Travelling overseas with a Toddler by Jess

“What about Amy?” many people ask me. I understand their curiosity and concern about taking a not-yet two-year-old half way around the world and back.

You know what it’s like when you see a child under 3 (or honestly, anyone under 10) standing with their guardian at the terminal waiting to board your flight. Whether or not you believe in God, most people will pray a few desperate words which usually end with “… please, oh please, not in my section.” I know I’ve said a few of those prayers myself over the years. Being stuck in a large metal cylinder with someone else’s child for 12 hours can be terrifying.

I’m about to join that very… shall I say ‘courageous’ group of parents who endure the interesting hurdles and hazards of taking their wee ones overseas with them. Needless to say I’ve read a lot of blogs looking for tips about travelling and flying with toddlers. They all say one thing, expect the worst and prepare for the worst. Great.

So, why would we do a trip (especially one like this) with a toddler? A few reasons really, 1. because it’s the right time in our lives and 2. we believe that having Amy on this crazy adventure will make it all the more fun. Honestly, life is just more fun with Amy. More tiring? Yes. Messier? Definitely. Truthfully, sometimes I do go a little mental, but life is still richer and better with Amy in it. I could never imagine doing this adventure without her. It would be easier if it was just Tim and me, but not nearly as much fun.

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Taking a little person overseas also means taking little people things and catering for little people needs with a few Government regulations on the side. I thought I’d make a detailed list of things we’re taking. Who knows, maybe this will help someone else like me.

A few trip details:
In case you’ve just stumbled across this blog, here are the basic trip details.

We’ve heading off overseas at the end of March 2014 for about 16 months.
> 1 month in the USA (3 states, two internal flights). This will include a road trip, a few mountainous hikes and goodness knows what else
> 3 months in Brazil (3 cities, 3 internal flights). We’ll be having a two-week holiday plus doing about 9-ish weeks of volunteer/missions work in three different locations
> 3 nights in Istanbul. We’ll be staying close to the main sights, so we’ll do a lot of walking
> 1 year in Thailand (mainly 1 city, but we expect a few internal flights). We’ll be renting somewhere, so once we reach Thailand we won’t be travelling around as much.

We estimate there’ll be a minimum of 12 flights by the time we return to Australia.

Airplane:

I won’t go into all the tricks you can use (other mamma’s have hilarious and informative blogs about those), I’ll just say what we’re putting in Amy’s carry on bag:

  • IPad mini – filled not only with games and TV shows, but also videos of family, us and any animal we come across
  • Child ear plugs
  • Toys – Light plastic figurines (with no small parts), her favourite stuffed teddy and turtles, colouring books, pencil case and stickers
  • Food – As Amy is under 2, she won’t get fed by the airline, so we’ll have to do that
  • A spare change of clothes
  • A realisation that there’s not much I can do once we’re up there. I just need to take it easy on myself (and Amy). We’ll eventually get to each destination

Handbag:
After realising that the $10 hand bag I had been using for the last 6 months or so was about to die, I knew I would have to get a new one. Here’s the thing… I don’t actually technically have my own handbag anymore; I’m a mum, so I have a mum bag now. With this in mind, I knew that I’d have to have a multi-purpose, secure and easy to wear bag, suitable for a variety of locations and situations. I’ve ended up buying an anti-theft cross body travel bag made by Travelon (off eBay). I wanted a cross body bag, because without a proper pram, I know I’ll be wearing it a bit. Sure I could probably get something smaller, but not only is it a mum bag, it’s also an all-day tourist/volunteer bag. That means water bottles and passports, maybe the iPad mini or camera, food and toy etc. This bag… has got to be a goodin’.

I’ve been using this bag for a little while and I’m a happy buyer. There are only two things I’d say. The first is that it’s not as large as the video makes it out to be. The second is that there aren’t any ‘secret women’s pockets’. You know the kind inside the bag that you put your Panadol and other miscellaneous things in. There is one, but it’s see through. No secret about what’s in there.

I’ll keep you updated on how this bag goes during the actual trip. If it’s crap, I will absolutely let you know!

Portacot:
Tim did the research on this one. He read a lot of reviews, thought a lot about the weight etc. and finally decided on the Phil and Teds Traveller portacot. We also got it on sale which never hurts.We’ll pack this into our checked baggage when flying.

Kid Carry pack:
We’re doing some hiking and a bit of touristy walking in ares where a stroller is just not practical. After reading countless reviews, I found a great Phil and Ted carrier on eBay for a bargain. Once again, this will be packed into our checked baggage.

Luggage:
Thinking about flights, until Amy turns two, she won’t have her own seat, hence no luggage allowance. This means we will pay the extra for her little bag and that’s ok, we’ve incorporated that into our budgeting.

Stroller:
After one false start we have bought a Babylove Maxima stroller on sale. It’s light weight (which we need for our flights) and not too expensive. That way if something happens to it, it’s ok. We’ll take this as a carry-on when flying, so it has to be an umbrella stroller.

Car seat:
This one is the trickiest. We’re hiring a car seat while in California and probably when we head to the East Coast. In Brazil we have no idea, but we may have to buy one for the 3 months. In Turkey, we’ll just walk and in Thailand… we’ll see. It’s very much a make it up as we go kind of thing.

One more thing – Potty training:
Ek! I was chatting with my mum about this recently. I saw this Baby U Potette Plus at My Baby Warehouse and thought it would be a great idea, however once I got it open, I was disappointment with the quality. So, I’m not sure what we’ll do for potty training. I’ve just decided not to stress out about it too much. There is no official completion or award for how soon you learn to use a toilet, so we’ll probably wait until Thailand and see how we go. With Amy experiencing so much change, why would I put more pressure on her and myself? I wouldn’t 🙂

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So folks, that’s some of the stuff we have organised for our little one. I hope it’s useful for some, eye-opening for others and amusing for those who have been before and know what’s in store.

Love Jess xxoo

One thought on “Travelling overseas with a Toddler by Jess

  1. Pingback: Travelling overseas with a toddler (Part 2) by Jess | Tim and Jess

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