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A holiday means time for the whole family to relax, bond and share new experiences together but travelling with toddlers comes with a special set of challenges and having done it quite frequently with my two, I think I’ve finally gotten it down to as fine an art as a recalcitrant toddler will allow. Here are some of my top tips for taming travelling toddlers.

Choose a destination where kids can get physical – make sure there’s plenty of space to run about and plenty of safe energy depleting activities to keep them busy. And remember that, while many resorts and hotels have fantastic facilities catering for older kids, it can be hard to find ones that provide for toddlers. The good news is that more resorts are realising that exhausted parents of babies and toddlers could use a bit of a break too and are offering more services geared towards their needs – from equipment, special meals and babysitting services through to designated toddler kids clubs that offer mum and dad time alone to reconnect, or simply catch up on some much needed sleep.

Once you’ve found the right destination you can begin the worrying about getting them there. And to be honest this is the trickiest bit with a toddler as even the most well behaved tot can struggle to sit still for extended periods. This can make transit grueling for everyone and given that strapping them to their seat with duct tape will likely be frowned upon, you’re going to need to arm yourself with other toddler taming tools.

I’ve watched on in horror on flights as parents offer candy and chocolates as bribes to their recalcitrant offspring, knowing full well the implosion is what usually follows as their sugar-hyped spawn spiral out of giddy control. Sweet treats are only going to make sitting still less likely and have a tendency to come hand in hand with a crash… swiftly followed by a dramatic public meltdown. This is something that, as a parent, I personally prefer to avoid. For your own sanity and peace, I’d suggest you just avoid the sugar trap in favour of healthy snacks!

Pack plenty of engaging items like books and puzzles. A portable DVD player with some favourite movies can be mum and dad’s best friend and keep busy toddlers still on holidays and in transit. For longer haul trips, pack a few little gift wrapped surprises that you can bring out at peak boredom points!

It seems pretty obvious but be sure to keep them safe! All toddlers are curious and keen to explore and new environments can create temptation. Keep them supervised and out of danger by child proofing rental cars and hotel rooms on arrival. Try to book a room on a ground floor or with an adequately fenced balcony. Make sure you keep balcony doors locked and move any furniture near railings.

Keep in mind on overseas journeys that local socket covers may not fit in international power points. If you’re concerned just pack some heavy duty tape to cover the socket. Rubber bands are an on-the-go baby proofer’s best-friend. Use them to tie up curtain and blind cordsand to keep cupboards shut.Make sure windows are kept closed and use the deadbolt on external doors to avoid your toddler heading off on an adventure without you. Check for sharp edges on low furniture and either tape a wash cloth on the corners or ask the hotel if it can be temporarily removed, they won’t mind.

Plan your days well. Unlike their exhausted parents, you may surprised to discover that toddlers aren’t going to want to lay about a pool reading bestsellers or drinking cocktails.  Make sure you get them out and about to age appropriate playgrounds and attractions to keep them entertained and wear them out so they’ll sleep well at night.

Finally put your little ones needs before your own – you might want to visit that vintage porcelain museum but your busy toddler (and the curator) would most likely prefer you didn’t.

  • Travelling definitely becomes all about the kids when you become a parent. Not that I minded, kids have way more fun

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  • If you’re travelling by car with little ones, I would suggest lots of pit stops. Let them got out and run round, burn some energy

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  • A portable DVD player maybe a good idea but make sure it is ….very….secure in case you need to stop quickly, otherwise it could become a flying missile. There has been drivers injured from objects from the back passenger moving forward You need ideas other than DVD players if you don’t want to risk permanent effects on your childrens eyes. We used to get up early and our little ones would often sleep in the car for at least 2 hours before they woke up. By then it was time to stop, all of us go to the toilet, walk around and get something to eat. If we got up later and had breakfast before we left the kids got bored quickly when they weren’t old enough to enjoy the scenery. Make sure the kids keep their arms in their seat belt of their harnesses. When they get bored is when they are likely to attempt it.(if their seatbelts are correctly fitted on baby or booster seats they shouldn’t be able to succeed). We still stop every couple of hours ( in a town if possible), go to the toilet, eat & drink, walk around for a few minutes unless it is raining or too hot, and put more fuel in the car if we need to. We only give the kids water in the car just in case it is spilt. Sticky liquid is very hard to clean / wash off or whatever method is necessary. Also it can soak right through your upholstery and carpet on the floor. to the actual metal floor of your car. Some drinks such as cola will rust out the metal. (I know somebody who unfortunately found that out the hard way). There may be others that cause either the same or similar problems. Park for long enough and you may have ants visiting. We’ll never risk that again.

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  • travelling with toddlers can be easy when you sort it out

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  • Great to know! This is interesting! Thank you for sharing this!

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  • thank you for sharing.

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  • Some great ideas but I still find it hard travelling with my toddler

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  • I love taking my son travelling but I agree, the trip has to really revolve around them because what you want may not interest them one bit!

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  • great tips, I never like travelling with them

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  • Good read thanks for the information

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  • Toys and storybooks definitely help

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  • I think we need to think of the kids when travelling, after all , they are strapped and restrained and full of energy tey cant expel

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  • We must love our portable DVD player…makes any long trip so much easier for our little one

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  • thank you sharing this article good read

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  • Thanks for sharing, it was a great read, I have trouble travelling with one toddler et alone two. Lol!

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