By: Revanche

Travel with toddler: going international! (Part 2)

May 31, 2017

Know what happened? We survived our trip!

It was a weird trip for me, not having prebooked every single item with my own hands, but that’s how some of these trips go. It’s been a while but I made myself just go with the flow as much as I could, and work on self preservation instead.

The flight there

It wasn’t as bad as it could have been. It definitely could have gone better. We enjoyed a relatively easy boarding, except for that rush to get a tag for our stroller that we had to gate-check, but ze was pretty happy to run down the plane aisles to our seat and get buckled in like a pro flyer.

It was a very long haul from there. Food was fun, airplane food trays are great, and so is knocking liquids off my tray like a grouchy cat. We did lots of stickers on windows and climbing over Mt Parents, and cleaning up spills.

JuggerBaby only had a few mini, thankfully brief, meltdowns. Ze hates being touched or cuddled when trying to settle down for sleep, though, preferring to fling zir arms wide open and flop like a half stunned fish out of water, singing like an alley cat for about 20 minutes before passing out cold. Good luck doing that on a plane seat!

We offered laps to lay on but Angry Cat was Angry. We spent 5 of the 8 “sleep” hours with PiC providing a bookend on the aisle seat and me being a human barrier on the edges of all three seats so ze could sort of flop safely in the remaining trough of the seats. Pretty awful, pretty much. I didn’t get a wink and ze maybe got four hours of naps pieced together.

The flight back

Peaches and cream, how I craved sleep on this trip! We kept waking up at 2 am, 4 am, 5 am.

You know what’s great? Baby safe melatonin! JuggerBaby had a bad cough while we were gone, and one of the things we discovered was that Zarbee’s also makes a nighttime version of their cough syrup. I timed it poorly, giving it to zir half an hour before the food was served so ze conked out without eating dinner. Whoops. That bought us a solid blissful six hours of non-wrangling time.

What we packed

Everything in ziplock bags as a cheap alternative to buying packing cubes. I can squash a lot of clothes in my pseudo cubes and they’re reused endlessly.


2 hard containers that are the perfect size to hand off to JuggerBaby to clutch, and refillable with the magic that is raisins. We’re not insane, we go nowhere without a pound of raisins. Everything else goes in disposable ziplock bags.


JuggerBaby still licks everything and thinks cleaning up / packing / unpacking is awesome fun. Therefore everything we pack is geared around that.

We avoid small bite size things that ze will just eat: paper clips, erasers, bottle caps. Instead I packed three ziplock bags o’ fun.

Bag 1: a deck of cards, a bag of hair bows, crayons and paper, watercolor play pad.
Bag 2: legos, 3 colorful strings of beads, 5 sheets of bubble wrap rolled into a zipper pouch, disposable stickers hoarded from every illicitly-baby free trip to Trader Joe’s.
Bag 3: reusable stickers, window clings, a notepad and pen.

We rotate bags: one is checked for the ride home, one per parental carry on.

Make use of your surroundings

Never underestimate the wonders of the seat back reading material. At 13-15 months, they were weapons to be brandished dangerously, or flapped to make floppy fan noises to the pure delight of a giggler. At 2 years plus, they’re great for spontaneous “what do you see” games. We went through a 22 page transit magazine in another language twice, spotting pictures. Still no idea what the magazine was about, but that was 20 solid minutes and now I know JuggerBaby has no idea what a pineapple actually looks like.


I missed his face excessively. I also missed our previous dogsitter excessively. It’s good to have a back up but as nice as these folks were, they’re just not the Original Best sitter. OB would send updates and pictures without reminders, and paid very close attention to his medical needs. She would even catch him licking when he was starting a flare up and take care of it before it got worse. She’s even bathed him and done his laundry when we’ve been on long trips.

The back up sitters fed him and medicated him, as far as I can tell, but his bedding was grubby, I had to keep reminding them to send me updates, it was just … not right.

:: What’s your favorite international destination? Would you go with or without family (chosen or blood)?Β 

6 Responses to “Travel with toddler: going international! (Part 2)”

  1. We’ve been all over with our now five and two year old. I will give you one warning, not knowing how old your kids are, the worst time to travel with kids seems to be between 1.5 and 2.5. They want to explore and are mobile. They are still to young for a TV to distract them.

    • Revanche says:

      I’d agree! Travel at months 13-15 was really mobile and active, TOO active!, for us, and 18-30 months is a new full on challenge. I’m suddenly understanding why traveling with infants seemed easier for some folks.

  2. I am packing cough syrup. FOR SURE.

    Funniest part?

    “Ze hates being touched or cuddled when trying to settle down for sleep, though, preferring to fling zir arms wide open and flop like a half stunned fish out of water, singing like an alley cat for about 20 minutes before passing out cold. ”

    sherry @ save. spend. splurge. recently posted…In the world of Save. Spend. Splurge.: Where the first humans in North America may not have been homo sapiensMy Profile

  3. I really want to visit Iceland and I’m trying to convince my wife that we can do it with a one year old and 3 year. She’s not as excited about the 5.5 hr flight but I think we’d have a blast. I guess we’ll see πŸ™‚
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…Guest Post: Please Stop Spoiling My KidMy Profile

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