I have taken my almost-two-year-olds on three international trips. You could call them “vacations”, but anyone who has travelled with toddler twins (or just one toddler, for that matter) will tell you there is no such thing as a “vacation”.
Two of those trips were cut short- and it’s for the exact same reason. My kids ALWAYS get sick when we travel.
By “sick” I do not mean a cold or low-grade fever. I mean projectile vomiting, 40° raging fever, with 2 teeth coming in and extreme lethargy. Let’s just say enough to make me rebook tickets and travel back across the world- but not without a lovely credit card bill of medical expenses and ticket change fees, of course.
There’s something weird about motherhood (or just me?) that makes you look back on everything with extreme fondness. I mean most women look back on their deliveries and say “Woah… but I’d do it again”. I’m that person with everything.
“Woah, that trip was pretty exhausting. Where should we go next year?”
I know at some point travelling with the little ones will get easier. In an effort to hopefully make your trips more bearable, here are the top 6 mistakes I’ve made travelling internationally with little ones under 2.
Overpacking the carry-on
Dealing with your child is enough- you are not going to want to be slugging overflowing bags around with a bunch of things your little one will look at for all of 5 seconds. Keep it light, and keep it organised for as long as you can, even if this isn’t in your nature.
Maintaining technology “rules”
I don’t let my kids on the iPad. I sometimes let them use our phones. It’s just our way of doing things- the “moderation” style (full disclosure I think whatever way you choose to manage technology is totally fine- no judgement zone!). I thought I would maintain these rules on the airplane. NOPE! Friendly neighbours were actually offering me their technology just to help me keep my toddler in her seat. And I was grabbing it. Next trip we will have kid-friendly apps and videos. Don’t forget to get some kiddo headphones too.
Bringing the World’s Worst Dish Soap
Two of our trips were to Cuba, which meant we needed to bring along dish soap for our bottles and sippy cups. In a frantic last minute shopping trip I tried out a new dish soap- which was a total dud. Between formula, the heat, and the bottles- we needed something that was going to get the job done. Make sure you bring a dish soap that you know works for you- in Cuba (and I’m sure remote destinations), you may not be able to find things like that near your resort.
Bringing Two Umbrella Strollers vs The Double Stroller
Just bring your double stroller. Once you are used to the smooth glide and spacious basket of a good stroller, switching to umbrellas for a long trip is enough to make you pull your hair out.
Booking Trips with Connecting Flights
If you can’t book direct, stay home. Just kidding. Our (my mother, my daughters, and myself) trip to Germany connected through Montreal. It was not terribly difficult on the way there, but on the way home with two sick 8-month-olds and some seriously nutty moms covered in baby puffs, we were definitely wishing our flight had been direct. Our trips without connections were much, much easier.
Worrying what people thought of me
Life is too short, and you are doing the best you can. You are showing your children another part of the world. Good for you. Is it a bumpy ride to get there? You, and every other parent who has done the exact same thing, knows what you are going through. Laugh it off, and remember that these will be part of your family memories for years to come. You will not remember the flight attendant who rolled her eyes. You will remember the kind middle-aged man who sat behind you, whom your toddler repeatedly addressed as her grandfather.
I have always had a passion for travelling internationally, and I hope to show my kids the joys of it as well. It can be challenging (to say the least), but what part of parenthood isn’t?
We intend to take our girls somewhere new before they are 3, and this time somewhere that will be more of an “exploration trip” than a “relaxation trip”. Where have you taken your toddlers? Do you have a favourite/outside-of-the-box vacation destination that’s super kid friendly? Send me a message! I’d love to hear from you.