The Savvy Mom: Tricks for Traveling with Kids
So you've decided to take the leap and head South on a family vacay, but the thought of crying babies and small spaces with overactive children gives you a full-blown anxiety attack.
You reach the phone to see if Grandma can take them for the week... but wait, with a few easy tips and tricks, you can have an enjoyable, and, gasp, relaxing trip, with kids in tow!
The team at Fresh Kids has learned a few things about travel with kids in tow. Having 8 of them under 5 between the 3 of us (Caroline, Jenny, and Elizabeth). Here are a few of our tips for traveling with littles:
- Get organized early, make a list and check it twice, or three times...
- Reduce stress by knowing airline rules for baby equipment. Most will let you check a stroller at the gate, which makes it easier to keep track of your little ones as you navigate a crowded airport.
- Save space and lighten the load by renting or borrowing equipment. From travel beds to car seats, many hotels and vacation homes have them available to rent. Check with relatives or friends who live in the area to see if you can borrow items.
- Toiletries can be bulky, heavy and leaky, but they don't have to be. Pre-packaged travel kits such as 'Burt's Bees Baby Bee Getting Started Kit' are convenient and easy. However, if there is a specific brand you want to bring, simply transfer it to a travel-sized container.
- Carry-on Bags. Sorry ladies, put away your People magazine, forget that glass of wine, and don't even bother with the eye mask. This flight is about the little 2-foot energy ball next to you. Let's start with the carry-on bag: backpack's are the way to go. Hands free, multi-pockets, stores easily under the seat. What more could you ask for?
What’s in our carry on?
- Extra diapers (we have been know to put our toilet-trained toddlers in a pull-up to avoid bathroom stress), a package of wipes, and change of clothes for the kids.
- An Aden & Anais bamboo swaddle is our go-to blanket. It is large enough to cover a toddler and doubles as a nursing cover.
- A Kids Fly Safe 'CARES' Aviation Restraint System child flying restraint harness is a must for any busy toddler.
- A tablet pre-loaded with movies and games (if you don't have one, some airlines will let you rent one. Check before you fly) and a pair of 'Bose Quiet Comfort Noise Cancelling Earphones' earphones. Amazing at blocking out airplane noise.
- Colouring books, crayons, stickers, activity books, 'Melissa and Doug Water Wow Books', gel window clings, and finger puppets.
- We used to pack baby toys, but after a few trips realized the airplane already supplied them! Free packages of cookies, straws and onboard drinks, magazines, anything in your purse, velcro shoes, pictures on the phone, jewelry...all make great toys.
- Food - we avoid all snacks with added sugar because no one wants to see a 2 year old sugar crash. Try to bring items everyone likes, to avoid fights. Our favourites include Gold Fish Crackers, Arrowroot cookies, Cheerios, dried fruit, yogurt covered raisins, cheese and crackers, and squeeze packs (the sucking helps reduce and eliminate ear pressure)
- Drinks are difficult because of security, so we either bring an empty water bottle or buy a drink with a lid, so we can refill it in flight. We also love 'SipSnap Top' lids that are silicon lids that fit over any cup turning it into a sippy cup
- Nursing/baby bottles - for nursing moms - a cover (or repurpose a baby blanket) and pillow are very helpful. 'My Breast Friend Travel Nursing Pillow' is a great option, inflatable, and compact, perfect for saving space. Even if you are nursing your baby formula or milk as a back is a good idea. Playtex Drop-in Bottles with drop-in liners are great because there is no need to sterilize or clean up. On-the-go pre-measured formula and pre-mixed formula are also great alternatives. If you baby is drinking milk, check with your local airline for rules and regulations.
Lastly, patience and laughter. Your kids will push your buttons, cry and scream, throw cheerios at the passenger next to you, and you'll get through it, you'll show patience you never knew you had, and laugh so you don't cry in public. You'll land, the kids will run around, you'll get a drink, something with a fancy straw and umbrella, and forget it all, making beautiful memories to last a lifetime.