Author Topic: Traveling out of Country with a Toddler  (Read 5466 times)

mrsggrowsveg

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Traveling out of Country with a Toddler
« on: October 01, 2014, 07:04:52 AM »
We are going to Jamaica in December and are trying to decide if we should bring our (almost) two year old.  We are going for six days.  If we were staying at a resort, I wouldn't feel strange at all bringing him.  However, we are planning to go to a family friendly hostel.  We also want to explore the nature and culture.  My parents can watch our son, but it wouldn't be very convenient for them.  I always planned to take our kids on trips like this, but now I am wondering if two is just too young or if it is safe. 

Also for those that travel with children, what do you bring?  Do you bring carseats and strollers?  How do you handle nap time?

pksr

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Re: Traveling out of Country with a Toddler
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2014, 09:17:32 AM »
State department advisory would suggest - especially if you're going to be off property a good bit - that a toddler isn't an ideal travel companion (see Safety & Security section) http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/jamaica.html

Traffic / driving is also a bit dodgy, so if you do greenlight bringing him I would definitely bring a carseat if there's any chance you'll be in a car. It is a beat down to bring one with you, though (once he's a little older and can go with a booster, definitely get a Bubblebum - it's a lifesaver). Figuring out the safety logistics on car travel when going with little ones is always a struggle - I'm always excited when I find I can do buses / shuttles / trains to the hotel without ever getting in a car and then exist without one while there. That scenario seems highly unlikely in Jamaica.

We always bought a super cheap stroller for trips like yours, and sometimes abandoned it at the end of the trip. Definitely check it at the jet bridge as opposed to making it a checked bag. And even if you bring one, do still plan on carrying around the sack of potatoes a lot - even with a stroller, it just ends up that way and you will be ripped by the end of the trip.

Bring lots of snacks and perhaps a few new, very cheap toys for the plane trip. He needs to be chewing during takeoff and landing, and the toys are great when you and your fellow travelers are about to jump out the window.

Nap time, if you're busy, will take care of itself, but it will be upended at the beginning by likely sleeping on the plane.

Overall I'd pass on bringing him if you have a good option for cover, and it seems you do (maybe offer to shore up your parents with some hired help while you're gone?). Other than pictures to look back on down the road, I don't know that a 2 y.o. will get much from the trip (and it's not ideal from a safety standpoint), and you guys will likely have a richer and less stressful trip without him.

merula

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Re: Traveling out of Country with a Toddler
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2014, 09:25:50 AM »
I took my son on a transatlantic trip at 14 months. It was made easier by getting everywhere by public transit, so a car seat wasn't an issue, but I think it was worth it. I enjoyed spending the time with him and have a lot of great memories of the trip, even if he won't remember it.

I would think that staying at a hostel would be easier than at a resort, particularly if the hostel is billing itself as "family friendly". When traveling with kids, I've had a much easier time having access to a kitchen than not, and I've always found hostels to be more laid-back than hotels and resorts.

Definitely bring a stroller. We found one that fit in the overhead compartment, so we didn't have to gate-check it, but doing that is far preferable to walking around the airport with no stroller. He slept in the stroller most days. It wasn't as long of a nap as he would normally get at home, but he seemed to sleep better at night.

Spartana

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Re: Traveling out of Country with a Toddler
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2014, 09:49:33 AM »
I don't have kids but have watched this show on PBS and may have info you can use. The kids are older now but they started when they were pretty young: http://www.travelwithkids.tv/

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: Traveling out of Country with a Toddler
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2014, 10:10:07 AM »
State department advisory would suggest - especially if you're going to be off property a good bit - that a toddler isn't an ideal travel companion (see Safety & Security section) http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/jamaica.html

Traffic / driving is also a bit dodgy, so if you do greenlight bringing him I would definitely bring a carseat if there's any chance you'll be in a car. It is a beat down to bring one with you, though (once he's a little older and can go with a booster, definitely get a Bubblebum - it's a lifesaver). Figuring out the safety logistics on car travel when going with little ones is always a struggle - I'm always excited when I find I can do buses / shuttles / trains to the hotel without ever getting in a car and then exist without one while there. That scenario seems highly unlikely in Jamaica.

We always bought a super cheap stroller for trips like yours, and sometimes abandoned it at the end of the trip. Definitely check it at the jet bridge as opposed to making it a checked bag. And even if you bring one, do still plan on carrying around the sack of potatoes a lot - even with a stroller, it just ends up that way and you will be ripped by the end of the trip.

Bring lots of snacks and perhaps a few new, very cheap toys for the plane trip. He needs to be chewing during takeoff and landing, and the toys are great when you and your fellow travelers are about to jump out the window.

Nap time, if you're busy, will take care of itself, but it will be upended at the beginning by likely sleeping on the plane.

Overall I'd pass on bringing him if you have a good option for cover, and it seems you do (maybe offer to shore up your parents with some hired help while you're gone?). Other than pictures to look back on down the road, I don't know that a 2 y.o. will get much from the trip (and it's not ideal from a safety standpoint), and you guys will likely have a richer and less stressful trip without him.

Thanks for that link.  I will see if I can bribe my parents into taking him, or use some of your travel tips if he does end up coming with us.

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: Traveling out of Country with a Toddler
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2014, 10:11:18 AM »
I took my son on a transatlantic trip at 14 months. It was made easier by getting everywhere by public transit, so a car seat wasn't an issue, but I think it was worth it. I enjoyed spending the time with him and have a lot of great memories of the trip, even if he won't remember it.

I would think that staying at a hostel would be easier than at a resort, particularly if the hostel is billing itself as "family friendly". When traveling with kids, I've had a much easier time having access to a kitchen than not, and I've always found hostels to be more laid-back than hotels and resorts.

Definitely bring a stroller. We found one that fit in the overhead compartment, so we didn't have to gate-check it, but doing that is far preferable to walking around the airport with no stroller. He slept in the stroller most days. It wasn't as long of a nap as he would normally get at home, but he seemed to sleep better at night.

Thanks.  I am glad to hear someone traveled with a young child and enjoyed it.  That is true, that we will remember the quality time with him even if he doesn't.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Traveling out of Country with a Toddler
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2014, 12:40:24 PM »
If you do take him, pipe cleaners make great plane toys! And it's OK to put on Elmo without headphones. As long as the kid is quiet, other passengers won't complain :-).

Second the suggestion for snacks. I flew with my two- and three-year-olds (lucky me in the middle, dad at home) and they were really happiest when they were eating something. IME under two is an awkward age to entertain, because they can't handle, for instance, stickers.

mamagoose

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Re: Traveling out of Country with a Toddler
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2014, 10:12:26 AM »
We haven't flown with our 13 month old yet and no rush, although she did OK on a long Amtrak ride.

I would not take a toddler to Jamaica, only because the kind of fun I'd want to have in Jamaica does NOT involve kids ifyouknowwhatimean..... poolside bars & general debauchery like reliving our honeymoon.

That said, we love snorkeling and as soon as our daughter is a strong swimmer & has some practice under her belt here in Florida, we want to take her to Hawaii for a big vacation :)

Doubleh

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Re: Traveling out of Country with a Toddler
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2014, 01:14:35 AM »
I say take the little the little guy! We took our daughter on a boat trip to st lucia, bequia and Grenada at 6 months old. Not sure they consciously remember much this young, but I'm pretty sure that having a variety of experiences will have an impact on them.

Not sure how similar or different Jamaica is but certainly where we went there were places people knew not to go, outside of that it was pretty safe. But even when going to slightly more edgy areas ie not no go, but leave valuables & jewelry behind, we never felt at risk and indeed people were always especially friendly and loved to see our daughter - she certainly helped connect with people.

Also to be honest as young parents you're unlikely to be doing most of the activities that make people easy targets for what crime there is.

Overseas Stache

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Re: Traveling out of Country with a Toddler
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2014, 02:32:15 AM »
Both my daughters took their first international trip at 1 month old. So traveling with a 2 yr old should be a piece of cake. Of course bring snacks, toys and a stroller. A car seat is not really necessary, Rental cars will rent you a car seat and if you are in the back of a cab just hold the child on your lap.

The only thing that should hold you back is what you want to do on your vacation. Sometimes it is nice not to have the kids around, but in my experience that only lasts for a couple of days before you start really missing your kids.

FoundPeace

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Re: Traveling out of Country with a Toddler
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2014, 03:24:42 AM »
I've done quite a bit of traveling with my son and daughter (almost 2 and 4 months). Although it hasn't always been easy, it has been quite rewarding.

Some tips:
1) You are aloud to bring some extra things with you if you travel with your toddler: car seat, stroller, diaper bag, and they even let you bring liquids past security if it is for your kid
2) International flights have strange rules about flying with small children. Do not try to book the flight online.
3) Get your toddler his/her own seat (the price for their seat will be cheaper than an adult because of some international regulations)
4) Be prepared, because the flight could either be very easy (sleeps the entire time) or very hard (screaming and kicking the seat in front of him/her)
5) Our kids just sleep in the car or in the stroller while we are out and about. We do always try to get them home close to the time they normally go to bed though.
6) Find things to do that they would enjoy (our 2 year has now chased pigeons in 3 nation's capitols this year and we've learned a lot about what playgrounds look like in other countries). You will get to see a different side of the country you are visiting this way.

Good luck! Either way it sounds like a great vacation!

Milizard

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Re: Traveling out of Country with a Toddler
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2014, 08:21:48 AM »
I've travelled with a 2 year old, and I've stayed at a family friendly hostel in Jamaica, but I would never do the 2 together.  Public transportation in Jamaica is insane (though riding on an actual bus there was pretty normal).  Their inexpensive taxis involve stuffing 10 people into a small sedan, I kid you not.  Where are you going to fit a car seat in that debacle?  Or, you can pay through the nose for a private car.  My experience was 10 years ago, so things may have changed, but I doubt it.

The hostel that I stayed at in Treasure Beach wasn't bad, but it was set on a giant hill.  I would be constantly on edge watching my 2 year old so he wouldn't hurt himself.  Older kids would have been fine.  Kingston had a lot of stray dogs running around.  It didn't bother me too much, until I saw some packs when we were out walking one night.  Personally, I am all about protecting my kids when they are that small.

I guess my advice would be to really look into all the details before bringing a toddler.  Where are you flying into? How are you getting to the hostel? Etc.


ETA: think about sleeping arrangements.  Is your kid going to freak out being in a strange place?  Are you going to be staying and sleeping in a single room/bed?  What time does the little tike go to bed, and are you going to want to go to bed that early as well?  (Mine go to bed at 8, and hell no, but on vacation together, one of us has to stay in with them.). My older son was a great traveller until he turned 2 and refused to sleep in the pack-n-play.  We ended up having him sleep between us, so he wouldn't fall out, but he thought that was awfully fun and didn't want to settle down and go to sleep.  This was on a cross-country road trip.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2014, 08:48:36 AM by Milizard »

bogart

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Re: Traveling out of Country with a Toddler
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2014, 09:06:11 PM »
Both my daughters took their first international trip at 1 month old. So traveling with a 2 yr old should be a piece of cake.

Haha!  Spoken (written) like someone who has forgotten the joys of kids who are *not* self-propelled!  In many ways I found travelling with my son easier before he could walk!

I took my then-18 month old to visit family in Europe and had a lovely time, but really cannot speak to the issues involved in travelling with a kid to Jamaica, so won't try to address the OP's question.  Sorry not to be able to help.

Overseas Stache

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Re: Traveling out of Country with a Toddler
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2014, 04:23:33 AM »
Both my daughters took their first international trip at 1 month old. So traveling with a 2 yr old should be a piece of cake.

Haha!  Spoken (written) like someone who has forgotten the joys of kids who are *not* self-propelled!  In many ways I found travelling with my son easier before he could walk!


Ya, I know sometimes it is easier when they can't walk, but my oldest daughter is almost 2 and the youngest is 6 months. My oldest has been on 4 international trips my youngest has been on 2 international trips. So my wife and I have the pleasure of traveling with two lap babies one that can walk and one that can't. I'm not sure which one is easier.

bogart

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Re: Traveling out of Country with a Toddler
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2014, 07:44:58 PM »
So my wife and I have the pleasure of traveling with two lap babies one that can walk and one that can't. I'm not sure which one is easier.

Too true, of course each has its advantages.  Overall I think I found pre-walking easier, but I have just the one, and he's now a second grader, no doubt making it easy to reminisce and forget the trickier parts of earlier times!

usmarine1975

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Re: Traveling out of Country with a Toddler
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2014, 08:18:41 PM »
Our son went to Dubai when he was 1. He has more stamps in his passport as a 2 year old compared to many Americans. He can fly free. Why wouldn't you take him?  I would take into consideration how he sleeps. Our son can sleep anywhere.

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Re: Traveling out of Country with a Toddler
« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2014, 01:44:22 AM »
Our son went to Dubai when he was 1. He has more stamps in his passport as a 2 year old compared to many Americans. He can fly free. Why wouldn't you take him?  I would take into consideration how he sleeps. Our son can sleep anywhere.

Exactly you got to take advantage of those free tickets while you can, my almost 2 yr old as been to 4 continents and 7 countries.