate it with.
13. Several plastic cups, pots, containers, anything that he could open and close – this kept him amused for quite a while.
14. To extend his play time with his toys, why not wrap up a few small toys so he has to unwrap them first before playing with them.
15. Stop halfway through the journey for your little one to stretch their legs, run around and burn off some energy and maybe have some food. This is also a good time to change the nappy, clean up after any food etc.
16. Pack a spare set of clothes in a separate bag to the suitcase, in case of spillages, wetness and mess (I didn’t do this, which meant, after Nate spilt his water all over himself, hubby had to struggle through the boot, pull out all the suitcases and find an outfit for him).
17. In this bag with the spare clothes, include nappies, wipes and a carrier bag or two (because if his seat got wet too, a carrier bag on the seat will prevent him getting wet again).
18. Music for toddler – personally I can’t listen to toddler music for very long, but he does have some favourites from my RnB collection, so I made sure to play those and helped him sing a long.
19. Travel during nap time – Nate normally naps at lunchtime so we left a couple of hours before this as it was a 5 hour journey, we stopped off halfway, then shortly after the second leg of the journey he fell asleep.
20. Favourite cuddly toy for nap time and milk (if your little one still has milk at nap time). We put his milk and other dairy snacks in a cool bag since it was a long journey.
Phew…hope someone finds this helpful! Does anyone have any tips that I can add to my list? Maybe I can change it to 25 top toddler travelling tips?!