Tips on How to Travel With a Toddler (Even to Argentina!)
I considered my husband and I to be experienced travelers with a round-the-world trip under our belts by our fourth year of marriage. All the parents who scoffed at us for wanting to travel with kids, we tossed aside, because clearly they didn’t know what we could withstand …
I Pinterested, Googled, and studied blogs on the do’s and don’ts on how to take an 18 month old to Argentina for three weeks and survive. Travel brings the unexpected — always. It is not sensitive that you may have a toddler or baby with you. Due to this, there were moments, hours, and even consecutive days that my husband and I were convinced we would never travel again — not with babies, toddlers or even adult children.
Thankfully, we eventually figured it out along the way. All unexpected circumstances, preventable and unpreventable, were a learning experience. How do you avoid those consecutive days of peril, you ask? Brace yourself: They aren’t avoidable. However, these tips will help.
Bring lots of food for while in transit. Transit is all the time waiting in lines, waiting on buses, waiting on tours, waiting for food, etc. Specifically for plane transit, bring chewy foods such as beef jerky, taffy, gummies or dried fruit to help with ears on the flight. In tandem to that, fill up the child’s sippy cup before the flight, otherwise you will have to wait for the stewardess, which feels uncomfortably long when your child is crying on the plane. When a meltdown occurs, know that they are most likely not bothering more than a few rows, because the engine is louder than you think.
On the ground, try to sleep in one spot. All inclusive is the way to go, honestly, but if you are a glutton for punishment like us and want to rough it, at least get a full apartment (Airbnb) or a fully stocked hotel with transportation, booking services, language of your choice, good food, entertainment, a good breakfast and lots of space to roam.
The most important tip I can give is to delegate roles. One person has all travel responsibility — they carry it all, they translate it all, they google it all; they are the GPS, the planner, the booker and beyond. The other has the toddler. Yes, only the toddler. Because a toddler does not understand sidewalks, personal space of strangers, volume control in small intimate spaces, or keeping toys, snot and slobber to themselves. That is a full time job of wrangling and entertaining.
Because both my husband, Aaron, and I work full time, we have never spent three weeks straight as a family together, much less in a novel environment. Staying immersed in our daily grind would never have given us the opportunity to attune to one another like this trip did.
We experienced Argentina’s culture in a richer way because of having our son with us. They loved him and doted on him at every turn. Rather than arresting his development, he exploded in language, skill and personality because of the attention from the Argentinians and the closeness he had with us.
To all the foreboding parents who shook their heads at our crazy proposal to travel with our toddler, I get it. This is is not a task for the lighthearted, but it is well worth it. Just go with the expectation that there won’t be any time to drink an espresso reflectively while gazing into the sunset.