I often get asked for travel advice. Since traveling is practically our job, it’s become a huge part of our lives. I have found certain things helpful along the way. I hope my little tips help you on your upcoming adventures!
When I travel via airplane with my little one, I am often alone. My motto is “survive, not thrive”. You may read that and think, “well, I want to thrive”. More power to you my sister, and I hope you do! I myself would have said the same thing pre-kids. However I want to make a point that rule number one when traveling with a babe would be to give yourself grace. Grace served on a silver plater, with thanksgiving portions! I think all too often we worry about what others are thinking. Ignore the side eyes and embrace the madness. I’m here to encourage you that you do not have to have the perfect child to travel. People will get over it. Take a deep breath and remember that we all started as babies! My dad would say as a 65 year old grandpa, that he gets a kick out of watching all of the “single bachelors” squirm in their seat when there is a crying/fussy baby. He couldn’t careless about a baby crying. So push on! You may just be providing the best entertainment someone will see all day!
If you are traveling with a stroller age kiddo here are my tips!
For stroller age kids:
Find a stroller that collapses with one hand! Nobody has time to mess with a difficult stroller while holding a squirming toddler in the other hand! I promise, you will be thankful.
I stumbled upon what I would classify as the best stroller ever after going through FOUR others to find it-not only does it fold with one hand, it lays down flat! The true flat feature has come in clutch for quick diaper changes not to mention handy for naps in-between flights. When looking for a stroller to travel with, make sure it folds in on itself, so that it stays clean while under the plane! I am a bit of a germ freak so this gives me peace of mind! You will want to plane side check the stroller so that you can use it while in the airport. You may get the urge to try a stroller cover, I used one once. It was a hassle. No way would I have wanted to attempt it alone. Like I said, survive not thrive. It got tossed and I never looked back.
A one women show:
I may look like the next curious act walking through the airport but here is how I “get it done”. I have our little babe ride in the stroller, I put my purse/diaper bag in “backpack” mode to keep my hands free! The travel crib we choose fits in the stroller basket and is also small enough to be a “carry on”. I choose to carry on the crib vs. a tradition carry on for a few reasons. Mainly out of pre-cation. If luggage were to get lost (which has happened) we would be ok. It also stays clean and damage free. Our specific travel crib came with a travel bag. I place a sheet, a stuffy and a sound machine in with her crib, that way she can nap anywhere if need be. I also put an extra set of clothes in my purse/diaper bag! Never get caught without your crib y’all, we all know how kids NEED their sleep!
Your new best friend:
Toys! BRING toys, not just any toys but NEW toys. Get a plastic bag and fill it with dollar section toys that your little has never seen before. Don’t underestimate the power of something new! Give one at a time, or the whole damn thing. Whatever gets the job done! Snacks, Stickers and window stickies are also a big hit!
Livin’ the Hotel Life:
I could write a book on our hotel stays alone! To keep it simple, we tackle hotel living by putting my hyper-organization skills to use!
To start we each have our own suitcase. To make life easy, outfits are assembled as they would be worn. You just grab and go! I put all of our outfits together beforehand, because it keeps the suitcase nice and clean. If not I would be pulling things out to try to match a top with a pant. NO thanks! For those needing a little help in the organization department, packing cubes will change your life! I use several varying cases for toiletries, haircare etc. Easy in and out!
Bathing a babe:
Instead of using the hotel tub (yuck) for our babe we pack a collapsible laundry basket. The laundry basket takes up no room because you can pack in and around it! Just make sure to get one that doesn’t have holes! This makes bath time a breeze! Plus you can buy them in varying sizes as your babe grows (hello Amazon)! We keep little ones items in their own zip bags so it’s easy to use and pack right back up! I never forget wipes, because frankly, hotels can be gross!
The Dreaded Car Ride:
Much like an airplane, traveling with a kiddo in a car, complicates things! Those long pre-kid(s) trips, are a distant memory now!
Prepare with a purpose:
To ensure you are set up for a successful trip, pack an “activity bag” as mentioned above. When babe gets fussy hand back the bag, and enjoy some peace of mind (for a second at least!) If your babe is old enough a magnetic “drawing board” is also a huge hit! Also, download some kids songs! I know, kids songs are cringe worthy but I can’t tell you how many times “momo” (Elmo) has saved the day!
I always keep a car organizer filled with diapers, wipes, snacks, and extra toys so I am not constantly having to reach in my purse! Quick and convenient is always nice when traveling! I personally use a purse organizer that has handles and what seems like a million different pockets to store stuff in! Pack snacks! Cheerios/puffs/teething crackers are a great snack to keep your little one munching away on their own. I always pack an actual meal as well and fruits that are easy to eat in a car (apples, blueberries etc.) If traveling with a partner, clear a spot next to your babe so you have room to sit and feed them, and entertain them if need be!
Peace and Quiet:
Plan to start your trip around babies nap time! Bring along the sound machine if you have one or download the “Baby Shusher” app, hook it to your sound system and thank me later! Sure you may need a coffee to stay awakes while the “shushing” works its magic but a sleeping baby is worth it! Nap time is crucial in getting you some uninterrupted driving time. Don’t you dare stop when baby is sleeping, so make sure you have snacks, a full tank of gas and not too much to drink (if you get what I am saying)!
Make Quick Stops:
Rest areas! Sure, back in the day it was nice to stop and enjoy eating, but now every minute counts! For long trips bring your lunch in a cooler so you only have to stop for fuel/bathroom breaks! It also helps to download an app that will tell you what amenities are offered in exits ahead.