It’s that time of year when we’re all traveling all over the place to be with friends and family. For some people, traveling is fun. For others, it’s kind of a pain but worth it. But for parents, it’s the kind of situation where you hold your breath from the second you leave your house until the second you reach your destination just hoping that your kids aren’t going to have a complete meltdown! I have been there so many times! Whether it’s a cross-country flight or a road trip to see friends, both Molly and Riley have done their fair share of traveling. And I have done my fair share of breath holding.
For those of you who are new to my blog, Molly is my two-year-old daughter and Riley is my six-month-old son. And just recently we did a six hour cross country flight from Los Angeles to the east coast and back. We went into the trip as prepared as we could be, but definitely came home from the trip with some more knowledge and things I wish we would have done. Today on my blog I’m sharing my best tips and tricks for traveling with a baby or a toddler, or GASP – both!
CARRY ON BAGS –
Before kids I was never one to travel with a carry-on bag. Really, the only carry-on bag I would have was a purse large enough to carry everything I’d need for the flight. Like my laptop, phone, wallet and a few other things. But now that I have kids, not only do I travel with a large purse, but I also travel with multiple carry-on suitcases and bags! So if you’re like me and didn’t have proper carry-on baggage before having kids, I strongly suggest you invest in some now! And honestly now is a great time with all the Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals going on. My blush suitcase in these photos is actually 20% off with free shipping with code FRIENDS. But you just don’t want one suitcase. You want the suitcase to carry the load of what you’re going to be bringing on the plane, which is a lot! But then you also want other bags that are easily accessible that you can put under the seat in front of you to grab things throughout the flight. Like my next suggestion.
BAG OF TRICKS –
Whenever we go on a long car ride or long plane ride with our kids we always make sure to have a bag of tricks! Not necessarily for Riley since he’s so little, but definitely for a toddler! Kevin will just go to the dollar store and buy a bunch of inexpensive toys that he’ll put in a bag and give a new one to Molly every 20 to 30 minutes throughout the flight. And as we know, kids can get tired of toys pretty quickly so being able to surprise Molly with something new when she gets bored with the first item she was playing with, saved her sanity at many points during the trip. She loves Moana right now so Kevin went to the bookstore and found a book that came with a bunch of Moana figurines. About a dozen of them! So while we were on the plane and Molly was watching her Moana movie we would pull out a new figurine every so often and she would get so excited to see all her favorite characters (yes I highly suggest getting a tablet and allowing your child to use it for travel days. Not ever parent is going to agree with this, but for me it’s totally ok to let them have screen time in these instances!)
BABY CARRIER –
A good baby carrier is absolutely essential when you travel via airplane with an infant. I wrote about this once before when I did travel tips with an infant when Molly was little. And it came in super handy with Riley this trip as well. It’s honestly the only way we can get him to nap on an airplane. He’s not the type of baby, and neither was Molly, that will fall asleep in our arms. So what we would do is put him in the baby carrier facing inward and put a breathable blanket, like this one, over him and walk up and down the aisles a few times until he fell asleep. Then honestly one of us would just stand in the back or front of the plane for 45 minutes or so he could get a somewhat decent nap in. The one we use is on sale today FYI.
THROW BLANKETS –
When you’re traveling with your baby you’re going to be putting them on a lot of random floors. Ha! I’m not even kidding. You won’t have your fancy baby bouncer or baby walker to put your baby in when you’re not holding him or her. And you can’t hold your baby 24/7 when you’re traveling. So whether it’s at a relatives house or on a hotel floor, you’ll eventually want to put your little guy or gal down. We found that we were in hotels we were absolutely disgusted at the thought of putting him down on the floor where God knows what has happened. Obviously, we felt better about it when at friends or family’s houses. But still, you really don’t know what’s on anybody’s floor. So we made sure to pack a handful of throw blankets and muslin blankets for Riley to play on throughout our trip. This blush throw blanket is one we had in our master bedroom and I just threw in our suitcase when I was packing.
BLACK TRASH BAGS –
This tip was given to me by our sleep trainer and it’s such a great piece of advice! So thank you Kimberly for giving it to us! She recommended that when we travel with the kids to pack black garbage bags and tape them around the windows wherever we are staying. Not everyone has black out curtains and not every hotel has black out curtains. And both of our little ones sleep in complete darkness with white noise machines on. So when we travel we not only make sure to pack our white noise machines, but we also pack the garbage bags. Sometimes will be in a really nice hotel room and it looks absolutely comical because we will be taping these ugly black bags all over the windows. But it works! Especially when you’re switching times zones! When we travel east we try to keep the kids on their same sleeping schedule. Meaning that they go to bed around 6:30 PM Pacific time but when we travel to the East Coast we will put them to bed at 9:30 PM Eastern time to keep them on the same schedule. But that means they’re waking up three hours later as well. So instead of waking up at 6 AM when we’re on the West Coast, they wake up at 9 AM on the East Coast. Because it’s 6 AM our time. You guys get the point. Anyway, because of that, the sun is up for a few hours before we want them to get up. So the black garbage bags are absolutely essential and have absolutely saved us on our trips!
PATIENCE AND A POSITIVE VIBES –
No matter how much you prepare, things are going to go wrong. And I’ve found that when we go into trips with positive vibes and ready to laugh at all the chaos that will surely ensue, the trips always turns out better. Plus I totally believe that kids can read energy. And if you have bad energy, they will too! BTW, the “love” necklace I am wearing is from my affordable jewelry line and it a constant reminded to me to always come from a place of love in everything I do. And it’s 25% off today!