Great Tips for Traveling with a Toddler

For many parents, staying at home with a toddler is challenge enough; venturing out with one – whether on a day trip or a two-week holiday – is a prospect that can fill even the most adventurous soul with trepidation.

Although it may seem inherently unfair that one very small person should determine the course of an entire family’s holiday, tailoring your tips to the likes, dislikes and tolerance of your tiny tourist really is the wisest way to go. After all, if your toddler isn’t having a good time, no one’s going to have a good time. In the interest of all:

  1. Check with the doctor. If you are planning a major trip abroad, try to schedule a doctor’s appointment two months before your departure date. If your toddler has a chronic health problem, such as asthma or diabetes, ask what special precautions you need to take while traveling and for the name of a local doctor at your destination, on whom you can call should an emergency arise. If your child regularly takes medication, ask for an extra prescription, in case the medication is lost en route. If you are planning to fly with a toddler who has frequent colds or a respiratory allergy, inquire about taking-along an antihistamine and/or decongestant spray. If you’re going abroad, request a recommendation for treating traveler’s tummy; it’s a good idea to take along some packets of ORT solution, which you can reconstitute with bottled water should your toddler come down with diarrhea. Some foreign destinations require special immunizations or other health precautions. Health information on travel with children is available from your child’s doctor or reputable private travel clinics.
  2. Make sleeping arrangements. Most hotels, motels, and resorts can supply a cot for young toddler. If your toddler sleeps in a bed, check ahead to be sure that side rails are available, or that the bed supplied for your toddler can be placed between a wall and your own bed. If you’re visiting family, see about renting or borrowing a cot or side rails. In a pinch, a children’s sleeping bag on the floor will also work for an older toddler (be sure that the room is childproof).
  3. Limit your itinerary. One-destination holidays – visiting relatives or sojourns at a family-oriented resort, at a beach house, or in a single city – are usually the most successful with toddlers. Most cruise and ocean voyages are not recommended for toddlers, both because young children require constant supervision on board and because they could be injured or frightened when the ship begins rolling (but there are some open seas option open to families with toddlers). If you’re planning a touring holiday, limit the stops so that you’re not constantly on the go; in other words, don’t try to do seven cities in as many days. Unless you’re lucky enough to have an a typically adaptable and agreeable toddler, you’d be asking for trouble…

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