Friday, October 12, 2012

The essentials for travelling with a toddler

As we are currently on vacation, I thought it would be most appropriate for me to write about travelling with a toddler and changing time zones. So I am going to do that while Allie is napping after her busy and filled with excitement vacation-kind-of-morning.

Yesterday we all took a long taxi-bus-plane-bus trip from Maine to California. It was a very long journey. It took us 14 hours to get to our destination. It was Allie's first time taking such a long trip and first time on the plane. Needless to say, we were a bit nervous about how this was going to go.

After a thorough preparation I am happy to report that we made it here and the trip went smooth and we are currently vacationing in one of the prettiest places I've seen in my life, Santa Barabara, CA.

The lessons that I got out of this adventure so far (I am sure there will be more) are what to pack for a long bus and plane rides and how to hep your child adjust to a new time zone.

10 things to pack for travelling with a toddler

1. Food. We packed lots of snacks that were easy/not messy to eat, easy to transport that can go unrefrigerated for a few hours. For us the list of foods was:
  • Dried unsweetened apple rings
  • Dried unsweetened cherries
  • String mozzarella cheese
  • A cucumber
  • Whole wheat bread or English muffins
  • Seedless clementines
  • Some cheerios. Pack a cooking twine or a shoe lace to make a necklace with while  eating them, it provides for extra entertainment while travelling
  • And of course, Annie's bunny grahams. We don't leave the house without them.

2. Entertainment.
  • Favorite books
  • Favorite doll and a blankie to wrap her in
  • Crayons and muffin paper cups, it's so much more fun to draw inside of them than a regular paper, and she can also stack them for fun
  • Fun stickers and something to stick them on. I had some paperfor that purpose, but Allie thought it would be more fun to stick them on her sippy cup, which it was.
  • Just in case we downloaded a couple apps on an Iphone, but we didn't use them.
  • I got this Clay Bucket with clay and cookie cutters and stuff from a pharmacy knowing that Allie would love it, but we didn't even use it, she kept herself entertained with other stuff. But I am sure we'll be using it on the flight back. I'll save it till then.
  • Another thing that saved the day was the individual TV that all Jetblue planes have. Allie never watches TV at home, so the cartoons on the plane were a big hit and we let her watch some Tom and Jerry when she was getting tired.
3. Extra clothes for your child. I brought 1 change of clothes, but next time I'll bring more. Allie spilled water a couple times and had a couple accidents that diaper could not handle.

4. A small carry-on suitcase for Allie that we got right before the trip was definitely money well spent. We packed all the fun stuff in it, because it wouldn't fit in the diaper bag and the extra food and snacks and Allie also loved rolling it all by herself, like a big girl around the airports.

5. A car seat that fits in the plane seat. We were SO HAPPY that we got Allie a separate seat on the plane. We had hesitated for a long time, since she can still fly for free being under 2 years old. But finally we figured that  a 6 hour-long flight is worth splurging for. That was the best decision ever! I simply cannot imagine what we would've done otherwise. The plane ride otherwise would've not been so easy. We borrowed this special car/plane seat from a friend that also had  wheels hidden in it, so we could use it as a stroller at the airports, and she peacefully sat in it for almost the entire flight.

6. A blankie. We brought one of Allie's favorite blankies to give her some comfort and warmth during the bus and plane rides.

7. More diapers than we thought we would need was a good call.

8. Lots of wet napkins and some soft clothes for wiping stuff that kept spilling, wiping hands that kept getting dirty and for lining the seat that kept getting wet. 

9. Bottle or a sippy cup to sip from while taking off and landing. It helped Allie's ears to deal with the pressure changes. We brought an empty bottle and filled it up after we had passed the security, but apparently we could've brought the liquids to the airport, as long as it was "for the baby", which is nice to know for the next time.

10. An extra shirt for yourself. You never know what's going to be spilled on you.

We flew to the time zone that is 3 hours behind our home. That was another reason to get a  bit nervous. So I am really shocked in a  good way how easily Allie adjusted.

Adjusting to a new time zone.

I think they keys for us were:

  • Adding an extra nap during the day, since our day ended up being 3 hours longer than usually.
  • During the regular bed routine time (when it was 6-7 pm our time at home, but still 3-4 in our new time zone) we had a very "active activity", so Allie bypassed the state of the usual calming down time with running around the beach, splashing in the waves and playing with the dogs on the beach.
  • Make sure she doesn't go hungry during the day and has plenty of snacks but has a real dinner during the new dinner time, so her dinner was still at 6 (when it was 9 at home). From then on, we just continued the routine of dinner-bath-books-milk and finally bed.

She went down super easily, slept until 6 am new time, which was amazing since this is her regular wake up time, so she was all adjustment this morning! She is also napping right now during her regular nap time. It's amazing how great her internal body clock did during this change!

Thank you for being such an easy child Allie! :)

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