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Tips for Traveling with 2-3 years old kids

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The main difference between traveling with 1 year old children and traveling with 2-3 years old kids is that toddlers have much more energy and are almost constantly on the move. Fortunately many toddlers still like to sleep in a car and on board a plane.
When you are traveling by car for the whole day definitely plan frequent stops (at least every 2-3 hours) to let your child run around and use his energy. Of course if your little one falls asleep I doubt that you'll want to wake him - make a stop after his nap and he'll be happy to move even more.
During long flights try to walk with your child along the aisles but usually flight attendants are not really supportive. You can let your child to stand in his chair for a short period of time, but the best thing is to book tickets for the first row behind the wall. Then, your kid will have at least some space to stand, jump or play on the floor.
Being in such a crowded and busy place like an airport means that you have to watch your child constantly. Try to keep him in a stroller or hold his hand all the time when you are on a move. It helps a little to put a bright tee on him, so you can always spot him immediately.
Nowadays almost every large airport has family bathrooms, which are so much more convenient then regular ones.
You can already buy your toddler a small backpack and suggest he fill it up with some toys for the trip.

And here are some necessities that you should pack yourself (for car trips you can still use your old diaper-bag but for traveling by plane a backpack will be more convenient as it will free your hands:
1. Some diapers, baby wipes and a couple of receiving blankets (you can also use disposable changing mats). If your child is potty trained I'd suggest you bring a small potty with you, as it's rather difficult for a kid of this age to use a public restroom.
2. A change of clothing.
3. Your child’s favorite blanket or some toy which he likes to take with him to bed.
4. Antibacterial wipes.
5. A small zipper bag of first aid medicines.
6. An interesting book that you can read to him.
7. If he doesn't have his own backpack, take a small bag full of little toys. It'd be great if you could take a couple of new toys for the trip.
8. I think it's too early to let them watch a lot of DVDs at this age. We usually pick up a couple of children’s CDs to listen in the car. You can buy some wonderful audiobook for your children using links on the left.
The best way to entertain children at this age is to talk to them (it's also very good for their development in general). In a car you can explain what you see outside the window, in an airport try to find a big window where you can see planes, cars etc. My son could watch an airport scene for hours. You can also read a book, find a playground at the airport, or find a toy store.
Food and snacks can also help you to kill some time. Pick up some of your child’s favorite food items for your trip. Try not to give him anything new before or during the trip - he could get an allergic reaction or an upset stomach. I also suggest that you don't give him a lot of sugary treats, especially if your child is very active anyway, but keep a couple of candy or chocolates (if your child already tried them) in a pocket for some hard times.
Here are some ideas for “travel food and snacks”:
1. 2-3 cans of his favorite baby food, don't forget a spoon.
2. A couple of juice boxes (for the airport security remember to put all your liquid in a quart size zipper bag).
3. If your child likes sandwiches take a couple.
4. A bag of apple slices or baby carrots.
5. 1-2 bags of crackers, maybe different varieties.
6. Pretzel sticks.
7. If your child has already tried some dried fruit or nuts make a small bag of “travel mix”, just keep in mind that dried fruits have tons of sugar in them.
8. 1-2 children nutrition bars, try to get less sweat varieties.
9. You can take a couple of cheese sticks.
10. For the trip you could make an exception and take a couple of bags of all natural chips.
Of course many of these things you can buy at the airport or at the rest area, but chances are that they would be different kinds from what you're used to and of much worse quality.

Next page: Traveling with 4-6 year old children

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