My Tips when travelling with a Toddler

Monday, February 10, 2014

Honestly, when I still didn't have a kid - I thought it was such a bad a idea to travel with kids below 5years old.  For one, they won't remember anything right?  Two - the logistics!  Three - gosh, the packing!

But when we had Kailee - well, it was still sort of the same.  I hated the packing.  We only I think had one just one out of town trip and that was to Subic.  We packed so many things for her that we laughed and said that we packed the whole house!  To think that Subic was just nearby - and it has supermarkets and drugstores.  What were we thinking?  Well, I guess we thought, that it was better to be safe than sorry right?

Fast forward to when Kailee turned two.  My Panget and I were at the Travel Fair - and he decided that he wanted to bring Kailee along to Tokyo.  I argued otherwise but when he put his foot down and declared that he wanted to bring his kid along - I agreed (what could I do right?) - in one condition, that we bring Yaya with us.  I told Panget that I would die having to take care of a toddler and still pumping every so often, luckily - he agreed.  So there, we brought Yaya with us - and it was the most RELAXED trip ever!  Yaya was the one who packed everything for Kailee - I didn't need to worry about anything because she took care of it.  All I had to do was give her the luggage, and voila - she fills it up!  A few months after that trip, my Panget and I decided to bring Kailee to Hong Kong.  We said that it was the perfect place because we were already familiar with the city, plus I knew where the nursing rooms/baby changing rooms were because I was pumping a year prior, so I knew where to go and when.  So there.

But the thing was - we didn't have a Yaya in tow.  That meant - feeding, bathing, putting to sleep.  I was so sure that I was going to be tasked to do all of those - but I had to argue that I couldn't and woulnd't be able to do that.  So we divided the task - Panget would handle the bathing part.  The feeding part, we would take turns.  We even brought a carrier (Ergo Baby Carrier) along - just in case.  Our stroller doesn't recline, so we thought we'd be doomed.  During our first trip with Yaya, well - when Kailee was sleepy we would just go inside a mall and have yaya sit somewhere carrying Kailee while she was asleep - while my Panget and I roam the mall (Haha!!)  Since it was the first time without a yaya - I was so stressed and worried!

It was a good thing that I sat beside Lyn at a friend's wedding.  She gave me the BEST advice ever - the 'Bahala Na' attitude.  She said that when they first travelled with their daughter, they too were stressed on having their child eat on time, nap on time and eat as much.  But then they realized that it wasn't a vacation anymore - that stress was taking over.  So they shifted their attitude to the 'Bahala Na' attitude.  Bahala na if she won't eat as much - she will ask for food when she's hungy.  Bahala na if she doesn't finish her milk!  Bahala na what time she naps, Bahala na where she naps and how long she naps.  When they went with the 'Bahala Na' attitude - everything was smooth sailing.

So when we left, I also had that same idea in my head.  My Panget and I agreed to be on the same page with the Bahala Na thing.  And I tell you - it was the best decision ever.  But you know what - our kids, I think they mature when we're out of the country.  Because for the first time - Kailee ate by herself.  She was well behaved and followed our instructions.  She wasn't throwing tantrums (well, she normally doesn't) as I thought she would in a new environment.  She was so well behaved!  

Kailee ate when we ate, she slept on the carrier while we were walking on the streets, she would ask for milk when she liked and would tell me that she was hungry.  When she was sleepy she would tell me and I'd tell her to just sleep while on the carrier and she would!  She would also tell me if it was time to change her nappies.  She was well behaved!  So after that trip, my Panget and I realized that we could travel with Kailee, without a yaya.  And so we went, last month to Singapore.  And it was a success too!  Singapore is so child friendly!  I was amazed and impressed at the same time.  The only complaint I had was that - it was so freaking hot!  But that's Singapore, right?

So, here are a few tips I have for those traveling with toddlers:  
Don't stress!  Relax and enjoy the vacation - its a vacation, right?  Let your child have fun too!  Don't be too keen to follow an itinerary - enjoy and take your time.  Don't be strict on a time schedule too!  Just go with the flow..

What to bring in your carry on:
I suggest you bring a small trolley - easier to handler, maneuver and can be thrown around.
-  Medicines (allergy meds, LBM meds - erceflora!, hydrite salts, tempra, ibuprofen, band aid, bactroban)
-  Diapers (please bring at least 3 extra diapers, just in case!)
-  Clothes (I always bring 2 sets of extra clothes)
-  Jacket (for when she gets cold)
-  Entertainment (books, coloring books, drawing book, washable crayons, a toy or two)
-  Snacks (biscuits, bread, yogurt, chips)
-  Drinks (water and milk - in my case formula.  I pack my formula in those small ziplock containers so that they're easier to handle, and I wouldn't need to takal every night!  I also suggest a disposable system for the bottles - so extra nipples will come in handy)
-  Plastic bags (to store the soiled clothes and used diapers)
-  Ziplocks (I have this NEED to bring them anywhere I go.. ask my Panget!)
-  Eco bags - (just in case your trolley fails you, you have something to carry those things with!)

What you should bring with you:
-  Is it just me or do kids change clothes more that twice a day at times?  So for those incidents - well, better to prepare at least 2 outfits a day.  So for a 5 day trip, bring 10 sets of clothes.  Kids clothes are small and are not usually bulky - I always tell myself that its better to have extra clothes in the luggage!  I wouldn't want to handwash them when its kulang!
-  We always bring an extra pair, just in case the ones they have on - breaks!
-  I always bring extra - I wouldn't want to buy costly diapers abroad!
-  I always ask our pedia what i need to bring before we leave.  I pack the emergency meds in my bag/carry on and another complete set inside the luggage.
Milk & Bottles
-  Since I use formula - I pack them in #3 ziplock containers for easy storage.
-  I use the disposable system when abroad, no need to wash so many things!  Bring extra liners and nipples!!
-  I brought a box of Jacob's Hi-Calcium biscuits to Singapore and it was wiped out!  I bring this in the bag everyday just in case Kailee gets hungry all of a sudden.  We also bought a LOT of yogurt (in the local supermarkets) because she loved eating it.
-  Yes, please bring one!  It comes in handy.  During our trip to HK, we never got to use it.  But last month - it was a lifesaver!
Baby Carrier
-  Bring one just in case.  We used it everyday in HK.  It was so convenient, a bit heavy and needs a bit of getting used to BUT very userful.  We brought this with us to Singapore but never got to use it.  We have the ErgoBaby brand and I swear by it!

I think, that's about it!  Please do feel free to add more, I think I may have missed some things, but what the heck - I'll just add on to this list when I remember them!  Hahaha... (the effects of the anesthesia...)

So there you have it!!

Thank you for the inspiration for this post The Pinay Mom!! :)


  1. Didi, great post and thank you for crediting me on your blog.
    You made me smile about calling your husband "Panget". I couldn't imagine all the travels you did, but it's good to expose the kids while they're still young, just to get hang of it!

  2. You are most welcome! I refer to him as Panget ever since I started this blog. He doesn't want to be named and doesn't want me to post pictures of him - thus PANGET! Hahaha... Puros short travels naman sila. Yours kasi is long haul..

  3. It's so ironic naman on our part that I always want to bring Geoff (almost 2y/o) with us, pero at the same time, stressing about taking care of him. Just like you, I follow the "bahala na" rule, however, pag tumakbo na si bagets, nakakaloka na sa pagod. He is the type pa naman na ayaw sa stroller. Either he walks, or we carry him. :)

    Nice post, btw.

    1. Thank you Joanne for visiting! :)
      Kailee used to not like the stroller, pero I think na discover niya na masarap palang naka-upo lang at tinutulak! Pero I think we need to get a bigger stroller kasi parang masikip na, kawawa na itsura niya sa stroller!! :)

      Swerte ako na Kailee doesn't run around as much - ang kalaban namin is... PLAYGROUND! When she sees one - parang gusto niyang manatili duon FOREVER! hahaha...

      Thanks for the visit Joanne!

  4. I think I should get some tips from you travelling to Tokyo with kids. I plan to bring my niece and nephew there and I know how Tokyo can be so challenging.

    1. CC - it can be challenging IF you want to stick to a schedule! Hahaha.. You know how unpredictable kids are. I don't think I'd make it without having the *bahala na* attitude! Hihi..:) Do let me know if you need help! I'd gladly share tips with you!! :)

      Love, Didi