Traveling With Kids
My Child-Proof Travel Tips
travel |ˈtravəl|verb (travels, traveling, traveled; also chiefly Brit.travels, travelling,travelled)1 [ no obj. ] make a journey, typically of some length or abroad: | we traveled thousands of miles with our children.• [ with obj. ] journey along (a road) or through (a region): she traveled the world with her family.
As a mother of an energetic three year old boy and a curious one year old girl, I am often asked, “How do you travel so much with such young children??”.
The answer is easy (and extensive). I decided I would share some of my favorite travel tips for children to make life a little easier on other Wanderlust parents like me!
It’s very important to us that our children see and experience our world, as much as possible. I want to expose them to other cultures, foods and historical locations. But, traveling with children does come with it’s own challenges. I’ve found several tips and tricks that work wonders while traveling–saving me from losing my mind and allowing us to travel more often as a family!
Toys for Toddlers
Even if you have a well-traveled infant, the world of young toddlerhood is much more challenging. I needed to change my expectations and come up with new tricks for managing nerve-wrecking tantrums. First trick is always: toys. If you are traveling with toddlers, you need to have something packed along that you can pull out when they start to get fussy. I pack their toys in Baby Field’s travel backpacks to make them easily accessible and organized.
I always buy my 3 year old “surprise” gifts and give them to him on the plane (lately it’s legos because they take a good amount of time to assemble and it keeps him entertained for longer journeys). My son can play with legos for hours and I pack them in ziplock baggies for easy cleanup and storage. New toys keeps him amused, but I also take his favorite toys too!
If you have an iPad or laptop, make sure you download or bring their favorite movie to play if and when there is no wifi available. I often record videos of Baby Field and Camilla on my iPhone and save them for the kids to watch when we are traveling. This is a great way to pass the time on a plane (Baby Field loves it – and it gives me the opportunity to read or rest myself!). Baby Field has his own kid-sized super hero headphones that he loves to use and they make watching his favorite movies more fun.
“Toys” are any form of entertainment for kids, and don’t need to be expensive. Coloring books and colors keep children entertained for hours. Snacks, blankets and stuffed animals are a must for any trip. Be creative and look for activities that involve your whole family!
Flying with Young Children
You don’t have to be a mother to know that flying with young children is not easy. The looks I’ve received from strangers while walking onto a plane with a toddler and infant are enough to make me want to turn right back around and go home. But, I’m always pleased at the end of my flight when we receive compliments from those same strangers for how good our children are on flights. I’ve been flying with both of my babies often since they were both 3 months old. Let me share my secrets with you!
- NO sugar before flights. You would be surprised how much this little trick does for you and your kids! Look for snacks with no added sugar – this can be tricky!
- Remember, the time of day of your flight is a crucial decision when traveling with younger children. I always travel early in day when traveling w kids bc they always behave better earlier in day to avoid over tired crankiness. Plan out your trip around their nap and meal times. The more they sleep on the flight, the better!
- Avoid connections, if possible. 9am-ish flights are great!
- Pack a snack or bottle so they can eat as soon as they wake up from their nap (this is easier to plan during the infant stage because they sleep more and are easier to distract and keep entertained at that age). For babies, I buy individually wrapped formula single serve bottles for travel to avoid the mess of large containers and formula mixes. This makes feeding hassle-free.
- Be prepared to be busy. There is not a lot of time for relaxing while on a plane with a toddler or infant–just knowing this before getting on the plane will prepare your mind and help you to be less stressed when traveling!
- To avoid ear pain from cabin pressure, offer a pacifier or bottle during takeoff and initial descent.
- Make sure baby’s vaccinations are up-to-date, and ask pediatrician about giving baby a flu shot before traveling (especially when flying).
- Dress your baby in easy-on, easy-off pajamas for travel. When you’re going through airport security or just changing a diaper, you want to keep everything simple. You don’t want to be taking shoes and jackets on and off.
- A LOT of baby wipes are a must–always!
- Car rental companies have car seats you can rent. Order ahead of time to ensure they have one ready for you when you land. Make sure the car seat is the correct size for your baby!
Traveling with babies is definitely possible with enough planning. Take extra diapers, formula and a few extra change of outfits. But, the biggest piece of advice I can give is a whole lot of prayer before and during your travel time. It really works! God hears you, and speaking your frustrations aloud while trusting that He is in control puts you in a calm and relaxed state of mind.
I hope the few tips and tricks I have will help you in your future, family travels!