<– See last month’s installment, Planning Tips for Travel with a Baby – 12 Months to 18 Months
The Ages & Stages series continued…
Planning Tips for Travel with a Baby 18 to 24 Months
These are the final months your child will be able to fly as a lap child—free on domestic flights and for around 10% of your ticket price on international flights. On anything but short flights, however, you may prefer to purchase a seat for him, and some airlines will provide a special discount for “infants” in seats, meaning any child before his or her second birthday (be sure to read this post if Southwest Airlines is an option and you’ll find more possibilities in the Airlines Comparison Chart in Travels with Baby).
Where to go: Since it can be very difficult for children at this age to grasp that there is a worthwhile payoff for sitting still hours at a time, your child may not have much patience for long hours spent in transit, especially in the car seat or in airplanes. Train travel, which allows for greater physical freedom and more face time with Mom and Dad, may be preferred (Travels by Train, part VI of the Travels with Baby guidebook has tips on rail travel with small children in the U.S., Canada, and Europe). It’s also an ideal time for camping trips or beach vacations close to home, but be careful in choosing campsites as your child is highly mobile but does not yet understand dangers such as campfires, creeks, wildlife, or poison oak. You might also enjoy a family-friendly cruise, with flexible dining options, a playroom, and family-friendly entertainment (part VII of Travels with Baby, Travels by Cruise Ship, will help you land upon a perfect fit, and don’t miss Five Things You Should Know Before Planning a Cruise with a Baby or Toddler).
Sleep tips: It may be getting more difficult to convince your child it is time to go to bed when you are sharing a hotel room or cruise ship cabin, and are not ready to do so yourselves. It may be worth the upgrade to a 1-bedroom suite at hotels or resorts to give you some separation of space, or to get a ship cabin or room with a balcony where you can step out and enjoy quiet conversation or a game of cards once Junior hits the hay. Vacation rentals and condos may also provide more space and value, but remember they may also come with more travel childproofing needs for your curious explorer, so learn all you can about the space ahead of time (review photos, send the owner questions) to be prepared. Helpful equipment recommendations in Safety & Childproofing Products and remember you can also use the Worldwide Directory of Baby Gear Rentals to rent equipment (travel beds, possibly safety gates, and more) at your destination.
Other tips: It will be important to break up long drives when possible and walk laps around the airplane together on long-haul flights. Talk about your trip plans ahead of time so that the events and activities, and particularly the transitions between them, will come as less of a surprise to your child. See tips for Pacing Your Journey beginning on pg. 210 of Travels with Baby, and don’t miss Think Outside the Car Seat – Every stop with a toddler doesn’t have to be Disneyland, and Three Favorite Family Pitstops in Foul Weather.
Big help: Whether you have a long flight or a long car ride (or just a long wait in a restaurant), it can be very helpful to keep a “Bag of Discovery” in your day pack or diaper bag during these months. See more in Planning Your In-Flight Entertainment beginning on pg. 282 and Five Screen-Free Favorites to Keep Kids Entertained During Long Flights.
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