*Trigger Warning: This post deals with traveling with a little one. I am assuming that if you are reading this you have littles to take with you on an adventure. Be they yours, your sisters, or your friends. I encourage some get up and go with the littles. This is a fully parental post, it contains no IF stuff. Do with it what you will. XOXXO*
Bean Sprout and I love to travel. Well, at this age, I love to travel and he… has to tag along. HAHA! Although, he is quite extroverted and seems to really enjoy the adventure aspect so far.
We honestly do get around a lot. So far in the year and a half he’s been alive he has been on 6 flights, 3 day-long road trips, 2 half-day road trips and COUNTLESS trips to my mom’s house 3 hours away (like once a month ish). Becuase that’s the kind of lifestyle I like to have we just sort of had to roll with adding a baby to it. At first it was really intimidating but now I think it’s actually a lot easier than people expect.
One of the biggest reasons people don’t wind up traveling with kids is just the actual FEAR of doing it. I am a big proponent of never letting fear dictate your life, so here are some tips that I found to be life saving when traveling with an infant/toddler.
If traveling by car:
- Leave around nap time if at all possible. The longer your kid can sleep in the car the less time you’ll need to be entertaining them, plus a well rested kiddo is less of a pain in the ass in general. Win-win. If it’s a really long car trip sometimes it’s even worth it to leave at bed time so that you get a good straight shot of 10 ish hours of uninterupted travel.
- Bring so many toys. The age of the child will vary the way the toys look but having enough entertainment is KEY to you having a good trip. Also, for toddler age and up search “busy bags” on pinterest. Your Welcome.
- Bring a rediculous amount of food. Becuase hungery people are angry people. Try to have things pre-prepared as much as you can so that the tiny one can snack while still on the move. Basically you are counting on food to draw out the amount of time between stops.
- Plan to stop around every 3-4 hours. Especially if your child is young enough to not understand that they are traveling to a fun destination. Before the age of asking perpetually “are we there yet?” is the age of “what the hell are we still doing in this car?!” Realizing this and just planning for the inevitable need to get out and move will make it less frustrating.
- Run them like they are a track team. When you do stop plan to basically chase the shit out of them so that they are nice and exhausted by the end of it. The will be more amenable to sitting back in the car that way.
- Interact! In this day and age there aren’t many times when we are just stuck staring at the people we love for hours. I know, it’s terrifying! Try some fun cames like Eye Spy or sing funny songs. Do some things in the car that help to pass the time for everyone. Kids that have been bonding with you for a few hours of locked interaction listen better and are less bitchy to be around. It’s also exhausting! Which will hopefully prolong naps.
- Speaking of naps, don’t stress if it seems shorter than normal or if they have 3 instead of thier usual 1. Becuase you know what? It’s just one day. I wish I had relaxed about this sooner, I am a nap natzi. And when naps don’t go according to plan I have SERIOUS anxiety over it. But after doing so many trips with Bean Sprout I have seen it all. Great naps, no naps, 4 naps… and we lived through each and every scenario. Save yourself the panic and just try to be happy and entertaining when they do wake up.
- Use technology sparingly. Once you break out the i-pad it’s not like they will just happily put it away again. I try to limit this to only car trips over 8 hours and leave it until either right before a nap (which works as a reset button for their memory lol) or an hour from our destination when, let’s be honest, everyone just wants some fucking peace and quiet.
If traveling by air:
- The best tip is just to do it. I know it’s scary, but the excitment and enrichment of traveling really can’t be beat. So if you WANT to take a trip just pull up your big girl pants and do it!
- Arrive early. International flights require 2 hours ahead.. make it 2.5 to be safe. Becuase all that baby food you packed in your carry on? They WILL swab all of it and might make you try some to prove its not drugs. So allow space for that.
- Pack all of the snacks. On our rescent almost 5 hour flight to Houston I brought 6 squeeze pouches, 4 bags of goldfish, 1 tupperware of sliced strawberries, 1 container of rice and chicken, and an emergency fruit snack… You know… on top of the cookies already offered by the airline. I didn’t need anywhere NEAR that amount of food, but a happy toddler is a full toddler. And your kid can’t scream if he’s shoving food in his mouth.
- Avoid much added sugar. A hyped up kid isnt what ANYONE needs.
- Try to time the TAKE OFF with nap time. This is not always possible but the movement of the plane as it ascends is fucking brilliant at putting babies to sleep. If the nap falls during the cruising altitude portion it will be harder to get them to nod off. Or book a red-eye and do your normal routine (sans bath) on the flight. Becuase again, a rested toddler is a happy toddler and much less likely to scream and make other passengers wish for your death.
- If you’re still nursing then do it. I literally didnt even bother trying to wrestle my cover out of the carry on bag. I just turned a tiny bit to the side to latch and then just dealt with it. Most people were incredibly cool and just ignored me while my tit was out. It helps the ears pop. If you aren’t make sure you have a soother, juice box, or fruit pouch for them to suck on.
- Just like with car travel save electronics for the end and pack lots of things that you can intereact with your little one over. An interacting parent keeps baby occupied and happy.
- Don’t forget to pack a book and have it handy in case you are lucky and they sleep. Any sleep on a plane is counted as awesome and a bonus. And if you packed the book, youll be able to enjoy it!
Hopefully, some of these tips help! I feel like really the biggest tip is that it’s never as bad as you imagine… and that other passengers are usually more understanding than you fear. It’s summer time. Enjoy getting out! We are about to embark on a close to 16 hour (without stopping) road trip with Bean Sprout and I am looking forward to it. See you on the other side!