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We’re going to be discussing international travel with a toddler under the age of 18-months.
You don’t know this, but this year I will be celebrating my 35th birthday. It’s a tradition that I started ever since I was 29 years old to take a trip to an international destination. Due to my pregnancy in 2019 and the pandemic in 2020, I could not travel internationally for either birthday.
This year, since I am neither pregnant and the pandemic seems to be in a space where there’s a lot of testing and vaccinations are being administered, I feel more confident. That this would be a more appropriate time to travel, mostly because it’s such a tremendous year for me.
I’m going to be including the importance of traveling with the toddler all the things you need to know while you’re on-the-go.
I will be documenting this entire process. This post will cover a high-level overview of what to do when considering international travel with your toddler.
I’m American, so I can’t speak to what other countries are doing. If you’re using this as a guide, be mindful of that, and I will go through everything that Americans need to know and things that we consider before planning our international trip.
Why are you traveling now?
I’m sure you’re wondering why you would be traveling during a “pepperoni pizza,” aka pandemic, and I completely understand.
For me, travel is such a massive part of who I am in my DNA because I couldn’t do it. I have felt lost and that a piece of me was dying. After all, the last two years, I got the itch, and I have to scratch it. Like a lot of people do, it was time. I know many people who have traveled recently within the last two to three months, so we’ve gotten a lot of feedback regarding safety restrictions, regulations, covid-19 testing, and what specific resorts in specific countries are doing.
I feel confident that traveling with our 14-month-old/16-month-old at the time will not be a huge issue.
Flights to and From Destinations of Interest
We looked at the airlines. The airlines, you know, say one thing, and some of them do another. I think that’s across the board. When looking at the airlines, we are looking at the written policies of what they said they are going to do, what they aren’t going to do regarding change fees if you have to cancel things.
You want to read the fine print and be very, very careful, especially with international travel. We purchased travel insurance for our flight to be extra cautious because of the “pepperoni pizza.” We wanted to ensure that we had to change our flights or get our money back if we had to change it or cancel from the country. That’s the first thing that we considered when looking at the flight for the countries we were considering.
Airline Booking Process During a Pandemic
We looked at the booking process for having Noah (my son) in our lap vs. getting an individual seat for him.
If you’ve never traveled with an infant under two years, all airlines consider children under two infants. Their seat preference cost “coins.” The additional seat for infants is not as expensive as if you were doing a regular adult seat, but that’s something that we had to calculate into the international flights’ entire cost.
Covid-19 Testing Domestically and Internationally
Airlines depending on the destination, are going to have different policies and procedures regarding covid testing. That is something that my husband and I had to weigh before deciding to take an international trip. We are not concerned about our son having to take a test. It’s more about my husband and me having to take a test. Yes, we do have concerns since we are doing international travel with a toddler to ensure he stays safe at all times.
Some countries do not require you to take a covid test before you board to plane (even though the US requires a negative test before re-entering the country). Certain countries don’t need a covid test to leave the USA to come into their country. That was another thing that we have to consider if we were going to travel to that destination or not.
My husband and I have to remain negative while going to the country and returning from a country. Also, ensuring that the place, if you want to stay in these particular countries that we were deciding on, had an excellent testing process.
- How many days in advance can you take the test?
- What type of test do they offer?
- It is something that the US will recognize?
Food Handling and Preparation
Before we decided that we would travel, many buffets are standard internationally, a lot of shared food, and many open bars. When picking the destination for the resorts, that process where everyone’s not sharing a bunch of food, they have managed how they’re going to do them during meals, hours of operation, how many people can be in a specific space.
Social distancing is also essential in international travel for people who had traveled internationally. They were able to give us their feedback and recommendations from the countries our sources visited. Our sources said and showed us made us feel comfortable choosing a travel destination outside of the US.
Travel Car Seat and Stroller rules for International Travel with a Toddler
We are bringing a car seat and a stroller. Typically before the “pepperoni pizza” started, you were able to gate-check your car seat as well as your stroller. Now airlines have a thing called “air-checking,” which means you would have to check those items with luggage before going through security.
Going through security with a toddler will be a daunting process. Especially if your toddler(s) are walking and they’re heavy, so those are things that you also would have to consider. We thought about which airline has a better policy regarding stroller and car seat checking because we will be bringing our stroller with us to this vacation destination.
We’re doing it to feel a lot more confident having it with us and from our country. I know a lot of people do that too when they travel internationally. They bring what they have because they’re confident that it will work based on, you know, the home country’s regulations.
There’s no shame. That is not being shady. It’s just many parents we had spoken to before the pepperoni pizza said they would bring a stroller and or car seats.
My husband and I usually see people travel with kids; however, you don’t know what goes into traveling with kids. This trip will be our first time traveling as a family, and we are eligible for the pre-boarding process. It has changed since the “pepperoni pizza.”
By the time we go on our trip, rules and regulations might have changed things. I will provide an update regarding that information.
Most of the airlines that we looked at it’s pretty much the same. They’re not doing first-class boarding like that. It’s more like you’re going to be boarding based on your section or where you are seated on the plane. If you do have small children, you will board the aircraft traditionally.
That might be different if you are in another part of the US and going to another destination. Based on what we’ve seen in the US. That is how the flights are handling your travel.
Direct Flights Only, No Layovers International Travel with a Toddler
I think it’s pretty obvious, but I want to point out that we are booking a direct flight. I wouldn’t say I like layovers in general because it is very challenging on the mind, body, and spirit. You have to continually be mindful of the time to make sure that you’re not missing your connecting flight. That you’re where you’re supposed to be, and sometimes the gates are not near each other. When you have a minor child as young as Noah trying to gather him plus gather us and then move to a whole new gate, it’s just too much too soon.
It’s our first time, so definitely looking at which airlines have direct flights. Direct flights to the destination that we will be going to that’s another thing that we consider when booking the international trip. Not all US airlines have direct flights to your destination of choice. And we have to think about and consider the time of day is essential when deciding on flights because that will limit your options regarding your flight options.
We needed to plan for early morning flights to be at our destination early in the day. It’s going to be a long day regardless. However, I don’t recommend traveling in the evening or afternoon was a small child. If there is one thing that everyone will tell you, if you’re going to do anything with a child or toddler, it’s best to do all of your high energy and more intensive activities earlier in the day.
It’s Comfort for me.
The final and more super important last thing that we consider was our comfort comfort comfort comfort! Suppose you’re looking at convenience regarding airlines. In that case, even though many people talk smack and crap about these airlines, I’m about to mention, they provide the comfortability that we would need and expect, and that’s with United and JetBlue.
So those would be the only two that I’m concerned that we will be booking as far as I’m concerned. I love Virgin America even though they don’t operate where we are trying to go for this trip. To me, personally, Virgin America is top-of-the-line when it comes to airlines. I do know that Virgin America
But as far as the destination we are considering, United and JetBlue have the comfortability that we would be looking for when it comes to our life. So those are the two that we’ve gone back and forth over. The good thing about where we are and where we are thinking about going for our destination with both airlines is that they have multiple times that we can fly out.
We’re in the New York area. There are various airports that we can leave from, which gives us way more options. That’s something that we considered when thinking about taking our international trip. I’m so excited about my first international travel with a toddler. This will be a memorable trip and I’m really happy about it.
I know this can be a lot and very challenging, so I have created a checklist of the four critical things you need to know when traveling with an infant under two years old. It’s free 99, and you can download it here.
I will start a travel series related to traveling with a toddler under 18months old. If you have any questions, you can always email me here.