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E and I love to travel. Before we had R we would go on a couple of great vacations per year. We were both working very long hours and needed time to decompress and relax together.
Once R came into the picture, our travelling patterns changed but we decided that having a munchkin wasn’t going to slow us down!
We took R to Boston for four days when he was a few months old. We had some major cranky moments and when we would come out of the room in the morning our hotel neighbours would smile and say “oh you’re the ones with the baby…” but all in all we had a great time.
In four years we’ve been lucky enough to travel to Boston, New York, Bermuda, Florida, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Disneyland, Montreal, the Laurentian Mountains and Hawaii in addition to taking three cruises.
We’ve learned a few things from all of these adventures – here are our top secrets for travelling with kids:
Our Secrets for Travelling with Kids
R gets super cranky when he’s hungry so we always have snacks I know he likes on hand. Whether the snacks are for the plane, the room (ask for a fridge) or road trips, I am rarely without something to munch on. We pack some snacks from home in our carry on and checked luggage to make sure there’s always a taste of home not too far away. Some of our favourites are granola bars, crackers, squeezy fruit pouches and cereal.
Once we get to our destination, we make a stop at the closest grocery store to pick up some fruit and cheese as well. I also always bring extra snack baggies and plastic containers for easy transportation.
In case you’re delayed at the airport, your little one is going stir crazy at a restaurant or if you need a break one afternoon during the trip, a variety of distractions are key. We bring Lego, sticker books, colouring books (with washable markers), mini puzzles and magic colouring books that reveal the colour only when wet.
We also carry around our iPad. If you’re ok with your kids using tech, there are some great free apps that are educational. We also download movies, tv shows etc.
If you plan on using an iPad, don’t forget to bring your own earphones for your little one. There are special earphones with sound blocking properties that won’t hurt their little ears.
Favourite Things from Home
R is attached to his blue baby blanket. It’s cozy and majorly comforting for him. We can’t go anywhere without it and it must come with us on the plane.
When R was small we also brought along a crib sheet so for him so that the smell and feel of the sheet would be the same wherever we went. Bringing our own crib sheet also reassured us that R wouldn’t have an allergic reaction to the harsher chemicals used by hotels and cruise line laundry services.
Can your son or daughter pack his or her own bag? For the last few trips R has packed a small carry on of his own. This way R gets to choose which toys, books and stuffies to bring on the trip. We tell him a few days ahead of time so he has time to decide and ask him to put the bag together the night before we go. This tactic not only gives him a sense of responsibility but it also ensures that he’s bringing what he wants to take.
Bring your Patience
Don’t leave home without your patience. It doesn’t matter what stage your child is at, traveling is a challenge. We only have one little guy but he is super high energy, spirited and inquisitive. He always keeps us on our toes and we don’t always get to do everything we want to which leads me to –
Don’t forget a Plan (and a Plan B, Plan C…)
While we always have a plan, we’re also ready to go with the flow.
Now that R is a bit older, we discuss our proposed plan as a family and give R a couple of options and then we decide together. As long as we’re happy with the different options everything works out well.
We’re also always ready to have a rest in the hotel room if R (or all of us) need to chill out. This was huge on our last trip to California where we travelled from San Francisco to Disney and then to LA.
Travelling with a little one is so much fun. I love visiting places and seeing them through R’s eyes. He always makes us look at things differently and appreciate where we are. It brings me such joy to see him splashing in the ocean, running around a new park and living life to its fullest.
What are your tips for travelling with kids?