Recently my Family and I went on a crazy month long trip through The Netherlands, Paris & London…you can read about it here… 2guysandus.blogspot.com While our Travels are still fresh in my mind I have composed a little tip list on traveling with kiddies. I hope you find something in here that makes your next trip a little easier!!
Use packing cubes. We used ebags They are these great organizers for your suitcase (a set of smaller zip up bags that fit in your suitcase). Everyone has their own cube to load up. We also had one for diapers and baby stuff, and one for chargers and other cords and cables. They are great because if you need to find something in the suitcase you don’t need to rummage around and mess it all up, you just go into the cube that you need.
We used to travel with all of these carry on bags. Hudson had his, I had a big purse, computer bag, diaper bag, and Jeff had a back pack. This is WAY too much stuff to carry, and keep track off, especially if you are changing planes. My new and amazing solution is the diaper bag, and one carry on wheelie suitcase. Baby stuff and food goes in the diaper bag, and the suitcase has everything else. When you get to your seat just take out what you need (move on in) and then stow the suitcase up high. You can even put all things that you need to take out for security in a travel cube at the top of the suitcase…then you won’t need to panic find everything to pull out when the time comes to go through security.
If you have a formula fed baby bring a thermos of hot water and pre-portioned formula (we used the Munchkin formula dispenser). Just let them know at security that it’s for your baby. They may test the water, but they will let you though. For shorter flights make the water the perfect temperature, for longer flights make it piping hot, then add cold water when you mix. Your thermos will last longer this way!
We bring food tubes for our little one. Convenient and easy. We bring PB& J for our oldest.
Pack more snacks, diapers, and formula then you think you will need…we learned this during a five hour delay.
Pack a change of clothes in your carry on for you kid
Pack light. This is hard for sure…but you are the one who has to lug it all around. I literally brought four outfits for a month away. It actually made getting dressed really easy…no choice! And you will buy things along the way (if you are anything like me).
At the Airport & on the Airplane
Arrive with plenty of time. There is always the potential for problems, line ups, and other trickery. Best to be prepared and show up with time to spare.
Speaking of Security, I find this can be a crazy area of STRESS. I have vowed just not be stressed at Security anymore…the people behind you can just deal with it while you organize you and your family through it. If they are rolling their eyes, just slow down even more!! It’s a bit fun to inwardly laugh at them!
If you are going on a long flight, Red-Eye is the way to go. The kids will just sleep. You may not, but it will still be more restful then amusing a small child in two square feet for eight hours.
For our Europe flight Hank was flying as a Lap Baby, so I booked three of the four seats in the middle aisle (one for Jeff, Hudson and I), leaving a space between them. I then hoped and prayed that no one would book this middle seat. They did not- so we had an extra seat! We brought Hank’s car seat and were able to use it on the flight…he just slept the whole night away. It also helps if you book near the back of the plane.
For a back up plan we brought out breast-feeding pillow. http://www.mybrestfriend.com/products/travel-pillow This one is inflatable so it will take up no room at all! We have used this on flights before- it has a nice flat surface and makes an ok place for the baby to sleep.
I also saw another mama flying with a toddler and a lap baby who booked two seats. She brought the car seat and the baby sat in there, while the toddler sat on her lap. I think this is a great way to go, especially for shorter flights. Keep in mind with this you cannot change the seating arrangement as there will be no where to put the car seat.
Bring UNO or some other compact game for older children. This will help whittle away the hours without taking up too much space.
Bring child size headphones for the inflight entertainment. The other ones will fall out of their little ears- and be a great annoyance to them (and in turn you).
Bring a baby carrier (if you have a baby). It make for hands free getting on and off the plane, which is great. Also if you don’t end up with an extra seat the baby can usually sleep in it. We used the Travel Ergo- it folded up into a little pouch and was great.
I highly recommend getting a vacation rental, or a place on airbnb.com. This way you are not stuck in one room with your kids. You have more room to spread out, and you can book a place that has toys! New toys will always keep kids occupied for a while- leaving you with some of your own time (hello wine & internet). Better yet do a House Swap. Then it’s all free!
Research the area you are staying. In Paris we stayed way too far from everything. This meant a ten minute walk to the metro, plus a twenty minute metro ride…this is too far and soured our trip. It is worth it to pay a little more and stay in a great area.
Get recommendations from people who have been where you are going- especially if they went with their little ones. Then you will know where all the cool places that are up your ally are. You won’t be wasting valuable time searching them out.
Don’t cram to much in. Your kids won’t like it, and then in turn, neither will you. Do one main thing a day, then go the park, have a picnic, hang out in your nice place your painstakingly chose and relax. Everyone will be happier!
A place with a pool is a god send. Especially if your Husband/Travel Partner will play with the kids in the water all day while you swan around eating chips and reading your book!
Bring a good quality travel stroller. We brought a really crappy sit and stand (Hudson does better on long days if he doesn’t have to walk for hours). It was heavy and hard to push on the cobbled streets of Europe. Maybe if we had been at Disneyland it would have been ok. In hindsight I would have brought our good stroller from home with the little standing board on the back. I guess just think about where you are going. You may be up against bad strolling conditions…so you want your stroller to be up to the task.
Know where the hospital or clinic is and have a bit of an emergency plan. You never know.
Do you have any tips on travel?? I’d love to hear them!!