Why I traveled long-haul to meet my toddler. It was the best decision ever.

What started out as a terrible adventure turned out to be the most memorable of my entire life. Photo / Supplied

Jenni Mortimer tells the story of her journey 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. A bag stuffed with snacks, an iPad loaded full of shows, and new toys.

I had planned meticulously for this trip, reading blogs, buying the gimmick instruments, and creating a plan sheet in my mind.

As dinner service was over, my son took the place at the table and the tray tables remained empty. I was overwhelmed with regret. My son was determined to board the plane. He consumed a lot muffins, tea cups, as well as fruit chunks.

The next hour was filled tears and total lack-of-compassion by fellow passengers. He sank into me while I tried comfort them.

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 not the tantrum. 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 for three hour in Washington State 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 are able to help you see the magic and beauty in everyday objects that you might otherwise ignore or take as a given. 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, and 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 it clear to me that the big scary world that I had feared for two-and-a-half years was actually full with 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. Even though parents may be scared of screaming children and chaos in the car, the benefits far outweigh these inconveniences.

My son asked me, four hours before my flight home from New York, if I could let him play in a fountain at an urban park. My immediate response was “hell no”. You could put the clothes in a plastic bag and dry them. His memories of him running through Vancouver with his shirt down, his laughter humming, would last a lifetime. 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 always be packedYou can double the amount you think you have of snacks, and then you’ll be able to add more.

Get rid 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 easy to get in and out of the car, while still sleeping comfortably.

Bring your own stroller, car seat, and car seatMany airlines will allow you check a stroller and car-seat free of charge. It is important that you know the details of your equipment. It was perfect! The stroller was so small it could be stored in an 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. If you see a parent struggling with children behind you, don’t be a d*** and recline your seat. It can make a difference between a child crying and screaming for an entire hour if you hold them and comfort them.

Source: Why I traveled long-haul to meet my toddler. It was the best decision ever.

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