Maybe you’re escaping the nuttiness of the holiday season, or maybe your reward for surviving it will be a family escape from the snow later on in the New Year. Either way, you’ll need some baby travel gear, and here are five practical and fun gift ideas for babies and toddlers, and the parents who’ll be traveling with them!
Great for practicing newly-developing fine motor skills, and also for decorating otherwise drab and dreary airplane interiors, you can’t go wrong with sticker books for babies and toddlers. And with today’s “less sticky” technology, you can make the cabin crew’s life easier by easily removing your budding interior designer’s influence – until the next flight, of course.
As soon as they’re old enough to pull it, they’re old enough to pack it – with some guidance from you. A toddler-sized rolling suitcase is the first step in involving your little ones in your family’s travel planning, and carefully packing their Teddy and blanket becomes part of the pre-trip excitement. Allow them to choose some appropriate toys to bring in their carry-on, add some snacks and treats, and make sure the bag has a carry-strap so you can shoulder the load when they’re tired of “helping”.
When your little one is big enough to appreciate the seat-back entertainment, chances are your fellow passengers won’t appreciate the pitch of the talking animals or nursery rhymes. Introducing toddler-sized headphones early means they will get used to wearing them, and most come with additional volume adjustments on the cord so you can ensure the volume is at a level appropriate for little ears.
While it may seem extravagant, or be a definite drain on your bank account, a tablet computer is truly a traveling parent’s best friend. Relieve your bag of the books, DVDs and other essential–but-heavy elements of a well-packed carry-on, and load a couple of new shows or appropriate apps as well. You might not be able to read your own downloaded books, but chances are you’ll be able to catch more than a few snippets of an in-flight movie.
The most important souvenir from your family travels are the memories that will stay with you for a lifetime. But if your brain is as sleep-deprived as those of most parents with young children, your memories start to become fuzzy awfully fast. Today’s digital cameras are not only easy to use and take magnificent pictures, many also connect to the web via WiFi, so you can share your travels with family and friends while you’re still enjoying them.
But after all the shopping and planning, truly the most important gift of the holiday season is the time spent together with friends and family. Whether you travel to see them or to escape together, be sure to take a moment to savour that gift of time.
Corinne McDermott is a Travel Counsellor specializing in family vacations, and founder of http://havebabywilltravel.com – an award-winning website with a mission to inspire, motivate, and help families travel with babies, toddlers, and young children. Connect with her on Twitter or on Facebook.