Being a mom is hard. Being a mom who is trying to travel with her children is even harder. The idea sounds great in theory; a beautiful and relaxing family vacation, quality time together, sleeping in…but no. It can’t be that simple. So as I ventured to write this 3-part travel series, I wanted to provide you with tips that didn’t require hours of planning to execute. Honestly – I was falling short. Truth is, we’ve only taken a few trips since Belle was born and I just didn’t have that many travel hacks for kids.
One of the things I have discovered in this blogging journey is that the community is wildly supportive. And it is the best. So with that – I connected with some of my new mama friends to round-up some of their top travel hacks for kids.
travel hacks for kids – flying across the country with an infant
“My husband and I flew across the world in December 2016 to live in Germany for 3 years — with a 10 month old baby and a dog. We had never flown before with our daughter, but we had done some pretty long road trips. Flying to another country seemed a bit different from road trips though. On road trips you get to use your big car for your essentials but with flying you have a limit on checked bags and carry on items.
We had a seat for our daughter, so we were able to bring her own carry on bag and check 2 bags for her. If you bring a car seat, you’ll want to bring the stroller that the seat clicks into. Use the storage on the bottom to store a small backpack or diaper bag while you are strolling through the airport—highly suggested and indeed more helpful than you know. You’ll want some books, a blanket, a lovey, and a favorite toy. You’ll also need to prepare for however long of a flight you’re going to be on, making sure you have diapers, wipes, clean bottles, formula/breast milk, a couple burp cloths, and at least 2-3 spare clean clothes because #children. Luckily our daughter slept literally the entire length of the plane ride — our prayers had been answered.”
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travel hacks for kids – moms with multiples
“We actually travel with a kitchen timer and we do stations with activities, then switch when the timer goes off. This means there is no arguing about how long their turn was. I bring baskets of different activities and they switch the whole box after 30 minutes and then we do a silent station for 30 minutes with nothing in their hands. They can sleep, look out the window or sing.”
Another tip Kandice shared is actually photographed above! When you’re going to be out and about during your travels, dress the family in matching colors. That way if, heaven forbid, you become separated you can remember what the kiddo was wearing and they can remember yours. A tip I hope we never need – but not a bad idea to practice!
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travel hacks for kids – first time mom
“When my family travels, I can get so wrapped up in planning and packing and it just stresses me out. I’ve learned that if I make a few mental shifts before heading out the door, things run much more smoothly for me and the family.
- No fighting. Of course we never want to fight with anyone, but let me explain. From the beginning of our marriage, we learned that traveling tends to stir up more emotional reactions (…prooobably more on my end). So from early on whenever we travel, my husband and I have been making pacts with each other that we will not fight. No matter what is going on, what was forgotten, what wrong turn was made, what in-law said something wrong, whoever starts crying, whoever’s fault it was – I will not fight but respond with grace and lighten the atmosphere however I can. This simple pact changes nothing about the trip but my mindset, and I’m telling you it is awesome. It just makes things better 🙂
- Roll with the punches. As a first time mom, I think I can be a little uptight about how things are done for my daughter. Instead of getting worked up about her missing a nap or having ice cream or whatever wouldn’t be our normal, I just expect things to be different and let it go. Communicate what the needs are but be flexible and know that it’s going to be okay. Vacations are for the whole family, not just the kids, so everyone needs to enjoy it. Again, this is super simple but if I don’t have this mindset before walking out the door (or as I’m helping load the car) my attitude can sour the whole trip for me and everyone else around.”
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travel hacks with kids – flying with a baby while breastfeeding
Breastfeeding can add an entirely different element to traveling and being prepared is crucial to a stress-free trip.
- Wear a breastfeeding friendly top and plan to feed at take off and landing to prevent ear popping.
- If you’re not completely comfortable with feeding in public try to get a window seat.
- If you’re baby is old enough, also bring some easy snacks to keep them occupied. This also helps if their ears start to pop mid-flight.
- Let your little one stand on your legs and say hi to neighbors. It keeps them busy and distracted, while also exerting some energy!
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travel hacks for kids – how to handle car trips
“Traveling in the car with children, especially toddlers, can be a bit of a roller coaster. I’ve found that taking books along is a great idea, including activity books. My 3 year old son has a book of mazes that keeps him occupied longer than most of his toys can. Older kids, who can actually do the mazes, would probably have even more fun. Coloring books are great too, but I would advise parents to choose crayons or those magical markers that only show up on the page. Love those!
No matter what you bring along, make sure to stop every so often so the kids can run around and be free for a while. My husband and I like to take our son’s giant inflatable ball with us for him to kick around at a park or playground.”
Visit Step Back and Breathe to read Lisa’s motherhood journey
travel hacks with kids – tips for everyone
Echo has written many posts on traveling with children on her blog. It only made sense that she provide us some wisdom that can benefit all of us – no matter the age, no matter the destination, and no matter the method of transportation.
- Make a schedule. When I was doing research for how to go on vacation with kids, everything I read said to make a schedule. Having a schedule will make it so you can get out and do things you want to do, but also keep you from having a cranky baby, by planning for downtime as well as active times.
- Do some research beforehand. No one likes to go on vacation and have the “where do you want to eat?” or “what do you want to do?” conversation. In fact, these conversations probably lead to the most arguments on vacation. By doing research beforehand you’ll have an idea of what restaurants you want to visit, what sites you want to see, and what activities you want to participate in. When you have narrowed down the options there might only be 2 or 3 places you’d like to try, instead of 100s.
- Be flexible. This is still a struggle for me. Creating a schedule is a lifesaver, but also knowing when you can change it and when you should stick to it is just as important. If you stick to your schedule too rigidly, you might miss out on something. If you don’t stick to the schedule at all, what was the point in creating it? I am learning to think of a schedule as more of a guideline. You’ll know what is best for you, your family, and the trip.
We hope you enjoyed these fun, fast, and effective travel hacks for kids! And BIG thank you to all the mommas that contributed their tips, be sure to check out their pages for some great content!
Comment below to let me know your travel hacks for kids – because I can always use more!
check out the rest of my travel series
Traveling with Essential Oils
Travel Beauty Tips