I have always had a bit of wanderlust. A strong desire to travel and experience new places. From a 30 minute drive to a plane ride an ocean away, travel has always fascinated and excited me. My husband and I were so fortunate to be able to travel quite a bit before having kids. When we had our first child I was struck with the mother’s urge to protect (i.e. neurotic panic) and decided it was okay if we never traveled again. But by the time my daughter was six months my wanderlust was back and we braved travel with an infant. With that trip I gained the confidence I needed and we have been traveling ever since. Granted not as often and not as exotic locations but still making amazing memories and experiencing new things. I remember how daunting that first trip can be, so with quite a few trips with one and then two children under my belt I thought I would share my top ten tips for traveling with kids.
1. Roll with the punches and cut yourself some slack, it will be okay. The first time we took the girls to the ocean it was a two hour drive from our hotel. Somehow in the hustle of getting packed up I had removed but not returned the girls swimsuits to our beach bag. So we arrived at the beach with no swimsuits for our kids. At first I was devastated but we had extra clothes so we just let the girls play in the sand and water in their clothes. And you know what they loved it just as much and when I look back at the pictures I laugh and think of how it didn’t really ruin anything.
2. Twins. Dress your kids alike on travel day. I always have the girls wear matching outfits on the day we leave and return from a trip. It helps my sanity because I only have to think of one outfit if I lose sight of them for second or am glancing to be sure they are by my husband or I. Overall it just brings me a little extra peace of mind (plus it’s cute). Granted it might be harder when the children are not the same gender but an overall color scheme is defiantly doable.
3. Take Silly Selfies. Okay this one isn’t much of a tip but it’s just fun!
4. Rent Car Seats. If you are flying somewhere and renting a car for getting around I highly recommend renting car seats from the car rental companies. Most rental companies have them for a small fee per day in infant car seats up to boosters. They may not be as nice as the ones you use at home but they are safe, clean and it sure beats lugging those heavy things through an airport.
5. Take a good carrier. We have used our Ergo carrier for both kids and it’s been invaluable during travel. Both my husband and I have worn it and we plan to use it again this year because our 2.5 year old still fits comfortably in it and it’s perfect for making quick dashes through airports, walking around and exploring new busy cities or letting your child get some zzz’s (on you) on a train. Invaluable.
6. Take a good stroller. I opt for a good umbrella stroller. It’s compact and fast to open and close, perfect for gate checking or fitting into an already packed tight trunk. Our first umbrella didn’t survive our first trip with both kids. The weight limit was 35 lbs and between letting my 3 yr old ride in it when the baby was in the carrier and all the bags and crap we hung on the back of it, well it just didn’t stand a chance. Our upgraded stroller goes up to 55 lbs and is still going strong. Reclining is a plus too so they can catch a nap or some zzz’s when possible.
7. Get a handle. We have a handle on our stroller for my older daughter to hold and it’s great. It’s comfortable for her to hold and doesn’t pull on the stroller when she holds it. I love it for everyday but it’s extremely useful for travel and in busy or crowded places. I think a thick ribbon or piece of fabric attached would work as well for a DIY version.
8. Crayons. With all the technology at our finger tips sometimes there still isn’t much that can keep kids occupied like good old crayons and paper. Also it’s one of the few things that requires little to no parent involvement. I’m not saying you can order a cocktail and read a magazine for the duration of the flight but it will buy you some time.
9. Technology. Remember what I just said about technology. Well it has it’s place too. I mean this is 2014.
10. Pack food. You knew that was coming, right? It is a no brainer for a road trip but even on air trips I pack my own food. Rules seem to change frequently but as long as you allow a little extra time to go through security it isn’t an issue. They allow extra food and drinks when traveling with children. When I had bottles packed they would have to open them and test but it was relatively easy. I learned my lesson about sealed liquids like a milk box when they gave me an ultimatum. My husband told me after “you may just be the only women who agreed to full body pat down so she could keep her kids organic milk box”. I wised up and now I pack empty water bottles that I can fill with water after security and fruit pouches which don’t seem to be an issue. I always pack some Annie’s fruit snacks too so the kids have something to chew on during take off, which helps with the pressure in their ears. When food allergies and intolerances are in the mix it’s always wise to have safe food with you, since it’s not always easy to predict what you will find on the road or in the airport. As the saying goes “A hungry kid is a …nightmare”. Well that might not be a saying but it is true.
“to move, to breath, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give, to roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live.” Hans Christian Anderson