Tips for Traveling Abroad With a Toddler
By Anayat Durrani
Embarking on a trip abroad with a toddler in tow would usually be classified in the minds of most mothers as mission impossible. However, it need not be so daunting.
Immunize. Once a travel destination is chosen, parents should obtain information on the country to find out immunization requirements. This can be done by visiting the website for the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) and clicking on their Travelers Health section which will provide health information for specific destinations. It is also important that parents visit their pediatrician at least a month before travel to ensure that their child is up to date on all required vaccinations and in case additional immunizations are required.
Passport and visa. Apply early for a passport for your toddler and include departure dates to avoid any unnecessary delays in trip plans. A passport can be applied for at Federal and state courts and post offices as well as local county and municipal offices. Some countries also require visas to enter the country. Travelers can check with their travel agent or airlines to find out if the country they are visiting requires a visa. Some countries only require a tourist card which can be obtained on the plane.
Off-peak, non-stop. When making flight reservations one should consider the best times to travel with a toddler. Parents may consider traveling at off-peak vacation times and book seats during the middle of the week and during the day time. They should also opt for non-stop flights to minimize the hassles that often come about with connecting flights.
Bulkhead seating. Many parents find that bulkhead seating at the front of each section provides more comfort while traveling with a toddler. These seats have no seating in front of them and allow for more leg room, ability to change the baby, and room to stand or play for the toddler. Passengers may request a bassinet for their child which is attached to the wall while in-flight. Bulkhead seating and bassinets must be requested ahead of time.
Child fare. Parents may also consider buying their child their own seat. Most airlines offer discounted rates for children 2 years old and younger . However, if parents choose not to purchase an extra seat, they can request the isle and the window seat for themselves while making their reservation, which can increase chances of having the middle seat free for your toddler.
Car seat and stroller. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommends the use of car seats in an aircraft for children less than 40 pounds. Car seats can usually be checked in at the gate as can be strollers. However it is best to check with your airline regarding their policy, including how they regard extra carry on luggage for your child. Most airlines allow luggage only for paying passengers. The most important item to bring along for a toddler, and for the tired, jetlagged parent, is a stroller. An umbrella stroller is a must for those long treks through the airport and endless waiting periods before boarding, passport control and customs.
Pack Necessities. What to bring on your trip is the most exhausting decision a parent must make before travel. The best advice is to pack only necessary items. Backpacks work really well for traveling parents because they leave their arms free. Backpacks should include essentials like diapers, wipes, changing pad, plastic bags, medicine and extra clothing for the toddler and you. Make sure to bring more than enough supply of many of these items, or keep a back up in your carry on.
How to dress . As a general rule, mothers should dress in comfortable clothing. Darker colored clothing is always a good idea in case of toddler spills which almost always end up on your clothes. Toddlers should be dressed in comfortable clothing which can be layered in case of a cold or overly stuffy plane.
R E L A X! Rare is a trip that goes smoothly. No amount of pre-planning will make you completely immune to the occasional mishaps and disasters that tend to happen when traveling with a toddler. But it’s still always best to be prepared. It is also wise to remain calm and R-E-L-A-X throughout your travels, as toddlers can pick up on your emotions and act out. This is often easier said than done.
However, through it all, one thing is for certain. One day you will surely look back on your journey with your little companion and cherish these memories. Enjoy.
Like this on Facebook: