we are packing up the little kids and heading to the west coast to spend some much needed time with some good friends and folks in the desert. then back home for two days before we pack up again and head to the windy city like we did last year. i can't wait! i will be bringing my camera along for the ride and will do my best to keep you updated on what we're up to.
for now i thought i'd share some of my own personal tips for traveling with small children. i know that it can seem a bit intimidating, but i assure you, it can be done and it can go smoothly if you plan ahead...
kids under two fly free - this is wonderful and a great way to save on travel expenses. babies and toddlers under two can sit on your lap and fly free of cost. important note: remember to bring a copy of their birth certificate when checking in or they won't let your child board the plane, airline regulations.
don't bring it all - traveling with little ones can mean having to bring along what seems like everything but the kitchen sink. don't do it! we have made that mistake. bringing the stroller, the baby carrier, the car seats, the travel crib, a travel highchair, all the toys, etc. can be overwhelming and tiring. truth is, you really don't need all of that stuff. this time around we are leaving the stroller behind and just bringing a baby carrier for sailor. birdie likes to walk most of the time anyway and if we decide that we absolutely need a stroller, we can pick up a little umbrella stroller for under $20 at a store like target that we can leave behind when flying home. most rental car companies have car seats available for rent. we went this route this time around so we didn't have to check two of them. many hotels and motels also have cribs that you can rent if you'd rather not bring a travel crib, so be sure to check your hotels accommodations when making reservations or bring along one that is compact. we love out babybjorn travel crib and take it with us everywhere, even on road trips because you never know when your baby is going to need a comfortable place to sleep. as far as everything else, try to pack just what you need. just enough clothes with a couple extras for inevitable accidents, a few favorite toys, a favorite blanket and pack only a few diapers. you can buy more once you arrive. one thing that i do recommend taking along for your trip is a baby monitor. in case you are staying in a house or visiting family or friends, it's nice to have. i forgot one the last time we traveled and was confined to our room while birdie napped.
entertainment for the plane - this is important. kids get bored and so will yours when having to sit still on a plane for several hours. here are a few things that i have found helpful: bring an ipad or iphone and load it with age appropriate apps and games. peekaboo barn and peekaboo forest are ones that we love. there are also several children storybook apps available for purchase or free as well. be sure to load a favorite cartoon or movie for them to watch. birdie happens to like daniel tiger's neighborhood at the moment, so we loaded on a full season for her. bring plenty of snacks. kids get hungry when they get bored. make sure to bring nutritious options for them like string cheese, finger sandwiches and fruits or veggies. you don't want to load your little one up with sugar on the plane, but it is nice to have some natural lollipops or fruit sweetened cereal for those desperate times when a little sandwich won't cut it. most airport lobbies carry an assortment of healthy snacks for you to choose from if you don't want to pack them at home. also coloring books and crayons, a couple of story books and sticker books are great ways to entertain.
before you board - make sure to change diapers right before boarding so your baby or toddler is clean and dry.
a tip for take off - little ears can pop during take off and landing which can be uncomfortable. try to have them nurse or take a bottle during these times to prevent ear pressure.
another tip - it's also a good idea to try to fly during nap time or bedtime. a sleeping baby is a happy baby.
i hope that this list was helpful to some of you planning or wanting to plan a trip with you baby or toddler. i have had nothing but delightful experiences when traveling with my children and although there are times when things can seem a little hectic, i find that being prepared can help in a big way.
if you have any great tips for traveling with little kids that i haven't mentioned, please leave them in the comments below.
photo above found here.