Traveling with Toddlers: Road-trips vs Flying
Traveling with small kids can be daunting and stressful, especially as a single parent. Normally I tend to tow my mom with me for support but this time around we would be setting out alone with a kid and dog in tow for a weekend at my parents’ in Arizona. While traveling with Grayson most of the time is easy, it doesn’t stop me from stressing out over the potential issues that could come up with traveling alone. This got me thinking, I wonder how many other parents go through this, single or not. So I decided to poll my friends to see what mode of transportation they preferred if they were choosing between flying and driving like I was.
Not surprisingly, out of the 26 parents who participated in the poll 54% prefer road trips over flying with their kids. But it still surprised me that a good chuck(46%) still preferred flying. While flying with just me is stressful in it of itself, flying with a kid just adds to the stress.
What if he runs off?
What if we miss our flight or its delayed four hours?
What if he starts screaming in the middle of the terminal/flight/security line?
How is it physically possible to change a diaper in the bathroom you have barely enough room to turn around in?
Some gave the reason that their kids just absolutely hate being the the carseat for that long, but most admitted they personally just wanted to get the traveling over with and that flying was the quickest way to do that. And to that, I completely understand. Sometimes road trips, as nice as they can be, take FOR-EV-ER, and there are many unexpected things that could come up(like a two hour drive from Flagstaff to Phoenix that turns into a FOUR hour road trip due to weather and car accidents.)
But overall I think why most people like road trips is it can become what you make it to be. As inconvenient as our two-hour-turned-four-hour trip was, it made for good bonding conversations with my parents and it was heartwarming to see my dad and Grayson bond in the backseat over snacks and whatever else.
On our drive from San Diego to Phoenix and back, Grayson was able to watch movies, play with his toys, and sleep when he wanted. I stopped to let him play at rest stops and parks or to eat in cool diners we found along the way. And most of all we were able to blast the Trolls soundtrack and have a dance party as we drove across the desert, laughing and counting the motorcycles that passed.
While I can’t say that traveling solo with Grayson is ideal all the time, when it is necessary I praise the sun and the moon that Grayson loves traveling to places, whether by plane, train, or automobile, and is usually the content and easygoing. With that being said, I’ve included some tips and things I do when I fly and drive with my two year old. I hope they help!
Flying & Driving
Always have snacks. We usually pack his favorite like pouches, goldfish or granola bars, and maybe a treat like M&Ms to be used for bribing (I’m not above it lol).
Activities are a must! Pack a small backpack or bag with stickers, crayons & coloring books, reading books, or movies on a tablet or laptop that you know he can watch ten times and never get bored.
Have a cup that is spill proof and easy for your kids to drink out of and refill. We use the Munchkin Slippers that you can find here
When you are flying and have a kid that is traveling in his own seat and using a carseat, this carseat trolly was an absolute life saver because it allowed us to check our stroller and use his carseat as a stroller when we were in the airport. It was totally worth the money spent. You can find it here.
A comfort object. Whether it's their pacifier, blankets, stuffed animal, doll, or action figure, having something familiar to hold can do wonders.
Dress them in pajamas or something equally comfortable and have a change if need be, to include a sweater because you know those airplanes are always freezing.
On road trips if I remember I will pack a small thing of bubbles for when we stop. This allows Grayson to burn off some energy when he runs around chasing them it keeps him more content when we get back in the car. The last time I did this he slept for two hours afterwards in the car. I call that a win!
I hope these little tips and tricks help! Comment below your favorite tips and tricks for traving with your little one!
X’s & O’s,