One thing that Kyle and I have always wanted to do is travel as a family.
It’s messy, always comes with hurdles and is certainly worlds more complicated than when we travel just us two – but SO worth it! We want our kids to see the world and experience new sights, cultures and make memories with us.
So today I want to share some of the things I’ve learn along the way! From traveling with kids to traveling without kids while I’m still nursing – hopefully this takes out some of the guess work (and research!) on your part.
If you plan on bringing a stroller along – I’d highly recommend checking it! In the airport, we have just carrying Audrey and have Hadley walk – the nice thing about checking a stroller bag is that it is free and has no weight limit. So we stock that bag up with heavy shoes, diapers, wipes… you name it.
As for car seats, we have found it’s easiest to check the infant car seat and then rent the toddler car seat through the rental car company. It has just been the easiest option for us since Audrey still fits in the infant seat – when she no longer does we will likely just rent car seats from then on. We have never had any issues and the car seats we have rented have always been in good condition!
One word – snacks.
With Hadley, I pack her own little backpack with a few healthy snacks (veggie straws, empty sippy cup that I fill up once through security, yogurt covered raisins, etc), some coloring books and her headphones. We make sure to download a few shows or moves on an iPad and she does really well – plus, it allows her to be relatively self-sufficient which she loves and certainly helps me since Audrey is a little more demanding at this age.
For Audrey, who was almost one on our last trip, the key was to never let her feet hit the floor. I can’t stress this enough! If they know they can walk/run – they will want to and your flight will be terrible for you! I packed lots of snacks for her, a little doll and a book. I wrote a blog post while ago on trips for traveling with a baby – and one of the things I mention is making sure they are drinking or eating on take-off and landing. Their continuous swallowing will prevent their ears from popping and help soothe any discomfort they may have with the change of elevation.
The reality is airplanes have germs everywhere. And kids touch everything! So I always grab a small pack of antibacterial wipes at Target before heading out of town and wipe things down. The last thing you want is your kids getting sick on vacation!
Another idea is to head to your local dollar store and buy a handful of inexpensive gifts (things we wouldn’t mind if we left behind) like crayons/stickers and a notepad, dolls, mini books, really anything that would interest a young child for even a small amount of time. You could wrap the items individually and (hold out as long as possible but when they begin getting antsy) let them open a “gift”. This could buy you about 20-25 minutes per gift and would be completely worth the $7 spent at the store.
Traveling while pumping is no cake walk. My first tip is to find the lactation rooms at your local airport – Minnesota’s airport has some really nice ones with comfortable chairs, since, outlets and more. My personal preference was to pump in privacy when I wasn’t traveling with my baby.
If you have a typical black Madela pump bag, I’d recommend taking the actual pump itself out, and putting it in your carry-on bag. It will take up way less room and allow you to have more room for your things. I brought an empty zip lock bag and once I was through security, stopped at a coffee shop and asked them to fill it with ice. That way the milk would be kept chilled during my travels. Also bring a zip lock bag to put your pump and pump chords in to store next to the ice to prevent them from getting wet.
When traveling with breast milk, just be sure to tell the TSA when you are going through the security line that you have breast milk in your bag. They shouldn’t need to do anything with it (typically) and is good for them to know so they don’t flag it as a liquid.
For additional ideas and tips be sure to check out my traveling with a baby blog post.
There you have it! Some tips to traveling with little ones. What are some things you have learned along the way? Leave a comment below with your tips!