Monday, May 22, 2017

10 Tips for Traveling with Kids

We travel pretty regularly with our kids and we've definitely gotten better at it each time we take a trip.  We love to go on road trips and fly with the kids.  We learn new things with each trip and have new challenges thrown our way.  We flew to Florida back in March for Spring Break and had a really great time.  The kids had a blast and I have some new tips to share with you today.

10 Tips for Traveling with Kids Under 4

My kids both LOVE riding in their strollers.  We opted to do our two smallest strollers vs our double stroller because we figured it would be easier to have the smaller ones and we didn't want our nice stroller damaged.  We took the stollers through security and gate checked them.  It worked out perfectly.  My husband and I each pushed a stroller and the kids were happy to be along for the ride.  We had to leave our car at the airport so it was easiest for Kevin to drop us and all of us stuff off at curbside.  He parked the car and zoomed back to us.  I couldn't move everything so we just sat and waited for him.  We arrived over 2 hours before our flights to allow for this.

I also brought along my ergo just in case.  Fletcher wasn't walking yet and I knew I couldn't carry him for long if I had to.  We were once on a flight where we had to de-plane and they wouldn't give us our gate checked stroller back.  We chased Olive all over the Denver airport way past her bedtime.  She probably would have gone right to sleep if I would have had my ergo.  Lesson learned.  

We opted to bring our car seats with us.  The airlines check them for free and we felt more comfortable using our own seats instead of rentals.  We love our car seat travel bags from Babies R Us.  They've both been on several flights and still work great.  Our kids also ride really well in the car so we figured they'd be most comfy in their own seats.  Worked out great.  We have never taken car seats onto the airplane.  Fletcher flies on our lap and Olive sits pretty well in the regular seats.  Plus, it's just too much to manage two kids, carry ons, strollers and car seats through a busy airport.  We did not fly with our pack n play because the condo had one.

The novelty of a new experience will be entertaining for the kids.  There are so many things to see and watch at the airport.  My kids really enjoy watching the planes out the window, people watching, riding the moving sidewalks and enjoying some new toys on the plane.  I let them pick things for the backpack of fun and made sure to bring their security items.  We also enjoyed new food, new places, new restaurants, etc once we arrived at vacation.  The kids were interested in all of the new things.

Favorite toys: teethers, toy cell phone, water markers that only color on coloring pages, snacks, little cars, little princess dolls, blank notebook to color in, thin books and DVD player.

Your diaper bag will likely be stuffed with everything you need for the day of travel.  I'd highly recommend packing things in a backpack because it just feels easier than a bulkier bag.  Ziplocs are your best friend - put your change of clothes for the kids in a ziploc, diapers and wipes in a ziploc, snacks in a ziploc, toys in a ziploc and each sippy cup in a ziploc.  We had an experience with TSA that really bugged me this time.  They unloaded my diaper bag bc Fletcher's bottle set off their machines.  I told them in advance it was in there, but they went ahead and got their germy hands all over things like the kid's sippy cups and teething toys.  I understand their job is super important so I'd HIGHLY recommend ziploc bagging everything so that if your diaper bag gets selected for additional screening all of your kid items will be safe inside bags.

Sit all together whenever possible.  It makes things much less stressful when you can have access to a window and aisle and the kids in the middle.  You're not bugging strangers as much and we like being able to get comfortable in our own row.  It's worth paying a little extra to sit together with young kids.  It also helps when one kid is screaming and the other is demanding a snack.  You can just smile and laugh with your spouse at the craziness of the moment.  SUPER bonus if you can get a direct flight to wherever you are going.

6. REMEMBER YOUR ROUTINE & be a little flexible
If your child naps every day, then do your best to recreate their nap routine on the plane or in the car if you're roadtripping.  We were flying in the early afternoon so I packed a bottle, Fletcher's blanket and rocked him to sleep like usual.  Worked like a charm about an hour later than he usually naps.  So I remembered our routine and was flexible in the execution.  Win win for everyone.  We kept up this same plan once we got on vacation.  Fletcher napped on the go several times during our trip.  One day he was refusing to nap so the two of us went on a long walk.  The sunshine and nap on the go was great for both of us.  We were flexible with bed times and meal times.  I always had snacks with me to avoid hangry moments.

Make sure that everyone in your family is wearing comfortable shoes.  You never know when you'll have to run through the airport, chase kids on the playground, etc.  I promise you'll all be happier when you have a couple of comfy shoe options.  We left snowy Indiana and headed to the 80 degree beach.  So we all dressed in layers that could be taken off upon arrival.  I put socks on the kids in case they had to walk through security and then we took off the socks when we got to warmer weather.

We packed smart to avoid bringing tons of stuff.  We paid for checked bags, planned out outfits for everyone and planned to do laundry while we were out of town.  Bring some extra shopping bags to separate dirty clothes.

We made plans to go to the zoo bright and early one morning.  Turns out the rest of the families in Florida did the same thing.  As we're approaching the zoo it becomes obvious the lines are HUGE.  As we're digesting that info and adjusting plans Olive gets car sick.  We pull over, clean everything/everyone up and turn around to go back to the condo.  Plans scrapped, take out for lunch and an easy going day followed.  We headed to the zoo the next day and it was wonderful.

Pencil all kinds of fun things into your calendar and then finalize your plans based on the weather for the day, the mood for the day, think of activity levels and weigh the pros and cons of dinner in vs going out to dinner.  We ate more take out than usual because it was just easier with two little kids.

Power through the early flights, the crazy meals out and just remember that you'll likely never see these people again if your kids start acting like little nuts :)  The fun memories you make will be worth it and the good times will far outweigh the bad ones when you're going on adventures with your family.  Bring extra adults if possible.  That will help when your kids are running in different directions and you're in a new city.

My kids really enjoyed looking out the windows, talking to the people around us, collecting animal fact cards from the flight attendants and reading.  I packed their favorite Highlight magazines and toddler books.  They also loved taking silly selfies, eating snacks and snoozing.  I also kept several fun things in my diaper bag to entertain them if we had to wait on seating at a restaurant or a car ride took longer than expected.

Just remember to show yourself and the people in your family TONS of grace when you travel.  It's tiring, fun, hard and wonderful all at the same time.  And if you're really lucky, both kids will pass out on your flight home!  You can just SMILE, say thank you Lord and know it was a good trip. 

What are your best traveling with kid tips??

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  1. Yes to all of these tips! Especially number nine!!! 🤗😉Hope you have a great week friend!!

  2. Yes! I remember traveling with our kiddos at that age! Embrace the crazy! Yes ma'am! That's all you can do sometimes! HA

  3. Being flexible with your plans and routines is a must. When we are on the go, we try and make plans in the morning when Connor is at his best.

  4. Look at those sweeties! I need to remember to put things in ziplocs more often.

  5. Great tips and you have a wonderful attitude about the chaos! Favorite part: remember you'll never see these people again. bahahahah Excellent point!

  6. Great tips Whitney. I STILL ziploc everything, lololol! It has saved me on more than one occasion!


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