My grievance with traveling with a toddler this age is that they don't totally understand what's going on and you can't explain it to them yet. At the same time, most toddlers this age are active walkers (or at least proficient crawlers), and temper tantrums are becoming a thing.
TOP TIP: If you are embarking on a long haul, consider buying your toddler his/her own seat. It's not required until they are two, but lap babies on long flights don't do well at this size or phase of development. You will all be more comfortable! Bonus for point collectors; get their frequent flier number so they can start getting points. Nothing is cooler than your one year old having status!
What to bring
- At this point we've cracked and Bricklet now has his own tablet full of Fisher Price apps. (long story)
- Meals and snacks and milk
- Coloring books and crayons are great! Plus the usual books and toys.
- Make the baby carry their own weight. We got a leash/backpack for Bricklet and I have got to say so far I'm a fan. We don't put much in it, but a few things that are good to have handy.
- Since little one is probably drinking whole milk now, just bring bottles and buy milk once you're through security. It's overpriced but saves hassel.
At the airport
- Use that backpack/leash and have that toddler walk! For our last flight, Bricklet went from security all the way to our gate at EWR terminal C (it's big!).
- Get fresh fruit, yogurt, milk, etc at the newstand.
- Baby carrier is still good
- Mind your belongings! Trying to keep up with Bricklet, who likes to dash off, scattered my brain and resulted in me misplacing my mobile phone in an airport in France. Not cool. Before leaving an area check to make sure you have: your passport, wallet, electronics, baby, mind, etc.
In the air
- If you used to rely on breastfeeding and have weaned - think fast!
- Give milk or water during take off and landing.
- Keep your toddler content with toys, movies, apps, whatever you need to do.
- Aisle walking. This is also a great opportunity to have them make nice with fellow passengers in case any yelling occurs, or to apologize if yelling has occurred.
- Napping - if possible. Bricklet has never slept well while being held. This has been annoying only when flying. Now he has learned to sleep on us while flying (we've just been doing it so much lately!), but he cries a few minutes before falling asleep. On my last flight an awesome passenger sitting behind me distracted him by turning on and off his phone screen - enough to capitvate Bricklet's attention, but not enough to keep him awake. He fell asleep within two minutes. I profusely mouthed 'THANK YOU' to said passenger - I hope he knows how awesome it is for doing that instead of being an asshole who side eyed me.
- Toddler tantrums happen. Parent as you do. Ignore those that are judging you - you'll never see them again.
- Ignore assholes. Bricklet had an ear infection AND pink eye the week prior to our flight to Spain. It was a red eye flight. He was done for the last 2 hours of the flight and just YELLED. The awful hag seated behind us who was being a cow about it was not helping the situation. The people being supportive, or at least polite, were helping it.
At your destination
- You definitely want kid friendly activities now! Parks, aquariums, beaches. If you're visiting France I recommend carousels!
- Toddler proof the room. Move things if needed, have furniture taken out.
- If your little friend has outgrown the pack and play / cribs, you may have to have a bed or a cot for them. You can also consider inflatable toddler beds (like this), or inflatable toddler rails for the bed.
Every trip seems harder, and I look back and say, 'wow, it was so easy when he was ___ months old.' Traveling with a baby, or toddler, has its challenges at any ages. I look forward to when Bricklet is old enough to play on his own for greater amounts of time, or to watch a movie (even a tv show!) so I can watch my own or read as I used to love on personal flights.
Have you traveled with your toddler? Do you still have success with having him or her as a lap held baby? Let me know in the comments!