We got back from our big family vacation in Sweden last week (this post has been in draft mode for awhile) and I am finally feeling good after the jetlag. Little man is adjusted to the time change but it took a week and he has started to climb out of his crib since we got back. Fun! Ha!
But without further ado, here is a not so brief run down of all the traveling and preparation for the trip with my rambunctious toddler. Hope this helps others preparing for long trips with little ones too.
I was so nervous about our long flight overseas because we did not purchase a seat for Roman and I knew we would have to pass him back and forth between the two of us the whole time. Our first flight (about 7.5 hours long) left in the evening at around 6pm and I was hoping to actually get Roman to fall asleep close to his bedtime which is usually by 7pm. However, the flight served dinner about two hours after take off and kept the lights on until after clean up so about 2-3 hours into it. We kept him entertained with the inflight entertainment tv in front of each seat. Dinner was actually the most difficult part because with no place to set him down we had to each eat separately and quickly. It was a bit of a circus act with juggling food trays, drinks, and a toddler. But he was so tired by that point that my hubby was able to rock him asleep while I ate. Our Airline was very accommodating of little ones and they were perfectly happy with us standing near the toilet area to be able to get out our seats and stand, which I needed to do quite a bit.
Here is a list of lessons I learned and items I used for this trip:
Lesson #1- Pack A change of clothes for everyone in Carry on Luggage-( Not Just for Toddler)
The most amazing part of the long flight was that we were actually able to lay our sleeping babe across our laps and he stayed asleep for about 3 hours. He awoke towards the end and daddy thought we should give him more milk . I was hesitant but let him drink a cup and we regretted that decision about 10 minutes before landing. Roman projectile vomited all over me, daddy, himself, and the plane. Y’all it was a mess and it was stinky. Thank goodness it was at the end of the flight and thank God I had packed a change of clothes for all of us in the carry on luggage. We were able to change our clothes and sponge bathe at the Amsterdam airport. I also got some new perfume out of the ordeal. 🙂
Lesson #2- Book seats with extra leg Room
We learned on our flight back home that there are seats in economy class with tons of leg room. ( I think it was called “comfort economy”) Although we had not booked these ourselves the man checking us in upgraded us to these seats and we were in heaven. After sitting in them we decided that is the way to go in the future. We were actually able to set our little guy on the floor and we still had room to stretch out our legs! Amazing! These seats are the ones located right behind the divider of the business class and economy class or at least on our Dutch airline it was. We felt like we were in first class with all the extra space!
Lesson #3- Bring some new Toddler Activities
One of the things I had read for preparation for long trips is to bring new things to entertain your little one with. So I ordered a few items on amazon and made a trip to the dollar store before we left and kept most of the stuff hidden until the trip. I wanted things that were light weight and could also fit in his little monkey backpack harness so he could carry them around. Here are some of the little things I put inside:
- sticker activity books that were plane and train themed to get him excited about being on different forms of transportation.
- This Colorforms activity which was great because they only stick to the book so no mess or sticky residue to deal with.
- I also got this cute Lauri Toddler Tote, a great little activity set. It is a bit little larger of an item so I stuck this is inside my carry on bag and we ended up playing with it a lot when we were not traveling around. It was just a great toy to bring along on the whole vacation.
- I got a couple little toy cars and trucks at the dollar store and some coloring books too. You can really get some great stuff there.
Lesson #4- Bring a lightweight and sturdy Stroller
I knew our everyday stroller was going to be too big to be bringing on an airplane and too heavy to be carrying around when not in use too. So I did some research for awhile on a good umbrella stroller and ended up with Joovy Groove Ultralight which really did end up being great! It is light and folds up small and it’s tall enough for both my husband and I to push around without tripping on it (I am 5′-10″ and he is 6′-1″). My main concern for an umbrella stroller was the wheels on all the stone paths of Europe . Most strollers you see there have giant wheels that are made for that purpose. But this stroller held up, it probably was not the smoothest of rides but my babe didn’t seem to care. I also purchased the rain cover to go with it because I knew it was going to be rainy while we were there. Good decision 😉
Lesson #5- When checking a Car Seat, put inside a travel bag
We brought our car seat with us because we knew we were going to be traveling in cars once we were in Sweden. I ended up buying this Britax Car Seat Travel Bag for our seat which was awesome for getting in and around the airport with. It has wheels on the bottom of the bag. I had read that airports can be rough on a car seat so I wanted to make sure the seat was protected as possible. It seems to have held up to the expectations.
Lesson #6- Fill up your handheld device with your Toddler’s Favorite tv shows
Our train rides from Gothenburg Sweden to Copenhagen and back went pretty smoothly. (even though we almost missed the returning train) It was about a 4 hour trip and I had loaded up our kindle with tons of “Sesame Street” and “Wonder pets”. Roman was pretty content watching his shows . Even though I don’t like letting him watch that much TV, there are certain times when it really helps that he will just sit still and not whine.
I learned that I could not download more shows from my prime account once I was outside of the US so we were stuck with the 10 shows I downloaded for the whole two week trip. Roman didn’t seem to care too much but I wish I had downloaded a few more for my own sanity.
Once again, I hope this list helps others in the future and I might need to reference it again in the future. Although I think traveling with two toddlers would bring up a whole other list of lessons and tips.
I hope to post more about the actual vacation soon. Stay tuned.
Mama Belly, Lili
* I purchased all items that I have mentioned above and all opinions stated are my own. However, the post does contain affiliate links.