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After reading a fabulous post from mummytravels who’s tag line drew me in with “can you really keep travelling with a baby in tow” and then reading through her blog I discovered the post in question, 11 things travel has taught me about parenting and it got me thinking about what I have learnt and what the toddler terror has learnt.
Now as I may have mentioned more than once, we are expats out in Dubai. Therefore some element of travel is to be expected even if it is just the hop between the UK and Dubai for big occasions (my brothers wedding, Christmas, anniversaries, because we miss the cold, to escape the summer heat are some examples I can think of!). We left the UK when the toddler terror was 6 months however it wasn’t his first flight, or even the first time he left the country. Oh no, not this baby!
You see, the husband is an avid traveller. Something I think he got from his dad who was a pilot out in the Middle East. His country count stands at 48. My country count when we met was 11. I’d had a lot of holidays but generally exploring France or the god awful 18-30 holidays in Greece (and not real Greece, tacky Greece, the Malia’s and the Kavos’ of the islands. Where all I did was drink all night and sleep on the beach all day). Having met the husband, he instilled in me a desire to see the world. And gave me a promise to show me the world.
Which he has done, since the day we met in 2008 he’s taken me on numerous trips and my country count now stands at 33. With one of my most memorable moments being sat on top of a temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia watching the sunset leaning on his shoulder he kissed my head and told me “I always promised you I’d show you the world.” And he is.
Enjoying some baby free time in the Maldives
So it’s only natural that the same would be true for the toddler terror. The world is a big place and we want to instill in him the same love of exploration, travel and adventure that we have. So any travel we get chance to do we do, any holiday we take. And slowly but surely we are filling up his passport.
The toddler terrors country count
9. Sri Lanka
From the Christmas markets in Bruges, to the luxury of our honeymoon in Bali, trekking round the ruins of Petra, reliving the husbands youth in Bahrain. Every trip is different and every trip holds a special memory in my heart (and normally a promise at some point a promise to myself that we will NEVER do this again)
And there’s so much more I want to show him, I want to take him to France to experience the food and the long languid meal times, I want to head back to Greece but go visit the splendour of Athens, to America to Disneyland….and many many more! Though recently travel has been curtailed somewhat these past few months whilst I’ve been growing a baby!
Enjoying hot chocolate in Bruges, swimming in Mauritius, partaking of a Singapore Sling in Raffles, chilling at the beautiful Alila villas in Bali
Daddy showing the nostalgic sites of Bahrain, trekking in Petra, climbing Sigiriya in Sri Lanka, driving Grandads boat in Cyrpus
My top tips for travelling
1. ALWAYS take a spare set of clothes, for you and the baby/toddler
I used to remember to do this when the toddler terror was tiny, but as time went on and my shoulders didn’t want to bear the brunt of the hand luggage weight anymore, my spare clothes (at the very least a spare top) went out the window. I was cocky, he hadn’t been sick on me as a baby blah blah…..yeah, the past 2 times we’ve travelled I end up being weed on. That’s right, you read correctly, I didn’t learn the first time. Cue me wandering round airport arrivals covered in wee. Sigh.
2. Sucking something on take off
When the terror was a baby this was easy, I breast fed and even if he wasn’t hungry he used to suck for comfort. Now he is a toddler I tend to feed him his favourite snacks (raisins, chocolate covered rice cakes, chocolate covered anything really!) and allow juice through a straw!
Now this might not help if you are formula feeding, or if your toddler isn’t cooperative, but when he was taking a bottle, I used to wait until we were taxiing to the runway to save him finishing the bottle prior to takeoff (greedy monkey)
3. There is such as thing as TOO MANY toys
See point one about the shoulder weight! Definitely pick carefully with what you do take on a plane/in a car. The top tips for toys are definitely bring old favourites that can’t be done without and bring new toys for the novelty! I started making busy bags
to take with us. I cannot recommend these enough! Our had puzzles, stickers, finger puppets, new books, a mini magnadoodle thing.
And if all else fails, there’s the iPad/your phone/the entertainment remote/the TV, anything they are not normally allowed!
4. Always add extra time
A journey that used to take you 2 hours?! Nah, double it and add some. And then if you come in any sooner then give yourself a pat on the back!
5. Don’t worry about routine
The flight falls over naptime? Don’t worry, its just for one day, remember the majority of babies are fairly adaptable. Besides…chances are you are taking them through time zones where you will want to change their naptimes anyway!
6. Invest in a good carrier
Trying to juggle a pram, a toddler, a baby, hand luggage or any combination of the the above is a hassle. Especially when other people are also trying to get to planes/trains. Then when you get on the plane the pram is left at the gate so you could be left with a baby and all the hand luggage. Even harder if you are travelling alone.
I personally couldn’t recommend the +Ergobaby
enough, I may have mentioned my love before here
I have been to the UK and back on my own with a demanding 20 month old, including a rushed 50 minute change from Heathrow terminal 5 to terminal 3 to catch a flight up to Manchester. Made all the easier by checking the pram at the beginning and wearing the toddler terror on my back. Saved my arms, stopped him moaning, meant I could run. And the strange thing? People often didn’t realise he was on my back which made it all the more surprising for them when I handed over 2 passports!
7. Take it in turns
And if you aren’t travelling alone then take it in turns! We do “on duty” for an hour then switch off. It means that instead of looking at the 12 hours (or however long on a plane!) as a whole chunk we look at it in more manageable 1 hour slots. And before you know it the flight has gone!
Not sure how this tactic will translate when we have 2 mind you…..
8. When you get there switch straight to local time
Sometimes there is nothing worse than having a baby/toddler with you who wants to sleep all day and play all night because their time zones are messed up.
We move to local time straight away (unless we are only travelling with an hour or so difference and then we keep him on our time so he will stay awake later) and the easiest way we have found to do this is to allow extra naps so he will make it through to bedtime, or to not let him nap so he will get to bedtime and it won’t be too late depending on whether we are going forward or backwards in time!
Another great tip is food, especially as they get older, mealtimes are a great way to show time difference!
9. Above all else, don’t worry its just one day travel, the trip will be worth it!
So go, enjoy and have fun!
Flying back from Dubai to the UK, May 2013
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