baby proof: travel tips from a toddler.

June 21, 2016

travel tips from a toddler | reading my tea leaves
It must be known that a two-year-old is an intrepid traveler: all gut checks and self-care and general enthusiasm for the new and unexplored. 

To be fair, a two-year-old is also a terrible traveler: indifferent to the desires of the group, unimpressed by cultural monuments, and utterly lacking in discretion or restraint when it comes to airing opinions.

We can’t all be perfect all the time.
travel tips from a toddler | reading my tea leavesAnd despite the sometimes-terrible, there’s still much to learn from the often-intrepid. Indeed, I think that there are a number of tips from The Toddler’s Guide to Travel that we’d all do well to follow. (Note: I’m not positive that such a volume exists, but it seems to me that tiny humans must get their behavioral dictums from one place or another—and that they’re certainly not always from their well-intentioned parents. The Guide to Travel is no doubt shelved not far from the Guide to Ceaseless Sing-Alongs. To be investigated.)travel tips from a toddler | reading my tea leaves
Herewith, the tips I’ve gathered from my own tiny tyrant traveler.

1. Learn a few words of the new language and employ them with great gusto whenever the proper occasion arises and even when it doesn’t. If you sometimes shout “Merci!” to strangers passing you on a hike, they will smile cordially and wonder about what nicety they unwittingly extended. Please, thank you, hello, goodbye and croissant are all terribly useful.

2. Nap it off. Everyone the world over could use a little post-lunch siesta. Stop pushing yourself on to the next museum and give yourself a moment or two to rest. Your feet are tired, you’re getting grumpy, and your family members love you very much but could probably use a small break from you.

3. Eat often. No one travels well on an empty stomach and a chief joy of being in a new place is to partake in the local culinary customs. It would be a shame to leave a place without sampling one of everything from the pastry shop. Begin your sampling early, return often, and leave no crumb behind.

4. Embrace the great outdoors. You might get ten glorious minutes out of an art museum, but find a pile of sand and a bucket to shovel it into and there’s potential for an hour of delight. Running pell-mell through any open space is to be encouraged.

5. Revel in inclement weather. A rainy day is a chance to splash in puddles. Soggy shoes make hilarious noises. Mud is friend, not foe. Run in the rain now and laugh about it later.

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22 Comments

  • Reply Johanna June 21, 2016 at 5:18 am

    Love this 🙂 Thanks so much for putting a smile on my face and mind!

  • Reply Katharine June 21, 2016 at 7:44 am

    Perfect travel tips! Especially the ones about naps and eating. More non-toddlers need to keep those in mind! 😉

  • Reply Susana Galli June 21, 2016 at 8:21 am

    The best travel tips I’ve read! Especially enjoy the siesta after lunch because the members of family “could probably use a small break from you”!

    The only thing I’m slightly concern though, is that I might not be as cute as a two year old if I shout “merci”, or “croissant ” at passers by, they might not have the same reaction, but you never know! Always worth a try! 🙂

  • Reply Rinette June 21, 2016 at 9:49 am

    Love- this made my morning!

  • Reply Ladylyn June 21, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Hahaha. YES! I’m fresh off of family vacation with four kids in tow. I’m pretty sure my three-year-old has read the same toddler travel guide.

  • Reply Nicole June 21, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Haha I love this so much! This makes me want to travel even more with my little one. Traveling is not as easy as it looks on Insta, thank you for being so real!

  • Reply Lissa June 21, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Haha love this Erin! So cute! Traveling with a little one is such hard work but so rewarding at the same time. I know when we have traveled abroad and then upon returning home it was amazing to see how much our little guy had learned and grown so much from the new experiences. I know those trips are ones he will talk about for years even if he does not remember exact moments he will still look at photos and be so grateful to have parents who traveled! Many cheers to you all and for being such inspiring folks!

    xx Lissa

  • Reply Clare June 21, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    We are a family of travelers. My husband and I strapped on our (now 26 yr old) son when he was a babe and continued what we started in our courting days. Adjustments were needed, but as you have pointed out, there is much to learn from traveling with little ones, not the least of which, are the pleasures to be gained by slowing the pace and simplifying the agenda. Kids also give you entry with a place and it’s locals in a way you just don’t quite have otherwise.

    You are such a fine writer. I am new to your blog and enjoying it mucho!

  • Reply Kim June 21, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Whether or not we’re travelling, it’s cathartic to hear that the toddler experience is universal, from your words and fellow comments. 10 minutes in a museum rarely map to our aspirations. I love your positivity about the small wonders of free spirit and lack of inhibition.

  • Reply sam-c June 21, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Very fun. thank you 🙂

  • Reply Joyed June 22, 2016 at 2:56 am

    I like your relaxed attitude, there ought to be more of it among young mums!

  • Reply Nom June 22, 2016 at 5:23 am

    This post is so perfectly voiced!

  • Reply Inge June 22, 2016 at 7:09 am

    Love this! Except that I now think I might be a toddler…

  • Reply Naurnie June 22, 2016 at 10:59 am

    You are the funniest. Also, let’s talk about toddler sleep on trips…. Where is lovely Faye sleeping? HOW is she sleeping? HOW ARE YOU SLEEPING? (Getting ready to embark on a week long trip with the sassy Miss SG, so needing tips. xo).

  • Reply Emily June 22, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    So true. Especially the eat often rule. That one can be applied to travelers of any age.

  • Reply Mun June 23, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Archiving these great tips for future reference!

  • Reply Andrea June 23, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    My husband, children, now ages 9 years and 7 years, and I continue to make travel a priority. We have been traveling with them since they were only a few months old. It has been as simple as a weekend getaway an hour’s drive away, to several international trips. You will not get to see everything on your personal wish list. You will, however, be rewarded with unexpected memories you would not have had otherwise, by slowing down and experiencing everything from your children’s point of view.

  • Reply Katherine June 23, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    When I was an au pair in Paris in my teens and my parents visited, my father was much happier when he learned to augment croissant and omelette with profiterole and pamplemousse.

  • Reply Abby Cameron June 26, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    I have recently discovered your blog, and I love it! We are taking our toddler on his first vacation this fall and I’ve been worrying about how it’s going to go. These tips came at a perfect time!

  • Reply Cussot June 26, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    Oh my goodness, find an children’s book illustrator to partner with and write this book, Erin!

  • Reply Jessica July 6, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    This list is brilliant! Thanks for sharing and making me smile.

  • Reply Veronika March 2, 2017 at 6:20 am

    So brilliant!! I love this post! Thank you so much! 🙂

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