If you follow me on Instagram you know that we just went on a family trip down to sunny Florida! But while we were away and upon our return I received many messages from momma’s looking for advice when traveling with kids. I am no expert, but I thought I would share some of the tips and tricks we have learned over the years. I will break it down by age group, so tips for traveling with toddlers and then tips for newborns! I hope this helps some of you who are planning on traveling with your littles! And if you are on the fence whether or not to book your trip (I get it, traveling with babies can be intimidating), I say go for it! The more you expose your kids of new experiences the easier it will get, I promise!
TIPS FOR TODDLERS
1. Pack lots of food. My number one tip for traveling with a toddler is snacks, snacks, and more snacks. We used a lunch box for Zuri and filled it to the brim of all of her favorite treats. You seriously can’t bring enough. On the way home, the plane literally didn’t leave the ground and Zuri already went through 2 bananas, a hand full of animal crackers and a granola bar LOL. I’m glad we packed lots or else she would have ran out within the first 20 minutes.
2. Watch out for pressure on their ears. Another super important tip is to make sure your child has something to suck on during take off and landing. Whether it’s a soo-soo or sippy cup, make sure they are sucking/swallowing something so their ears don’t plug! If you are really worried about their ears, bring Benadryl with you on the plane. It will help reduce the pressure that can build up on their ears!
3. Entertainment is key. A lot of our ‘screen time’ rules go out the window on travel days, as it is just a matter of keeping them happy. Our favorite app when flying is Netflix because you can save all of your favorite shows to your device and can watch them without wifi connection. We picked up some earphones for Zuri (with a princess crown attached) before the trip and she loved them! Does it keep her busy for the entire flight? No. But it sure does work for the majority of the time!
4. The dollar store is your best friend. Before your trip run out to the dollar store and pick up some new cheap toys and games. Keep them a surprise until you get on the flight. Haul them out one at a time, and your child will be entertained by a new surprise! Zuri’s fav was those water wow books that color using a water pen and are reusable once they dry. These toys work great if you are going out to eat during your vacation as well. We had to wait to get into restaurants every night, but made sure to pack these little toys with us every time.
5. Pick up a cheap stroller. One of our ‘life saver’ tips for getting around the airports is using an umbrella stroller. They are super light weight and will free up your hands! Bring them right to the gate and then check them on before getting on the plane. It will be there again once you get off, and you can use it again at the next airport!
6. Try to relax. This is a big one for me. I get worried before traveling with kids that they will act out, cry, or make a scene. But the truth of the matter is, kids aren’t perfect, and 90% of the people around you realize that. Try to go with the flow, leave yourself lots of time, don’t sweat the small things and just focus on making it fun for them! Traveling allows them to learn and experience so many new things, so let things happen and try to enjoy! (And yes, you will be exhausted so coffee is a must.)
TIPS FOR BABIES
1. Feed them often. This one seems pretty obvious, but most importantly make sure they are feeding for take off and landing. For the same reasons listed above, it’s super important that babies are sucking and swallowing so the pressure doesn’t build up on their ears. The flight attendants might talk to you before the flight, and tell you how you should hold your baby, but I still will nurse instead to make sure they don’t feel pain. Also, the more you feed the higher the likelihood of them sleeping through the flight, which is always ideal.
2. Change of clothes. Why is it that babies have the most impeccable timing for huge blowouts? I always bring 2 changes of clothes for the baby, and one for me. Just on the way home from our trip, Wade brought West to the washroom to change his diaper, and 5 minutes later the flight attendant came to my seat and said “your husband needs a change of clothes for the baby”… I knew it must have been a doozy LOL. That’s another thing, the flight attendants are there to help so don’t be shy to ask for it!
3. Don’t dress too warm. I often make this mistake but should know by now not to dress to warmly for a flight with baby. You are going to be holding the little one for the entire duration of the flight, and we all know that babies are like little furnaces. Make sure to wear something light, and not to bundle them up too much either!
4. Baby carriers are your friend. Whether you like slings, wraps or carriers, having one of these is crucial for travel. The less you have to carry the better, because you will need your hands free for bags and if you have other kids. Practice at home so your baby gets used to it, and if they learn to love it they will most likely sleep in there for you!
5. How much baby gear? This is a hard one to figure out. Babies have a lot of big items that you may want on the trip with you. But how do you know what to bring and what to leave at home? The first thing I would do is check with your hotel or house rental to see what may already be available for you. You may be surprised by the amount of baby gear they have on hand. Also, don’t be afraid of renting! We always rent baby gear when we travel because it saves us from having to bring big items with us. And lastly, there is nothing wrong with checking big items on the plane! We have checked big strollers and car seats in the past, and if you package them up with bubble wrap, they arrive perfectly fine!
6. What to pack. This obviously will depend on what type of trip you are taking, but one thing I learned on this trip was not to expect to find everything while you are there. West was born in November and has never experienced summer, so we didn’t have any summer gear for him. I thought before leaving that I would just pick up things for him on the trip, but that only worked to an extent. I had a really hard time finding sun hats and sunglasses small enough for his little head. So we went half of the week without them and I really wished I would have prepared and had them packed beforehand.
7. Document your vacation! Okay, so the videographer in me wants you to document your trip as much as possible! But the mom in me knows that it’s not always easy. I will say you will never regret taking too many photos and videos. These memories are precious to have and so fun to look back on. Also, don’t be shy to ask someone to take a family photo. Most mommas I know have a photo stream full of their kids but no photos of themselves. Even if it’s not ‘insta-perfect’, having photos of you and your kids is so nice to have!
I have to laugh at this picture. Look how determined we look to survive the day LOL. Breastfeeding West, chugging a Starbucks, Zuri with the iPad hahah it just makes me laugh! I hope some of these tips help you with your future vacations! If there are any other questions you have just send me a message, and I’d be happy to share any of our travel experiences! Bon Voyage!