Author Topic: International Travel with a Toddler  (Read 1834 times)

zsmith

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International Travel with a Toddler
« on: January 20, 2017, 08:44:56 AM »
I know there are perpetual travelers with young kids on these forums. Any advice? We are planning to head to Mexico for a wedding in April, and everyone I speak with thinks I'm nuts for wanting to take our 18-month old. I've lived and worked in Mexico and we travel frequently with our kiddo in the U.S. It's a new area of the country that I've never been to - Queretaro. What should we think about and plan for?

Thanks!

Kaybee

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2017, 09:59:30 AM »
I'm a Flight Attendant (but childless) and I think if you've already travelled with your child before, why stop now?  I think most people who think you are nuts think that way because of the "extra work" involved with caring for your child while in a vacation destination (ie, you can't shouldn't go on raging benders and leave your child unsupervised) but since you're obviously okay with parenting while on the road, being in a different country shouldn't change things.

I think you'd plan the same way as any other vacation, perhaps taking into account that certain items your child prefers/needs might not be available in another country and packing accordingly.

Just don't be that family who shows up on the plane with NOTHING for their kid (activities, child's medications, spare change of clothes in case of accidents, snacks for picky eaters, etc.). ;)  Sorry I can't be of more help!
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SeattleCPA

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2017, 10:48:55 AM »
I'm 57 and looking back basically 20+ years to when we used to travel quite a bit with the kids as toddlers...

Based on my daughter's memories, I would not think you're traveling for the kids. My girls remember basically nothing of the places we took them.

The trip to Paris when Lionel Ritchie was in first class and in pre-customs baggage claim he let people do a selfie with him? No memory.

Germany to visit the exchange family my wife stayed with? No memory.

The trip to London the day terrorists were planning to blow transatlantic flights and we were the last plane into Heathrow before they closed the airport for a couple of weeks? No memory--and we were staying in hotel across the street from Scotland Yard.


zsmith

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2017, 12:37:52 PM »

Just don't be that family who shows up on the plane with NOTHING for their kid (activities, child's medications, spare change of clothes in case of accidents, snacks for picky eaters, etc.). ;)  Sorry I can't be of more help!

Always good advice. I've actually helped entertain other people's kids on the road. Really you brought them candy for a snack and nothing to read and are surprised that they want to run around the plane?

zsmith

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2017, 12:39:49 PM »
I'm 57 and looking back basically 20+ years to when we used to travel quite a bit with the kids as toddlers...

Based on my daughter's memories, I would not think you're traveling for the kids. My girls remember basically nothing of the places we took them.


We just like to travel and we also happen to like spending time with our daughter at the same time. :) We also want her to see our friends who don't travel much outside of Mexico and haven't yet met her. And my in-laws will be along so they'll be happy to see her.

daverobev

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2017, 06:57:27 PM »
Er, it's fine. Why would it not be fine?

I took my daughter to France from Canada when she was that age, visiting family (and leaving her with her grandma for a week).

Just take a few toys, a few books, and an ipad (groan).
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bogart

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2017, 08:34:20 PM »
Er, it's fine. Why would it not be fine?

...

Just take a few toys, a few books, and an ipad (groan).

Count me among the "it'll be fine" club, and take an ipad if you want -- but no need.  I've taken the kid to Europe 4 times so far (he's approaching 10 years old, he was 18 months @ first trans-atlantic trip) and have never taken electronic entertainment for him, nor do we allow it in the car (except sometimes shared audiobooks).  If he needs entertainment, he can read a book (of course when he was younger, I read to him or found other ways to entertain him).  Unfortunately, they now seem to have free movies on international flights, and he's old enough to understand this and now how to operate the system, alas (and no, I am not mean enough to tell him he cannot use it).  But portable video is quite new -- we lived without it, no need to introduce it/bring it along/allow it unless you want to.

ahoy

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2017, 01:12:30 PM »
My husband and I have never left our kids behind.  We are not the parents that take off for a vacation and ship the kids to Grandmas. 

My oldest first went to Mexico when she was 2 yrs old.  We had  a blast.  I don't know the area you are going to, I just google it.  And it looks just gorgeous.  You say you want your child there and be with her, forget what other people in your life are saying.  Especially those that have not been or do not have children. 

We have since spent 3 months in Mexico with our kids at ages 11yrs and 8 yrs, they both loved it!  It truly is a an amazing country.   All you really need is snacks, toys and sunscreen.

GizmoTX

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2017, 04:13:28 PM »
We took 2 year old DS & my mother with us on a trip to St. Marten. It was a company reward trip & DH was CEO. I brought a chest harness & leash for DS because by then he could outrun Grandma -- they took many fun walks around the resort. We all loved the trip; my mother had cancer which was under control at the time, & I was there to make sure neither became too tired.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2017, 06:37:48 PM »
Just travelled from Mexico to Illinois and back this past September, with my four kids under 4 (yikes!)  We took so many sandwiches and ate them all!  Seriously, get two loaves of bread, then make all the bread into sandwiches, and then place the sandwiches back in the bread bag!  Genius!  A little heavy at first, but they get eaten, so no problem.  We also had each kid take their own backpack full of coloring books, reading book, and crayons, that way I didn't have to dig through my own carry-on looking for stuff. 

Oh, and we used leashes (diy, just a thin rope attached to a carabiner) attached to their backpacks, but with just one you probably won't need that.  Definitely useful when your hands are full taking care of passports and stuff. 

Make one adult your passport ticket person for the whole fam, and then other adult can hold your kid.

It'll be a breeze and tons of fun!

ETA: I hate leashes, and imagine others do, so just to clarify, we didn't use them all the time, just at points where it was necessary.  We had to stand in line forever going into customs in the US, and we had a suitcase and a stroller in addition to the three preschoolers.  We used the leashes there a bit because the kids can easily slip under the line-thing and just...wander away. 

Also during ticketing was helpful.  Also helpful just as a choice, like "hey kid, do you want to walk right next to me or do you want me to get the leash".  But again, with 1, probably not necessary.

Oh, I should add that it was definitely helpful having only one suitcase!
« Last Edit: January 22, 2017, 06:42:04 AM by LadyStache in Baja »
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Flyingkea

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2017, 03:36:10 AM »
I did it with my  2 year old. Not so long ago, travelling without anyone else along sadly.

Transit times - don't have too close a time - I missed my flight after qantas lost his carseat, and I couldn't get through the airport in time. Juuust mananged to get on an alternate route but it was extra 5 hours of flight time.

I was one of those people who let him roam the isles - I did bring along toys etc, but it was just too long for a very busy 2 year old to remain seated. Ended  I did watch him the entire time though, to make sure he didn't get in the flight attendants way, or annoy other passengers - that said, everyone was really good about it, and was quite friendly to a little boy who said hello to everyone who interacted with him. (If you ignored him, he left you alone.)
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Helvegen

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2017, 10:27:51 AM »
I'm not sure why people think you are nuts. At that age, it would have been take my toddler with me or not go at all.  If the people getting married were super important to me (and they'd have to be to consider traveling so far for), I'd think nothing of taking the kid. Just is what it is.

I guess I also took my kid on her first transatlantic at 8 months, again at 12 months, and then we went on a driving tour through IN, OH, PA, NY, and ON at around 18 months. When she was 3, another transatlantic. Guess they should commit me then. :p

bogart

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2017, 09:24:17 PM »
My husband and I have never left our kids behind.  We are not the parents that take off for a vacation and ship the kids to Grandmas. 


Don't know what tone you intended, but I'd just like to speak up and say -- nothing wrong with taking off for a vacation and shipping the kid to Grandmas.  Indeed, I'm both proud of and pleased with the fact that my kid doesn't think being shipped off to grandmas (or another responsible adult's) is cause for alarm or dismay.  Nor do I think it's his privilege to monitor how I spend all my time -- so if DH and I want to make other arrangements for him while we travel, including travel for fun, no biggie.

(I'm not advocating doing this every trip or even most trips -- I think it would stink to be a kid and never to get to go on vacation trips your parents were taking.  Indeed, in our case I think every vacation we have taken over the roughly decade he's been alive, has been with DS.  I'm racking my brain, and the only kid-free travel I can think of has been to funerals on a couple of occasions, and one time when some work travel of mine (to one destination) coincided with some vacation travel of DH's (to a different destination) that had already been scheduled and that wasn't particularly little-kid friendly.)

zsmith

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2017, 11:41:23 AM »
Thanks for all the words of encouragement!

@LadyStache in Baja Four Kids, you are an inspiration!

@ahoy That's our philosophy too, though she will be spending a few weekends with Grandma this year for other weddings (it's just that time of life)

Grogounet

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2017, 03:54:29 AM »
I travel all the time with our daughters, they ve been on all 5 continents already. The biggest tip I have taken along the years for the flight is to buy dozen of small toys and wrap them in paper present. Open one with they have (really) finished, they open a new "present". The time flies...

I have done it to each of my trips down to Europe, average 30 hours of travels.

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2017, 07:39:58 AM »
Go for it! Our little guy has traveled on flights at ~4mo, 8mo, and 16mo: 1 domestic and 2 international trips. There are challenges (blow out 5 minutes before boarding, fun!) but if you are flexible and roll with it you'll be fine. Make sure to bring some new toys, snacks, and try to time it so he takes his nap/sleeps through most of it.
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Pushkina2

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2017, 08:18:03 AM »
Our 18 month old went on a transatlantic trip with us that involved 25 straight hours of flying time both ways. The journey, though often miserable, now makes for a great story. A year later, we have no regrets about doing it! I think traveling with an opinionated, more mobile 2 year old (which he is now) on the same trip would be worse!

samusugiru

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2017, 04:51:24 PM »
People think I'm nuts for travelling by myself with my twins from Sydney to Europe but travelling with them is actually pretty relaxing (apart from when they were ten months, that was hell) they're four and we went last year and the year before. It's a much longer trip than the US to Mexico so I can't really see an issue. I really enjoy travelling because the kids are occupied by all the new sights and no housework and little cooking for me! Just brink them some activities to keep them occupied on the plane and something to suck in case the air pressure hurts her ears. Also some Tupperware to pack some food for them and at 18 months a stroller with air tyres for getting about. My kids were quite scared on the streets of Hanoi as they get quite busy and lack foot paths but they felt very secure in the stroller. Have fun, I really enjoy travelling with my kids and showing them new sights, so long as they get enough sleep kids are I quisitive, fun travel companions.

Metric Mouse

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2017, 12:12:07 AM »
Go for it! Our little guy has traveled on flights at ~4mo, 8mo, and 16mo: 1 domestic and 2 international trips. There are challenges (blow out 5 minutes before boarding, fun!) but if you are flexible and roll with it you'll be fine. Make sure to bring some new toys, snacks, and try to time it so he takes his nap/sleeps through most of it.
We've done quite a bit of travel (way more than I thought we would) with our little one. It's always been enjoyable.
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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2017, 04:57:31 AM »
Not crazy at all. We've done TONS of domestic travel with our daughter, starting when she was four weeks old. Plan ahead and research the internet for what sorts of things to pack. There are tons of great mommy blog posts about that kind of stuff. My recommendation is to pack one diaper per hour that you will be traveling, plus a few extras, along with a full package of wipes. - all in an easy access carry on. Even if you normally only change your kid every four hours at home, this will give you plenty of extras while taking up very little space and weight. We've had 8+ hour delays while traveling with our daughter and we were glad for the extras!

And a note on toddler leashes: am I the only mother who thinks they are mankind's greatest invention? We use our backpack style leash All. The. Time. As soon as Little Miss Mustache could walk, she could run. And as soon as she could run, running away from her parents at a surprisingly fast pace was her most favoritest thing to do ever. I've chased this kid on train platforms, along river banks, in airports, and more malls, grocery stores, and Targets than I care to admit. Finally we accepted that she is a sprinter and we embraced the ways of the toddler leash. If your kid is similar, I recommend you get one too and save yourself the headache. People will give you the death stare for using one, but it is better than losing your child in a foreign airport.
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olu

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2017, 08:44:18 PM »
I know there are perpetual travelers with young kids on these forums. Any advice? We are planning to head to Mexico for a wedding in April, and everyone I speak with thinks I'm nuts for wanting to take our 18-month old. I've lived and worked in Mexico and we travel frequently with our kiddo in the U.S. It's a new area of the country that I've never been to - Queretaro. What should we think about and plan for?

Thanks!

We were just in Mexico last year with my 1 year old. Our family is Mexican so we go usually once a year. We have 3 kids and have traveled down there with them frequently. Queretaro is supposed to be nice. I don't personally know it but my BIL likes it. If you've lived in Mexico you'll be fine traveling with a toddler there, you kind of know what to expect already.
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JustTrying

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #21 on: February 26, 2017, 11:00:47 PM »
I am not the parent of a toddler. I am the parent of an infant, and took her on her first international trip alone when she was 2 months old. "Everyone" thought I was crazy. I thought "everyone" must have very boring lives if they were willing to let a kid keep them from adventure! :) Again, I only have one infant, but this is what I've figure out: I am my child's parent and I know her best, and I also know myself best and what I'm capable of. I've learned that when other parents think I'm crazy it's because THEIR child would ruin their vacation. My child won't, which is a combination of her having a pretty good temperament and me being pretty resilient. Don't worry about "everyone," they're all just silly! Have fun on your vacation!

JAYSLOL

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2017, 12:07:02 AM »
You shouldn't have many issues taking a toddler on a vacation like that, we took our 14 month old from Canada to the Philippines for a month and didn't have any problems.  If you use cloth diapers, bring a pack of disposables along for the plane ride etc. 

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2017, 04:51:02 AM »
When Master Sydneystache was 2: Sydney to Madrid - no probs; Madrid to Sydney, problem came when someone new on the Singapore leg (at 4a.m.) decided to turn on his laptop and bub was awake and leant over to play with his keyboard.

When he was 3: Sydney to Durban to Sydney - no probs; except couldn't but be annoyed on the Perth-Sydney leg we were placed next to an old couple and they were whispering "Oh, we're next to a toddler!"

They condescended after we landed in Sydney how well-behaved he was. 🙄

Tip: really loved the backpack where you can place your growing bub...left the hands free to do lotsa things.

Dee18

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2017, 06:05:42 AM »
One trick I used was to give my toddler/young child tons of activity right before the flight.  We had a bunny puppet and a tennis ball.  Before any flight I would find an uncrowded place and "Bunny" would toss the ball; toddler would run after it and bring it back.  After 30 minutes of this, my child was okay sitting on a plane for several hours. 

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2017, 10:35:52 AM »
We travel regularly with the kids on long and short flights.  They get their handheld devices for trips (cars or planes).  On planes they actually prefer the built in stuff some planes have because its new and different.  But we do usually load new games and movies before a trip too. 

We pack food and drinks for kids.  Different countries let you take different stuff for kids on the plane.  Also always a change of clothes for them and us in the carry-ons.  I've been peed and vomited on too many times....!

They usually also have some of their toys and such. 




CargoBiker

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2017, 11:14:13 AM »
I know there are perpetual travelers with young kids on these forums. Any advice? We are planning to head to Mexico for a wedding in April, and everyone I speak with thinks I'm nuts for wanting to take our 18-month old. I've lived and worked in Mexico and we travel frequently with our kiddo in the U.S. It's a new area of the country that I've never been to - Queretaro. What should we think about and plan for?

Traveling with a toddler is easy, but you have to do it a bit differently.

1a) Stay in one place longer. Think "living", just somewhere else.  The worst part of traveling with a kid, is the actual transportation part.  Being on a flight for 13 hours sucks, even moreso with a kid.  So, if you're going to put yourself through that misery, then make the most of your trip by staying for a while. Don't move to a different city every day or two. Everyone will be miserable if you do that.

1b) Rent an airbnb with a kid's playroom. We stayed for two months at a city apartment in Sweden, and there were toys galore in the playroom. Legos, books, art supplies, music toys, games. It was a block from a playground. The apartment included two bikes, one with a rear child seat. It was no different than being at home.

2) Bring lots of snacks.  I packed a duffel bag as my only carry-on. It was filled to the brim with nothing but snacks.  If your toddler is well fed, then all you have to do is play with them and make them laugh.

3) Games on the plane: Make puppets with in-flight magazine pictures. Hide and seek with a stuffed animal. Draw on paper. etc.  The possibilities are endless (and they have to be). My kid only cried when it was time to go down for a nap, but she does that at home too.  Every plane flight, everyone tells me how good my kid is. It's because of #2 and #3.  Just be proactive.

4) Don't listen to people (including the ones in this thread) who say that you should wait, because "they won't remember it".  Why does it matter if they remember it?  What are you going to do, wait until you're old or dead to travel? My kid learned and knows Swedish songs, got to experience some badass playgrounds, and saw a city where everyone bikes.  These, and other things, are impacting her (and my) development in great ways.


farmerj

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2017, 10:09:07 AM »
We took our eight month old with us on a very long international flight.

He was very well behaved, as long as he was constantly amused.

After around hour twenty of constantly amusing him, with three hours left to go, I remember thinking that this was the worst experience of my entire life.

Fortunately, the flight back was not quite so awful.

In a fit of amnesia, we did it again, when we had two children, age 3 and 1. I'd argued for a break in the middle to recover but was over-ruled by the Esteemed Spouse due to logistics (we were travelling with a large family group). This was not quite as bad as the first trip. Except for a bunch of "extra" occurrences, like discovering that we were  travelling with one more child than expected (in utero), an accompanying elderly relative having a major medical event in the boarding line, etc.

If, God forbid, we do this again, I'm not backing down on my demand for a recovery break.

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Re: International Travel with a Toddler
« Reply #28 on: March 02, 2017, 08:11:57 PM »
One trick I used was to give my toddler/young child tons of activity right before the flight.  We had a bunny puppet and a tennis ball.  Before any flight I would find an uncrowded place and "Bunny" would toss the ball; toddler would run after it and bring it back.  After 30 minutes of this, my child was okay sitting on a plane for several hours.
It always amazes me how much young children behave like domesticated animals.
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