A Travellerspoint blog


Traveling with a 1-year-old versus a 2-year-old, revisited

Before our trip, I posted some thoughts on the differences between traveling with a 1-year-old or a 2-year old. Now that we've taken the trip, I wanted to revisit my predictions and compare them against what actually happened.

Plane: I gave the 1-year-old the advantage for the wallet: that was confirmed when we bought the tickets! The advantage for sanity went to the 2-year-old. By and large, this was true. It felt luxurious to have 3 seats for the 3 of us: there was no more taking turns with holding my daughter as we tried to eat or fish things out of the bags at our feet. The only thing that we didn't anticipate was how hard it would be for my daughter to sleep on the plane, which set all of us up for some pretty bad jet lag. Looking back, though, we probably shouldn't have been surprised given the strange bedtime surroundings.

Transportation: I had given the edge to traveling with the car, which happened to be this summer (2-year-old). Our experience confirmed this. We had one less thing to worry about because we didn't have to catch any trains. The convenience made up for the hassle of having to pack the car seat.

Stroller: I had given the advantage to the 1-year-old. This was correct. My daughter generally did not want to be in her stroller on this trip, even though there were moments when the situation required it. There were other moments when she would have been able to walk with us but had to go in the stroller because of her behavior--touching store merchandise or not wanting to hold hands while we were walking--and putting her in the stroller at those times resulted in her biggest tantrums on the trip.

Also, because my daughter was happier in the stroller last year, we were able to take her to an art museum and cultural sites like the Alhambra. We didn't attempt anything like that this summer for fear that she would try to touch everything.

Food: Before the trip, I called this a toss-up. After this trip, I would give the edge to the 2-year-olds. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was fairly easy to find something that my daughter could eat in restaurants. Breakfast was always easy, thanks to yogurt and cereal. My daughter also took really well to schnitzel and fries for lunch and dinner: those were widely available if she wasn't interested in sharing what my husband and I had ordered. It was nice not having to tote around baby food jars and spoons, worry about whether my daughter would like the jarred food that I found in the supermarkets, or wish that I had packed more food from home.

Perhaps the toughest part of meals was the frequent absence of milk from menus, which at least was not a surprise thanks to a fellow blogger. We learned to ask for milk if we didn't see it listed. Especially at breakfast, people seemed surprised that we were asking for cold milk for our daughter. They would say, "You don't want it warm? We can heat it up," and I'd have to reassure them that it was OK and that my daughter likes cold milk.

Naps: As predicted, the advantage went to the 2-year-old. My daughter didn't always get her daily nap in, but most days she at least got a catnap in the car. In all, her daily schedule was less altered in Germany/Austria than it was in Spain.

Potty time: I had called this one a toss-up as well. I think I might still call it a toss-up now. It was nice not having to look for changing tables or cope with last year's diaper-change tantrums, which were my daughter's favorite way of expressing her displeasure at the unfamiliar surroundings. Potty training also went really well while we were on our trip. The difficult part was that my daughter was still learning to tell us when she had to go, and she didn't give much advance warning. Sometimes we weren't able to get her to a bathroom on time. We had her in pull-ups, so this wasn't too disastrous, but my daughter thought otherwise. She would get very upset when she had an accident, and trying to settle her down was about as tough as dealing with last year's diaper-change tantrums.

Bath time: I had given the advantage to the 1-year-old, but I was wrong. Bath time was one of our pleasant surprises. Even in the places that had showers with no tubs, bath time went really well. My daughter loved using the showers with the detachable heads: it was like going to the splash pad.

Communication:I had given the edge to the 2-year-old. We were better able to explain the different things we would be doing on the trip and it was fun to interact with her more. She would talk about being on the plane or in the car, or point out different animals that she saw while we were driving. This is not to say that we were tantrum-free or that she always listened--she is still 2, after all--but it made the good parts even better.

Recalculated final tally:
2-year-old: 6 (previously 4)
1-year-old: 2 (previously 3)
??: 1 (previously 2)

Post-trip, I give the bigger advantage to the 2-year-olds. This is not to say that traveling with a 2-year-old always felt easier--there were some pretty tough moments (ask me about the tantrum in the Innsbruck Visitor's Center). And it's not to say that I would change anything about the trip we took with my daughter when she was 1: I'm glad we took advantage of the opportunity that we had. I think a lot of it comes down to gear and facilities. With a 1-year-old, you need to think more about things like how to bathe/change your child, or where you will find and refrigerate baby food. Because we didn't have to think so much about these things this summer, traveling with a 2-year-old a little more like our pre-baby travels.

Thanks for reading! Our next trip starts later this week, so stay tuned!

Posted by amikulski 09:23

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.