Why long-haul travel to meet my toddler was the best decision that I have ever made

What started out as a horrible trip turned into the most incredible adventure of my life. Photo / Supplied

Jenni Mortimer shares her story about the joys and tears of traveling with a toddler.

I felt content as I sat down to take the 13-and-a-half hour trip to Vancouver with my son, aged 3. I had everything. I had everything. A bag with snacks, an iPad loaded full of shows, and new toys.

I had already meticulously planned the trip by reading blogs and purchasing the gimmicks tools, as well as creating a plan sheet inside my head.

As dinner service ended, my son took over the table. The tray tables remained empty. I was overwhelmed with regret. My son was determined to board the plane. He enjoyed a lot of fruit chunks, tea cups, muffins, and tea cups.

The next hour was filled of tears and total lack compassion from fellow passengers. I tried to comfort them, but they sank into me.

But what started off as a trip from hell turned into the best trip of my life as I realised not only the incredible resilience of my son, but my own resilience too as I surrendered to a new type of exploration – that of travelling with a toddler.

The dinosaur neck pillow was cute, but the tantrum was not. Photo / Supplied
The dinosaur neck pillow was cute, but the tantrum was not. Photo / Supplied

After the border opened, I was finally able to visit my family and meet my son. I booked the tickets, flew from Vancouver to Washington State, and drove three hours to Washington State in order to visit my family.

Expect to see the tears in you eyes, overtired tantrums, and jetlag.

We checked into our hotel room, and ordered room service. It was then that I understood why traveling with a toddler was so enjoyable.

Toddlers can help you see the magic in everyday items that you might otherwise overlook or take for granted. From the convenience of a hotel minibar to a Costco slice of pizza, it’s all there. A train ride and endless aisles of Walmart. Patting a goat or a chicken. The first hug with an aunt you’ve never had. It was amazing to see my 3-year old son in awe at the world around him. This made me realize that the big scary, frightening world I had been imagining was actually full of magic.

My holiday highlights included tramping the Inca Trail, filling bags in America’s largest mall and taking selfies at The Eiffel Tower. My highlight of this trip was watching my son dance in a bowling alley to disco lights – squealing with joy when his mother allowed him to join in.

Not only did travelling alone with a toddler make me a better mum, but it also made me see the world was still full of magic. Photo / Supplied
I was able travel alone with my toddler, which made me a better mother. It helped me to see that there is still magic out there. Photo / Supplied

It is a joy to watch a toddler explore the globe. Parents may be afraid of the chaos and screaming children in a car, but the rewards outweigh any inconveniences.

My son asked me four hours before I flew home if he could play in a water fountain in an urban park. My immediate response was “hell no”. He could dry the clothes by putting them in a bag. His memories of him running down the streets of Vancouver, with his shirt down, laughing and wet, would last forever. So we did it.

I returned from the trip exhausted but victorious. My son saw the entire world and I felt victorious. “what ifs”A person who can have fun with a lot korma.

Letting my son play in the water fountains in Vancouver was better than seeing any landmark. Photo / Supplied
My son loved Vancouver’s water fountains more than any other landmark. Photo / Supplied

Here are my top travel suggestions for toddlers

All snacks should be packedYou can double how many snacks you think you have and then you can buy more.

Get rid of the plane mealMy son was disgusted by the plane meal that was provided and didn’t touch it. You can feed them beforehand and then throw away the child’s meal (which is served earlier) if you don’t want it. The airline won’t take away a child’s meal until the adult meal service has ended.

Let them enjoy the fountain.The clothes will dry quickly, and the memories will last for a lifetime.

Rent a carRenting a car was a great way of changing the game and making it your second home. It was so easy to get into the car and sleep soundly.

Bring your own stroller or car seatMost airlines will allow you free check-in a stroller or car-seat. It is important that you know the details of your equipment. It was perfect! It collapsed so small that it could fit in the overhead locker.

SkycouchSkycouch – if your budget allows. This age group enjoys a good night’s rest, which will make your holiday more enjoyable.

Do not recline your chair. If you see a parent struggling with children behind you, don’t be a d*** and recline your seat. You can hold a crying child and comfort them by extending your hand 10cm.

Source: Why long-haul travel to meet my toddler was the best decision that I have ever made

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