International Travel With a Toddler

When we booked our trip to Iceland it seemed that everyone in our real life had 1 of 2 comments:

Comment 1:

Wow, that’s going to be amazing.  If you take the trip at Little MPB’s pace, you’ll have a great time.

.

Comment 2:

Wow, you are travelling to Iceland and camping with Little MPB, at his age?!  Are you crazy?!

Truthfully, we wrote off everyone who attempted to warn us.  We took the approach that Little MPB is rather laid back, so he’d adapt well.  We figured we’d go at Little MPB’s pace, and just make the best of it.  We knew it wouldn’t be a cakewalk, but we also thought it would be totally manageable as we camped a lot last summer with Little MPB in tow and had fun even on rainy days.

But, honestly, if anyone had really told us and made us listen to them about just how hard it would be to travel internationally and camp for 8 night with a toddler, maybe we wouldn’t have been so surprised by some of thr hard moments we had.  Truthfully, we saw an absolutely amazing country on virtually no sleep with a very whiny toddler (I don’t blame him – his entire life was turned upside down, I suspect he was confused and maybe even scared given that he left behind nearly all the comforts of his daily life – his home, his bed, his toys, his daycare and even his daily schedule).  I firmly believe a lot of his problems were the result of the fact that he didn’t understand what a vacation is, but given his age, there was no way we could get him to understand.

All this said, I want to acknowledge that I’m so glad we went on this trip.  Honestly, there were so many bright spots and happy moments, that it was absolutely worth it.  And, both Mr. MPB and I agree that we will always treasure the good memories and joke about some of the not so good stuff in years to come, especially one particular photo where Mr. MPB and I are smiling from ear to ear and Little MPB’s expression is that of some sort of death scowl.

I don’t mean to complain, but I want to be honest about the trip.  So, I plan to do a few posts on our lessons learned from international travel with a toddler.  Basically, I’m going to dish out our travel lessons, as I share our experience.

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22 Comments on “International Travel With a Toddler

  1. I feel like a big trip with a toddler is kind of a right of passage as a parent. You don’t truly get the challenge until you do it and after doing it you have all the info you need to empathize and help others and plan (or avoid) anymore yourself :). For us- our long 6-8 (depending on headwind) flights back east to see my husbands family are SO brutal and now that his sister is about to have a baby I can’t wait to force her to fly to us so she will finally understand and not be upset every time we decline an invite that far 🙂

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  2. I’ve heard the first few trips are hard, but it gets easier with each trip, and if you’re passionate about traveling, it’s good to get the kids used to it when they’re young.

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  3. Going to Pennsylvania with my toddler – a mere 6 hour drive in the SAME time zone, was a struggle at times. I know some moments had to have really sucked for you guys, but you did it! And one day, you and Mr. MPB will look back on this vacation fondly, because momnesia/dadnesia is a REAL thing. You’ll forget all the bad! lol

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    • A 6 hour drive must be so hard!! I assume you must take 1000 pit stops along the way!
      We have family pressuring us to drive 12 hours to visit (we used to do the trip about once a year before Little MPB). Now, we just cannot even imagine that drive – maybe when he’s 5 or 6 or 7? Or maybe 12? Nothing about a 12 hour drive with a toddler seems even remotely fun.

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  4. Our first big trip with C wasn’t the best, either. We learned that although she does great in the car, anything over 5-ish hours is going to be a nightmare. And that if we try to eat dinner out past about 6-7pm, be prepared to have a horrible time. Those were our biggest lessons…there were more, but those were key. We had talked about doing a driving trip down to Florida this fall, because we have a lot of friends and family down there that we want to see…but yeah, that’s not going to happen now! Maybe we’ll fly and rent a car if we really want to make it happen lol!!

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    • Oh ya, we wont even try driving for more then 3ish hours – Little MPB doesn’t cope well and then I don’t cope well and then Mr. MPB and I start arguing. It’s miserable!
      We now ALWAYS bring food with us for Little MPB to every restaurant that way we can feed him immediately if the service is slow. We also order for Little MPB the second we sit down in hopes that they will bring his meal right away. And, we have actually walked out of a restaurant one time as they made us wait for over and hour and forgot to put Little MPB’s order in right away. But, we do find as long as we go by 5:30, bring food and they get his food order in right away, we can have a pretty decent meal.
      As for your thought on flying – we’ve flown a few times with Little MPB now. It’s become harder and harder as he ages. Under 1 month old (our way home from the USA) was by far the easiest. 4 months was a challenge at the time, but nothing like 17 months!! I think mobility on the plane changes everything. We have to fly to visit family in August and I’m already dreading it and am thankful it’s a short flight.

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      • We’ve never flown with her at all. I kinda doubt the trip will happen at all, because money is tight with me not working…but some day hopefully it will happen!

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  5. I remember insisting that I would NEVER stay away from home for even a single night with a chd between the ages of 9 months and 2 years after a particularly trying holiday with my toddler son. It’s a tough age to travel with – the hardest, I think. But well done on making the best of the trip. It will be easier next time!!

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  6. Yeah, my twin boys turned 5 in January, and we only took them on their first vacation (that wasn’t simply a visit to see family) last summer, when they were 4.5. And even that was only a day’s drive from our house, not in another country. You are far braver than we are! 🙂

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  7. If you have any suggestions on camping with young children I would love to hear them (even in a blog post lol). We are going at least twice this summer and I’m a bit nervous!

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  8. Travel with kids over crawling age and under 2.5 is tricky. That’s my least fav travel gap 🙂 hehe Glad you still got some super fun times in.

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  9. Kudos for you guys for doing it! I know it was hard but I’ve always believed you most often never regret doing something but often regret not doing something. Glad you guys are home and settling!

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  10. We did a trip to Ireland with our traveling toddler and it was amazing! Yes there were crazy and trying moments, but SO worth it. Because you will smile at the sweet memories and laugh at the tough stuff later. The laughing comes later… lol

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    • Yes!! I keep saying that since we got home we seem to have rose-coloured glasses on. All the hard stuff just seems so much less hard now that we are home!! 🙂 In fact, after reading this post, Mr. MPB said he didn’t remember the sleep being that challenging! Funny, how our memories change. 🙂

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  11. Ahhh, I am like a month and a half behind on blog posts but I’m interested to here more since traveling with Annabelle has been cakewalk this summer. I need to get an idea of what I may be in for next summer, lol. I’m glad you made good memories and some that you get to laugh about for years to come now that you’re out of the situation!

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