Hi Mamas! We just returned from a 10 day family vacation. It was SO much fun, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about traveling with a 4 year old and a 10 month old. This was our first long vacation with 2 children and it honestly went WAY smoother than I could have anticipated. If you have been nervous about travelling with your children, stop, you can totally do this too. It won’t be the way you travelled before children, but it is easily done and the memories you will make as a family are so worth it. Here are my 5 tips for travelling with kids to make your next vacation/trip much easier!
Travelling With A Toddler and Baby
The airport was my biggest stressor. I was surprised how easy it was. I did an early check in the day before we flew and prepaid for our bags. The airline we used allowed us to check 2 infant items and 1 child item for free. I brought our 2 carseats and a stroller. They let me take the stroller to the gate. Depending on the age of your baby and what you find easiest, you could also check your stroller and wear your babe through security and the airport. You can bring formula and breastmilk on the flight to feed your babe, but they will have to check all of it at security, so give yourself extra time.
The take away point…. check in before your flight and leave yourself lots of extra time.
Snacks and Toys…Oh My
I packed a little bag for my four year old on the plane. She loved having her own little back pack and it was filled with things to keep her entertained. A pad of paper and colored pens for coloring, her LeapPad, and a bunch of little snacks. Bring some gummies or a sucker for them to suck on during take off and landing so their little ears don’t pop.
For the baby, I brought some toys but to be honest she played with my sunglasses and slept for most of the flight. I nursed her for take off and landing, but you could also give a bottle or a soother.
I packed snacks and bottles of water for all our day trips. It isn’t always convenient to track snacks down for a hangry toddler (or a hangry mama). It also came in handy for entertaining them on car rides.
I also brought along hand sanitizer, a tiny first aid kit and my favorite nursing cover The Mama Scarf. I used my nursing cover to cover the car seat or stroller while my babe was napping, as a blanket at the beach, to cover some not so clean high chairs while eating out and of course nursing!
The take away point…. be prepared and pack snacks, lots of snacks!!!
Stick to a Routine When Travelling
Try and stick to your normal routine as much as possible. I know this can be tough, but it is so much better than crying, melting down kids. Trust me, I went there…..
For the first two days of our vacation I was pretty relaxed, naps were missed and bedtimes were later than usual and my littles seemed ok. Until day 3, we were at the beach and the crying started and didn’t stop. LOTS of crying. Stare inducing wails. I knew then that we needed to get back on track if we wanted to enjoy any more peaceful excursions.
My baby still naps twice a day so what worked for us was letting her have her first nap before heading out for our day of fun. She took her second nap while we were out. She napped in the car, in her stroller, in my arms and on the beach! I kept bedtime much more routine. By sticking to their normal nightly routine of bath, pjs, book and bed, my little ones knew it was bedtime and went to sleep without any issues. Make sure to pack your monitor!
An item that I loved for my baby during this trip was the Travel GroBag by The Gro Company. My baby always sleeps with a sleep sack at home and this one is so amazing for travel. It is designed so that it can be worn IN THEIR CARSEAT!!!! Yup! So, if babe falls asleep in the car, you may actually pull off the elusive car to bed transfer! It is also safe for use in the carseat, I can’t always see my babe in the car because she is rear facing, and with the GroBag I know she can’t pull it over her face like she can with a blanket.
They are available in different TOG ratings for all different temperatures. I used a TOG 1.0 which is rated for 20-24 degrees and it was perfect for day and night. I loved it so much it has become my regular sleep sack at home now too.
The take away …. Stick to a routine, unless you think screaming, melting down children are a fun time!
Make Their Sleep Space Like Home
When I pack for a trip I like to wash everything. The only thing I don’t wash is my kiddos bedding. I leave blankies, sleep sacks and lovies unwashed. The smell of home helps bring comfort when they are sleeping in a strange space.
I also make their sleep spaces VERY DARK like at home. Dark is dark wherever you are and it seems familiar in the middle of the night. I love the travel blind by The Gro Company, The Gro Anywhere Blind. (No, this is not a sponsored post, I just happen to LOVE the travel products by The Gro Company).
The Gro Anywhere Blind has little suction cups and velcro so it can adjust to fit a variety of windows. I had my husband pop it up in the room our baby slept in and it made the room very dark. (Don’t worry it is actually easy to put up and won’t cause a fight like certain Scandinavian furniture assembly can…). It is super lightweight (perfect for airplane travel) and surprisingly easy to fold up and fit back in the little bag (I normally can’t get anything to fit back into the original packaging). It made darkening my girls’ sleep space so much more convenient. Seriously, it’s amazing!
I also suggest using white noise to drown out any unfamiliar noises. I used a fan, because it was warm where we were, but you can also bring their white noise machine from home.
If your babes have a favorite lovie or blankie at home make sure to bring it on vacation.
The take away…..make their sleep space feel like home.
Relax and Enjoy Your Vacation
Not everything will go perfectly, but who cares, you are on vacation! Relax, make some amazing family memories and snap a lot of pictures! I hope these 5 tips for travelling with your kids helps you have a fabulous trip!!!
The take away….. Relax and Enjoy Yourself!!!!
Now the best part! Oyaco Products (a Canadian distributor of baby and child products) has generously supplied a Travel Grobag and a Gro Anywhere Blind for a giveaway for you! They are so wonderful to deal with and have everything you might need for baby, child and travel. Go check them out!
If you have any questions or need support in anyway, contact me, I would love to help you!
Take Care Mamas!
Robin Forslund, RN, Lactation Counselor