We recently travelled to Calgary, Canada to visit my husbands side of the family. We camped, hiked, visited different relatives, and went to the biggest stampede in the world, all in a week.
If you have known Ben and I for any period of time, you know that we always have traveling problems. Always. In our almost 4 years of marriage, we've had one successful flight with no complications.
To give you a few examples we almost missed our honeymoon because of Ben's expired passport. We also almost missed a destination wedding that Ben was officiating because I forgot my drivers license and since we left absolutely no time for error, we missed our flight by 5 minutes.
Combine our bad travel luck with a toddler and you have a disaster of epic proportions. We found out 5 days before we left for Canada that our one year old needed a passport. Ben's comment when he found out was, "At least we didn't find out the day of our flight." This is how normal travel complications are in our family.
Fortunately we live an hour from Atlanta which has a passport agency. The next day (4 days before our flight) we drive to the Atlanta Passport Agency and wait in line to get in because we didn't have an appointment. Two hours later we've applied for the passport and they said it will be expedited in the mail on Friday (2 days before our flight.)
Yep you guessed it, Friday roles around we don't get the passport. We call the agency and post office and they said it should be here on Saturday. Saturday comes and goes with us on the phone all day with both the passport agency and the post office and neither of them knew where the passport was.
Bottom line, we had to change our flight to Monday, drive back to Atlanta Monday morning, re-issue the passport and get it 3 hours before our flight leaves.
I tell you this story to give you an example of what NOT to do on your next flight. So here are a few tips on what helped us have a smooth (for the most part) flight to Canada with a one year old.
If you have a baby that is no longer a newborn (6months and older) they need a passport to travel anywhere internationally. Shocking I know but oh how I wish someone had told us this!
Airlines let you drop off the stroller right before you board the plane, and they are the first things they unload when the plane lands. You can use the stroller you already have but we opted to buy this smaller costco one. It was super easy and lightweight to travel with and is incredibly durable.
I ran out of snacks on the way back and boy did I regret it. It took us an hour to switch flights and go through customs again. We purchased food as soon as we got to our gate but the only meltdown that Ellie had the whole trip was during that one hour when we had to walk a lot, go through security again, and go through customs. Always have snacks on hand.
4. WARM AND COLD CLOTHES
We were camping in Canada so even though it's summer, the nights got down to 45/55 degrees. I had to pull out some winter clothes for night and summer clothes for the day.
5. DOUBLE DIAPERS AND WIPES
Let's just say flying can sometimes upset a toddlers stomach so I would recommend having twice the amount of diapers and wipes with you in your carry on bag.
6. ACTIVITY TOYS
My 14 month old happens to be a super energetic, constantly moving baby. I was almost shocked to watch the other babies on the plane and how still they sat and looked at books. Ellie was constantly trying to climb on us, walk in the aisles etc. Toys like stickers and posted notes helped keep her occupied for part of the long flight.
For those of you who are against all technology for your baby, I understand. However having the Ipad was a game changer for us. In one week we flew for 16 hours and were in the car for 10 hours. That's a LOT of sitting for a very active 14 month old. Ellie loves Shaun the Sheep and so far it's the only kids show that doesn't annoy me.
8. FAVORITE STUFFED ANIMAL
Unfortuntaley I forgot Ellie's favorite bunny in the car, and I was regretting it the whole trip. I think it would've really helped her sleep better and would've been a source of comfort on the long plane ride.
9. BOTTLES/SIPPY CUP
Along with the snacks, having a bottle or sippy cup full of milk or juice is super helpful to pull out on a moments notice.
We actually didn't have to bring our carseat because we rented a car and it came with a carseat. This was a lifesaver because we didn't check any bags and what we carried was about all we could handle. While a carseat is a necessity, I would try and either rent one where you are going or borrow one if you have family in the country you're traveling too.
To help you with your check list, I put a little info-graph together of all the essentials we brought on the trip for our baby girl!
I hope this post was helpful for you! Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about traveling with a toddler!