Traveling with a toddler is basically accepting that your world is about to be turned upside-down for a little while.
I’m by no means a professional when it comes to traveling with kids because I’m still figuring it out as I go! I have been lucky enough to be able to travel with Chloe since she’s been born, so I’ve been able to pick up some tips along the way! So, if you’re planning to travel with a toddler at any point, here are my top 5 tips that I think every parent should know!
Accept it now: meltdowns are inevitable and you just have to go with it. So long as you have a realistic expectation that everything will not be sunshine and rainbows, then you’re good. The way I looked at it was that if Chloe only had one big meltdown a day, it was a good day! Think about it this way… it’s a totally different environment for your toddler! The weather, the sights, the sounds, the food, the bed- everything! It can be a big shock for your little one so make sure you have realistic expectations and you’ll be fine.
2. Kid-Friendly Hotel
I can’t even begin to explain how important a kid-friendly hotel is. I’ve stayed at The Peninsula Hotel in New York a few times, so it always feels like coming home when I find myself back here! This time around, I was pretty nervous about traveling with Chloe without Allen so it was so great that the Peninsula Hotel was SO accommodating to Chloe and my very pregnant self.
Besides being absolutely gorgeous, the Peninsula Hotel really catered to Chloe’s needs- setting up an adorable tee-pee in my suite along with a complete s’mores station! They call it Camp Peninsula, but now I call it Camp Chloe! You should have seen how excited she was when she saw it for the first time. She just lit up!
We also hit the Clement restaurant in the hotel for a quick meal a few of the nights we were there- they even gave Chloe a little teddy bear! How sweet is that? The food was fantastic, the service was phenomenal and with a toddler in tow, the convenience was everything. The kid’s menu was so good, I even ordered off of it a few times for myself!
One of the coolest things I noticed about The Peninsula Hotel in New York was the art in the lobby and around the hotel. Turns out, for their 30th anniversary they have a curated art installation showcasing some works from artists made famous in the 80’s! With artists like Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and Jean-Michael Basquiat, it was like walking straight into a museum.
But honestly, beyond the kid’s menu and Camp Peninsula, it really came down to the little things. Having a toddler in tow is already overwhelming but even more so when you’re away from home. From helping me call a cab every morning so I wouldn’t have to stand on the street with Chloe, helping me fold up the stroller so my big belly and I didn’t have to bend over, to even the little presents that they would give Chloe would totally make her day.
The Peninsula Hotel in Manhattan made a trip I was already stressed about so easy and effortless.
3. Screen Time
I recently talked about this on my Instagram here and it was really interesting to see what you guys had to say about giving your toddlers and kids screen time. Some are against it, some are for it, but I found that personally I like for Chloe to interact with the screen in a positive way.
I let her have screen time when I’m working or on the plane to keep her occupied. Her iPad was honestly my saving grace. A lot of you guys have been asking me what educational apps/games I let her play with on her iPad and these are amazing… This one is called Writing Wizard for Kids which lets her trace letters so she can learn how to write! She also really loves AlphaTots and LeapFrog Academy.
She’s learning and she’s out of my hair, a win-win!
4. Sleep Schedule
Okay, let’s talk about sleep. Jet lag can be a challenge with kids but I was actually surprised at how well Chloe transitioned to east coast time. For a while before the trip, I was considering keeping her on west coast time but I decided to switch her as soon as we landed. It only took her about a day to get used to the new time! So with a smaller time difference, I suggest switching your toddler over but keeping nap time the same. That way, they get the same amount of sleep and you don’t have to deal with tantrums caused by pure exhaustion.
5. Asking for Help
If you don’t have friends or family where you’re going, I always head straight to the park! It helps take the pressure off entertaining your toddler, lets them play with kids their own age and tires them out! I was so lucky to have my sister, Laura and best friend help me out with Chloe while we were in New York. I was able to convince my sister Jane to take a day off from work to help me out! She was able to take Chloe around New York, visit the Central Park Zoo and eat NY pizza! It took Chloe off my hands for a big day of meetings and it’s something that Chloe will remember for the rest of her life!
Another huge shout out to all of Chloe’s aunties who helped me out and everyone in my Peninsula Hotel family for making my stay so memorable. Until next time, New York!
PS: If you want to read any more about my tips for traveling with toddlers or traveling with a baby be sure to check out my traveling with a toddler checklist here or if you’re little one isn’t a toddler yet… here’s my post about what you need for traveling with a baby and my tips for bringing your baby on a plane!
Photography by Xin Wang