February 4, 2023

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 satisfied as I sat down for the 13-and a half-hour trip to Vancouver together with my 3-year-old son. I had everything. I had everything. A bag with snacks, an iPad loaded full of shows, and new toys.

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

My son took over the dinner service and the tray tables remained empty. I was overwhelmed with regret. My son was determined that he would board the plane. He consumed a lot muffins, tea cups, as well as fruit chunks.

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 not the tantrum. Photo / Supplied

After the borders were opened, I was able finally to visit my family members and meet my son. I booked the tickets and flew to Vancouver. Then, I drove three hours to Washington State to see 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.

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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, and a chicken. The first hug with an aunt you’ve never had. It was amazing to watch my 3-year-old son be in awe of the world around them. 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, with my toddler, to travel solo and made me a better mom. It helped me realize that there is still magic to the world. 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 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 better than any other landmark. Photo / Supplied

Here are my top travel tips 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.

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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 water fountain.The clothes will dry quickly and the memories last a lifetime.

Rent a carThe rental car was a great option to make your home a second home. It was so easy to sleep in the car and still get the most out of it.

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

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