Vacationing with children is a TOTAL oxymoron. I often feel like I need a vacation re-do when I return home just to rest up from the previous vacation. It’s about the journey not the destination, right? Riiiiiight.
Here are some travel tips to help you get to your destination in one piece AND enjoy the journey along the way (mostly :-).
- Pack several small novel toys and books that your child hasn’t seen before.The best options for travel books are ones with lift-the-flaps or touch-and-feel textures. Consider swapping toys with a friend so your child has something new and exciting without buying more toys.
- Come armed with your child’s favorite low-mess snacks. The pureed foods sold in a packet are great for travel – older babies and toddler can suck them right out of the tube, saving you the trouble of messing with a spoon.
- Dress your baby for quick and easy diaper changes. My favorite combo is a onesie with leggings, which gives you quick access to the diaper without removing socks, shoes, pants.
- Wear your baby. Using a carrier means that your baby can happily continue napping as you get on and off planes and rush to the next gate. Just make sure you aren’t wearing a jacket underneath the carrier – I was asked to take mine off, which of course meant taking off the baby and carrier.
- When booking plane tickets, if you have a choice between a 30-minute or 90-minute layover, choose 90. My husband and I were never scared of tight connections when it was just the two of us, but we need more time now to change diapers, stock up on snacks, and play. Get to the gate early and blow off some steam.Even a young baby can benefit from stretching out on a blanket in between flights. Wakeful time at the gate can optimize nap-time on the plane.
- Not all airplanes have changing tables.You’re better off trying to get diapers changed at the airport so you aren’t left with the choice to change a poopy diaper on your lap or the floor of the plane.
- Feed on take-off and landing. Pressure changes can be so uncomfortable, and babies don’t know how to clear their ears on their own. Sucking and swallowing helps to keep her ears clear, which will keep you, your baby, and your neighbors so much happier.
- Try to get an early check in at your hotel so your baby can have an afternoon nap once you arrive. If this is not possible, count on an early bedtime at 6pm the first night. Do not stress if they do not nap at all on the day you travel to your destination – it is just one day and will catch up on sleep.
9. If you cannot get an early check in for a nap in the hotel, enjoy a stroller or a car ride nap. Still do your nap routine before you put them down for their nap. Keep driving or walking for at least an hour while they sleep – enjoy the views of your new destination.
K, now I am off to take a nap and recover from my most recent vacation! What are your favorite tips for traveling with kids? What has surprised you about traveling with kids?