Summer is here and we know many parents are gearing up (literally) to travel. Adventuring with babies and kids seems daunting -- especially if it's your first go at this -- but we have a few tips and tricks to help make your journey as smooth as possible.
It might sound ridiculous, but when traveling with little ones less is actually more. We prefer to take the minimalist approach when planning and packing for a family trip and here's why: Despite what society tells us about stuff, we typically don't need as much as we think even with a baby in tow. Are there essentials that we should plan to have more of in the event of an emergency (e.g. major diaper blowout.)? Absolutely. Does that mean we need 16 onesies in the diaper bag just in case. Nope.
Always inquire about family discounts when traveling. Does the airline offer a discount for a child’s fare? Does the hotel waive fees or offer any free amenities for families? You often have to call to get information on these, but it’s SO worth it.
Check to see if your destination has companies who rent gear for traveling families.* This was amazing when we traveled to Hawaii with our 9-month-old. We were able to rent a jog stroller, beach toys, and a pack’n play for our stay and we didn’t have to haul anything. They dropped it off to our hotel and picked it up the day we were leaving.
Phone a friend. If you’re traveling somewhere to visit friends and family, you best reach out to them ahead of time to see who has items you can borrow. Call on your people to lend a hand with things that can make your stay more comfortable and satisfying.
Need childcare during your stay? There are amazing companies who now provide babysitting and nanny services when you travel!** If you’re traveling domestically in the US, our favorite is College Nannies + Sitters. (We had a work event planned in another part of the state and a professional and qualified sitter was able to come to our AirBnb to watch our son.)
Sanitizing is KEY! Keep wipes handy so you can do a quick wipe down before the kids lick everything. Do not be afraid to be that person on the airplane cleaning every inch of your family’s seat area. (It could actually mean the difference between you being stuck with a sick kid in the hotel room or out enjoying a margarita with dinner. Think about it.)
Diaper stash essentials: extra diapers, 1 pack of wipes, hand sanitizer, diaper creams as needed. This changing pad is a life-saver when traveling because it keeps baby hands away from all the nasties. Don’t overpack these things. You’ll most likely be able to stock up on when you arrive at your destination.
Extra clothes for you and baby and a wet/dry bag to hold any messes. When flying, we always take 1 extra shirt for ourselves (and, TBH, a pair of undies just in case) and 4 extra pieces for baby. We find footed pjs to be the best option here. Babe stays warm and is less exposed. Pro tip: If you roll the clothes, they don't take up as much space in your bag.
A soft structured carrier. Our favorite is the Ergo 360. It works with children of different ages and sizes so it goes and grows with you. Take a carrier regardless of how short or long your travel may be. If you’ll be in and out of multiples airlines for a long period of time, then we recommend a lightweight stroller as well. Your back will thank you.
Distractions. There’s really no gentle way to say this. Whether you’re traveling with an infant or an 8-year-old, you’re going to need distractions. We recommend a mix of things your babe is used to and some new surprises that you’ll introduce along the way. Think small, light, and multi-function. (Take a look at our list linked below for some ideas.)
Self-care items for you. Rescue Remedy, rose water facial mist, and The Calm App. Calm has guided meditations, sleep stories for adults and kids, and soothing sounds. It’s great for those stressful travel hours and can help if you or your little one are having a hard time sleeping in an unfamiliar place.
We’ve compiled a list of products that can make family travel a little bit smoother. Click below to browse!
*Always check for recalls on products before renting.
**We recommend ensuring that any company you work with does thorough background checks and trainings for all of the care providers.
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